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It’s no secret that I love to travel. I love it so much that I have a whole other blog, Pebble Pirouette, devoted to our adventures, although I really need to catch it up. I have a little history with traveling, it’s not that I’ve only been to a few places. I was born in Germany, have lived in 7 countries, visited 18 countries and I’ve been to 47 States in the US. If I sit still for too long, I get antsy and want to go. Since Summer is coming up, I thought it would be a great time for 10 Travel Tips from a Serial Traveler. It’s true. I embrace it.
Here is part of my problem. I live in Southeast Idaho. I would rather be on the beach in Florida most of the year. It’s a long trip, but so worth it. Really though, I just like to go. Almost anywhere.
You see, this is my backyard in the Winter. So much snow and cold. Yes, it’s beautiful. I know that, really. I’m grateful to have a home to call my own. A place my family and friends can visit. I’m grateful, I just am not a fan of this scene. I actually get kind of mad when I see snow or the temperatures dip below about 40.
One of the most important things about traveling is the preparation beforehand. You don’t want to miss something important. If I’m going on a trip I haven’t been on before, I make a list of things I need to take. If I’m going to someplace like Florida, where I go at least once a year, I don’t usually make a list, but I have an area where I gather things so I don’t forget them. It usually works.
Make sure you have a way to communicate with your friends and family. You might have flight delays or if you’re driving, you might have to take a detour that causes your trip to be longer than anticipated. Walmart Family Mobile currently has some really nice Rollback pricing on some of the nicest phones. We took a trip to our local Walmart and checked them out and picked a new Alcatel Fierce XL. It’s a really nice phone, with an 8 megapixel camera and the price was right at $119.00. Perfect for all of those vacation shots. Since it’s tax season right now, use your tax refund on your new phone. It’s the perfect time.
Be sure you have lots to keep you occupied during those long layovers, flights and car rides. This is so important for your sanity. When we were getting our new phone, we checked out the service plans and loved the new Walmart Family Mobile PLUS plan. For $49.88 a month, you get Unlimited Talk, Text and Data, with 10 GB at 4G LTE speed PLUS a FREE movie on VUDU ever month! That is so awesome to me. We have had some crazy long layovers and having a free movie that we could play on our tablet would have been amazing. It would keep the whining of tired kids, and parents, way down.
Other things that can keep your family busy, during a layover or long ride, are books, magazines, games on your tablet, checking the weather at your destination, checking scores or winners, coloring (no crayons, they melt) or handheld games.
Whatever Walmart Family Mobile plan you select, be sure you get your Starter Kit for $25. This activates your phone and gives you a number, although you can bring a number from another provider with you.
I am blessed enough to work from home and to be able to take it with me when I travel. I like to stay connected when I travel, to share photos, check email, adjust my posts, etc. I also like to stay in contact with my family. Having enough data has been a problem in the past. I have actually gone over my limit and had to pay more money. With the Walmart Family Mobile PLUS plan, I don’t have to worry about that at all. I can send lots of pictures, surf the web, check my email, etc. to my heart’s content. So my tip here is to make sure you have enough data to cover your trip.
Be sure to pack the appropriate clothes and supplies that you need. The beach is my happy place and we try to go for at least two weeks a year. When my kids finally got old enough to pack their own suitcases, I would remind them what they needed to take and then let them do the work. It was great. However, we have actually gotten to the beach without one or more of them having their swimming suits. How do you forget that when you’re going to the beach? No idea. If you are traveling with self-packing kids, my advice is to give them each a checklist.
If you are traveling with kids, pair them up, especially on planes. We traveled to Estonia on a plane when we were moving there, because it took less time than a boat, but it still took us 36 hours to get there. At that time our kids were 6, 9 and 13 and were really good travelers because they had already been traveling, a lot. We put the two oldest kids together on the two seat side and then kept the youngest with us on the three seat side. They pretty much kept each other busy the whole trip, even during the layovers.
Funny story, the youngest actually stayed awake during the whole trip. However, when we got to our destination, she fell asleep on the floor while we were waiting for our luggage. We went through customs with her laying across our trunks. That was the easiest customs we’ve ever experienced.
If you’re driving, plan your route. Check state’s Transportation Departments for road closures so you will know if your chosen route is closed. Leave your plan with someone either at your home or where you are going. Having said that, don’t be so ridged in your trip. If you see something off of your path you want to visit, do it. Some of our best memories have been made that way.
If you’re traveling with kids by car, get hotels with a pool. Your kids have been cooped up in a car all day long and will have loads of energy. When you get to the hotel, let them swim for a while. This will help them and thus, you, sleep a lot better.
Take plenty of snacks with you. The airlines don’t supply much in the way of food anymore, so you want something you enjoy, but that won’t be messy, with you. Some of our favorite snacks are crackers, nuts, small chocolates, snack mix and dried fruit. When you’re picking your snacks, be respectful of other travelers and don’t pick snacks that are too aromatic. When we lived in China, we were traveling by plane from Beijing to Shanghai and there were people with packaged dried fish all around us, munching on those fish to their heart’s content. I really hated that.
Drink plenty of water. When you travel, you get dehydrated. I’m not sure why, I just know you do. You can’t bring water through airport security, but you can take an empty bottle and most airports have filtered water stations where you can fill it before you get on the plane. Then you can drink your water without paying $5 a bottle.
Wherever your adventure takes you, be sure to enjoy it and experience everything you can. If you have your office with you, don’t work too much either. What trip are you planning to take this summer? Leave me a comment below please, because I love getting comments.
Disclaimer: All prices for phones and plans included in this post are accurate as of the date of posting; however, these prices are subject to change. Please refer to Walmart Family Mobile or your local Walmart for current pricing.