Archive for February 2012
February 22, 2012
Ok, not really. Is it ever easy to plan a trip? While I love to travel, I am terrible at planning the outlines of a trip. I get bogged down in the details and find it impossible to make decisions. The internet is a great resource but I find the abundance of information overwhelming and confusing.
We are planning our next adventure – to the Bavarian Alps and I vowed to take a bigger roll in the details – where we will stay, how we will get around, etc. After floundering for several weeks, my husband has taken the reins and provided the outline of an itinerary. With that piece done, I find it much more fun and relaxing to plan the day to day details – a portion of the trip planning he actively dislikes.
How do you share trip planning?
February 14, 2012
Comments off · Posted by jennifer in Ski Vacations
My kids are excellent skiers. Unfortunately I am not. Which means, we do LOTS of ski school. From the Breckenridge Bombers program to the traditional ski school experience, we are veterans of it all. One of the toughest challenges we face is getting four kids up, dressed and out the door on time and with all the necessary gear. Here are things we have learned after years of trial and error.
- Wear the base layer as PJs. The kids always sleep in their long johns. It saves valuable time in the morning and is a nice cozy way to start the morning (who wants to put on a cold pair of long johns first thing in the morning?)
- Prepare the night before. Pick a convenient spot near the door and lay out everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) in the order it needs to be put on. Give each child a folding chair or designated spot on the floor so they each have their own space and there is no fighting over territory.
- Need a lunch? Pack it completely the night before (use a labeled zip lock bag to keep the lunch together and dry).
- Load all skis, boards and poles in the car the night before.
- After breakfast, require a potty stop (even if they insist they don’t have to go!).
- Everyone gets ready together and in order. Do NOT dress the kids one at a time – the first ones ready get too hot in their gear. Instead, have everyone do each step together. You can help as needed to keep things moving but kids can do a surprising amount by themselves if you let them.
- Wear ALL gear to the slopes including ski boots (it gives them a chance to warm up before heading out on the slopes) and helmets.
- Double check the essentials as you load the car: gloves, neck gators, helmets.
- Pack an essentials bag – we have a bag of spare gloves, neck gators, ear warmers and even a helmet that stays in the car. That way if something gets lost, we have a back up ready to go.
If you forget something, don’t panic. Ski schools often have a spares you can borrow or buy. Ask to check the lost and found for spare gear to borrow if you don’t want to purchase new.
February 8, 2012
Entertaining kids on long road trips is always a challenge. Movies and hand held electronics only last so long so here are some fun new and classic games to try on your next road trip:
1. Travel Picture Bingo from imaginetics. The small size and convenience of magnetic pieces make this a must have on any road trip. Keep one in the car and play games whenever you ride in the car.
2. Family Dinner Take Out from Melissa & Doug. 42 thought provoking questions will get the conversation going (and the laughter flowing) while riding in the car. It is small enough to fit in the glove compartment.
3. Go Fishing Take ‘n Play game. Fun for kids of all ages – this is great for siblings sitting next to each other in the car.
4. Fidget Puzzle from ToySmith. Manipulative toys are fun for restless kids. This one has 12 block connected by an elastic string and can be manipulated into numerous shapes. Great for kids from 3 to 99.
5. Squiggle On the Go. Stretch imaginations as you pass the hours in the car with Squiggles. With 200 unique pages, there is plenty for even the longest road trip.
What are your favorite travel games?
February 2, 2012
While the slopes beckon for many, there are plenty of non-skiing activities at most ski resorts to keep non-skiers happy and entertained. Here are my top five non-ski activities to look for when selecting a ski resort town for a family vacation:
- Sledding or tubing hill. Some resorts have groomed tubing hills complete with magic carpets or tow ropes. These tend to be pricey (up to $30 an hour) so if you are looking for the budget option, ask some locals where they go sledding, pick up a couple of sleds in the local grocery store and head out. A thermos of hot cocoa and some cookies will round out the perfect afternoon. If you are heading to Breckenridge, check out Carter Park behind the elementary school – great sledding (but beware of the rough ride down the middle – little kids should stick to the smoother path on the sides).
- Dog sledding. Kids and adults of all ages will enjoy this fun activity – there are packages from an hour to a full day.
- Children’s museum/rec center. Many mountain resorts have a children’s museum or indoor rec center (or both) that are fun for a day or even après ski. These are generally very affordable but can be crowded and/or have odd hours.
- Shopping. Shopping at a resort can be limited but ski towns have a wide variety of unique stores to fit every budget and taste. Kids will enjoy browsing the local toy store, small book store and even the eclectic gift shop. Ask around for fun kid spots – for example, there is a small indoor play area in the back of Peek A Boo toys in Breckenridge. The upstairs kids area of the Breckenridge visitor center is also a hidden gem – rarely crowded and fun, educational activities for the kids.
- Ceramics studio. Spend an afternoon or après ski evening painting a masterpiece to take home. If you do this early in the trip, you can generally take it home with you, otherwise, they will ship it to your destination.
Of course, no trip would be complete without fun games for the condo/hotel room. You can find our favorites here.
What are your favorite activities?