Twenty Tips for a Successful Vacation
by Valerie Nusbaum
Summertime is here and that means a lot of you will be taking vacations. This summer, the beaches, mountains, roads, and airways will likely be very busy since we were all relegated to taking stay-cations last year.
No matter what your travel plans may be, here are some tips, ideas, and suggestions that might help make your vacation more memorable:
(1) Take someone with you who can carry things. Husbands are especially handy for this task. My Randy proudly tells people that he has three tasks to perform whenever we leave our house: to carry things, to hold things down when the wind blows, and to kill the bugs.
(2) Avoid family at all costs. Yes, I know that a lot of you take annual multi-generational family trips, but I also know that you’re the same people who get back home and vow never to do it again.
(3) Take good snacks. Children and old people love them.
(4) Pack absolutely everything you own and go out and buy new stuff, too. Pack the new stuff as well.
(5) If all your stuff won’t fit in your vehicle along with everyone else’s stuff, empty someone else’s suitcase and put your stuff in there, too. If your snacks are good enough, your grandparents might never notice that they have no clean underwear and your kids won’t care.
(6) Do not stay in the same hotel room with other family members. Heck, don’t even stay in the same hotel.
(7) If you must go visit family, don’t call it a vacation. You’re only fooling yourself.
(8) For road trips, make sure you have lots of water, Diet Coke, and empty cups in the car. Sometimes, there is absolutely no place to make a pit stop, especially when you’re lost. And even if there is a place to stop, you’ll drive right past it as you’re screaming at each other about who missed the exit.
(9) Be flexible. Plans don’t always work out. Your first-choice vacation destination may not be doable. It also helps to be flexible if you are planning to share a hotel with your family because you might be the one stuck sleeping on the sofa bed.
(10) If you’re traveling with an older person, check their stuff. Before you leave home, be sure to go over the checklist to make sure they’ve packed hearing aids and batteries, glasses, teeth, a cup for the teeth, hair that is not being currently worn, and a shoebox full of medicines and ointments. These items are more important than clean underwear.
(11) Have very low expectations. Anything good that happens will seem like manna from heaven.
(12) Don’t let your husband choose the hotel. Randy is wonderful about scouting locations, and he’s great at negotiating a discount, but I get the final say on where we tuck in at night. His one exception to that rule was an Embassy Suites in San Antonio, and he hit it out of the ballpark with that one. On the other hand, there was the inn in Kill Devil Hills where we spent our honeymoon and found someone else’s leftover food in our refrigerator. The place actually blew down during a hurricane a few years later. Oh, and Daniels Resort in The Poconos, and the Beachmark in Ocean City, and someplace at Deep Creek Lake with a hole in the wall….
(13) Be prepared for bad weather. If you’re spending a LOT of money on the trip, be prepared for a natural disaster.
(14) If you’ll be flying, assume that you will get the seat next to the person who will take off his shoes for the whole flight. And the person who ate a pound of garlic will be on your other side. If only one or neither of these things happen, enjoy your flight. This may well be the high point of your trip.
(15) Ask the concierge or hourly attendant (depending upon where you’re staying) where the locals eat dinner. The prices and food will be better and you will upset all the local diners by going there. They hate tourists.
(16) Split the driving with your travel companion(s). Randy and I enjoy giving each other a break from driving and a thrill on the road. With him driving, I never know if I’ll live to see our destination, and with me driving, he says he’s never sure he’ll live long enough.
(17) Don’t depend on GPS. Pack some maps and/or a road atlas and learn how to read them. It doesn’t help if you point out that your exit was a half mile back.
(18) Get your priorities straight. Don’t pass a Dunkin Donuts without stopping for some munchkins.
(19) Take along some good road trip music if you’re driving but make sure it’s not irreplaceable. See Number 20.
(20) Always assume that things will get lost or broken.
Please don’t think for a second that all of our vacations have gone badly. They haven’t. We’ve had some great trips and made some wonderful memories. As you can imagine, hilarity ensues when the Nusbaums venture out, most of it unintentional.
I also happen to like my family very much. Most of them, anyway.
I’m actually looking forward to having some new adventures with my hubby this year, and I’m wishing all of you safe and happy travels this summer.