The last day of school for my kids is tomorrow. Then, the exodus begins, at least in my neighborhood. But, before you start your family vacation, I’ve got 10 must-do’s you’ll want to cross off your list to help ensure the best vacation ever. Take a look:
1. Decide on a Hashtag.Take and share photos during your summer vacation on Instagram. Create and tag all your pictures with a unique hashtag, like #JonesSummer2014, so family and friends can follow your travel adventures. Kids can do the same on their iPods or other handheld devices.
2. Download Postcard Apps. No need to stop in gift shops for postcards of places you visit. Just download free apps, like Postagram or Postcards on the Run, to your smartphone. Take pictures, customize them as you like, then pay a small fee to mail postcards to friends or family.
3. Set Up a Personal Travel Blog. Kids love computers, so work with them to create a personal travel blog using a template from MapQuest Travel Blogs (don’t worry, it’s easy). Kids can upload photos, drop pins on locations they visit over the summer, enter travel dates and write stories about their adventures.
4. Create a Flat Stanley. Read a Flat Stanley book with your kids and have them create a Flat Stanley to take along as you visit museums, beaches and attractions. Take pictures to create a photo album. Or, use your smartphone to take photos and share them on Instagram with the #FlatStanley hashtag.
5. Research Must-Try Foods. Go online to check out what foods are famous in the cities you plan to visit on your summer vacation. Then, make sure to try classics like Key Lime Pie in Key West and Deep Dish Pizza in Chicago. Yum.
6. Seek Out a Sightseeing Tour. A sightseeing tour is a great way to get the lay of the land while learning about local history and landmarks in a new town. It’s easy to purchase discounted tickets through the Viator website, which features hand-picked tours and attractions in cities around the globe.
7. Find Funky Roadside Attractions. Will you be taking a road trip? Don’t forget to stop by the Giant Roller Skate in Bealeton, VA or the Peachoid (a giant peach water tower) in Gaffney, SC. Before you go, stop by RoadsideAmerica.com first to find some of the funky spots you won’t want to miss.
8. Get Your Kids a Camera. Plan to take pictures with your kids while on vacation. Encourage them to experiment and have fun. Have them get high, get low, up close, even if you know the shots won’t be great. Bad shots are learning tools and can open the door to sharing tips on how to compose better shots.
9. Find Out Where to Eat for Free. A family vacation can be expensive, so plan to take the kids out to eat on nights when kids eat free. There are several smartphone apps that can guide you, like Kids Meal Deals, which helps you find the nearest restaurant offering free kids meals by day of the week.
10. Choose a Collectible. Before you embark on your summer vacation, decide on something to collect to remember each new experience. Whether postcards, magnets, coffee mugs, snow globes or coasters, there are so many different types of souvenirs you can collect with your kids. These will serve as a great way for all of you to remember your fun family vacation adventures.
Photo Credit: Jacoba Partida