As I mentioned in the first post on this topic, I’m excited and honored to be partnering with Embassy Suites Hotels this summer (have you and your family ever stayed in one? they were a family favorite when I was growing up). As you know I’m all about maximizing health and happiness by finding time for family, friends and fun, so I’m really thrilled to be contributing to their summer Vacation "More-imization" campaign. North Americans in general are severely starved for vacations and down time, more than any other people in the world, and our productivity, success, health and happiness suffer as a result.
Embassy Suites Hotels is celebrating the summer travel season by encouraging families to get MORE out of their vacations and make the most of their time off spent together. A survey they conducted with Parents magazine found that many of us are "vacation dabblers", taking days where we can here and there – often only 1-2 nights. They asked me to put together some tips for “more-imizing” your vacation this summer, so that families can get more of the happiness, fun and relaxation and that comes before, during and after a great family trip. Here is my second set of tips (you can find the first three tips here , and I will post the last three next week):
4) "Stuck" spending your family’s vacation time visiting family? Turn a family obligation into a vacation opportunity. Spending time with extended family is really important in today’s busy world where we often end up isolated and too busy to spend time with loved ones. However, it can feel frustrating if you only have time or funds for one vacation, and feel obligated to spend that time on visiting relatives (especially if your spouse and kids would much rather have a "play" type of vacation, and you have to listen to them complain about it!). If your family can’t get away for a long vacation, but are traveling for family obligations, turn that trip into a mini getaway. Look for local family-friendly sightseeing or play opportunities and treat yourself to a special family dinner and other treats while you’re on the road. Ask your family members to identify fun or special activities that you can enjoy either en route or once you’ve arrived. You might be amazed by how much fun that "family" trip ends up being!
5) Travel the night before to your vacation destination. If you can, leave work early to get yourself on the plane or road, and sleep en route if you can, if you arrive late to your destination. (note: I am not an advocate for overnight flights or overnight road trips, this is a sure way to feel awful your first day and worth being avoided at all costs!) There is nothing better than waking up and already being “on vacation” rather than spending a whole morning traveling to get there. It’s an easy way to maximize the first day away.
6) Make your vacation budget go further by staying at a hotel with as many amenities as possible. I travel constantly, and have experienced pretty much every sort of hotel. Now, I will often forego a special rate on a four star hotel and prefer to stay somewhere that’s still very nice and gives me more – extras such as an in-room kitchen, extra living space, free internet, a complimentary hot breakfast, an afternoon reception etc. One of the most stressful things about traveling can be figuring out where to eat, especially if you have multiple people who are part of that decision. Sometimes I have wasted a whole morning wandering around trying to decide on a place – far better to stay somewhere like an Embassy Suites (oh how my whole family loved these growing up – and we still do) which includes a complimentary cooked-to order breakfast. I also love their two-room suites, I remember when we were kids we liked our huge Embassy Suites hotel room more than our house back home! I can still remember what our favorite hotel room looked like, even though it was decades ago (How is that possible? Am I not 19 anymore? How did this happen? Sigh).
A special note: Embassy Suites is helping families “more-imize” those vacation days to get as much fun, relaxation and family time out of them as possible with a “Get More Vacation” contest on Facebook . Between now and July 20, simply upload a picture of your family’s “vacation face” – that look of excitement and joy when you’ve finally booked that much-needed vacation – and a caption explaining how your family plans to get the most out of your summer vacation, for a chance to win even more vacation with one of five week-long trips, courtesy of Embassy Suites (you can find more information and enter here ).
Happy Summer everyone!