Summer is all about spare of the moment fun and spontaneity – not planning and list making. Most day’s in the summer we don’t even know what we are going to do until we wake up and start moving. That’s the beauty of summer! This spirit of spontaneity naturally also trickles down into our summer travel. Today I am going to share with you how we prepare in advance to be spontaneous with summer travel – so we can go when ever and where ever, making the most of our summer freedom and long weekends.
Hey mom, what are we going to do today? This simple phrase spoken by my seven year old makes my heart smile. During the summer months the days are ours to do with as we please. Sometimes this means jumping in the car and taking off on a long weekend getaway. Why not?
However, even though we love the freedom of just going places in retro road trip fashion, I have a little secret. Being the mother to two young children – I am always secretly prepared for travel ahead of time. By pre-setting the grounds for spontaneous summer travel with these three little tricks, we are free to just jump in the car and go – where ever and when ever.
Deciding Where to Go
Today seems like a good day to just get up and go somewhere! But, where? There are just so many options – let me just start looking into some places. . . ALERT! STOP! It’s easy to get pulled into the black hole of planning and loose interest completely or decide that after all of that planning there just isn’t time to go anymore. This is where having a travel list prepared ahead of time helps out. This can be as simple as creating a list of places you want to travel to, writing each destination on a stick and then drawing a stick out when the freedom to travel strikes. Whatever stick you draw – that’s where you go.
Tip: During pre-planning, look for destinations around your favorite hotel brands so you know that you have a comfortable and reliable place to stay once you get there.
While we do still need to prepare a little bit before we hit the road, such as packing a bag, maybe calling ahead to a hotel if you know exactly where you want to go, ect – I make sure to save time by having the following tasks already done.
1. Keep toiletries packed – I started doing this a few months ago and it has saved me so much time in packing! I simply have a gallon plastic bag which I filled with travel ready toiletries (extra toothbrushes, shampoo, soap, ect). This bag always stays packed and can be tossed in a suitcase, along with some clothes, for quick turn around packing.
2. Find your favorite apps – I have a ton of apps on my phone that help me be spontaneous with travel plans, but they can’t do their job if you have to wait for them to download or don’t know how to use them. This is why I research and get comfortable with my travel apps ahead of time.
3. Create a busy bag – With young children, having something for them to do in the car can either make a break a trip. So what I do is keep a “busy bag” under the seats of the car. When he hit the road for a long distance trip they can pull it out and find things to keep them busy such as coloring books, word puzzles, ect.
Tip: Buy items to go into the “busy bag” during after holiday sales. Especially holidays such as Halloween or Christmas when small stuffer items are sold.
Enjoy the Ride
In our lifestyle of retro traveling, the trip is more important than the destination. We are constant wanderers and love to be spontaneous. Here are a few ways we stay spontaneous while on the road.
1. Use a travel app to find roadside attractions, recommended stops and fun places to eat.
2. Ask a local. We often seek the advice of our hotel staff or waitress if they know of any great local attractions we should stop at before heading back on the road. We’ve found some pretty cool “off the radar” places this way.
3. Watch for billboards. Watching for fun billboard signs is a great way to be spontaneous while traveling and offers a chance to get off the highway and search out a new area if a place looks cool and worth visiting.
4. Take the back roads. When we travel we try to remain off the highway as much as possible. The back roads of America contain so many hidden gems, roadside attractions and beautiful views that so many people just fly right by.
With all travel, safety is of the utmost importance. Especially with spontaneous travel. This is why we like to seek out a familiar face on the road and stay with a hotel that we know is reliable. With Staybridge Suites we have found a home-like environment that is welcoming to our kids. Plus, with over 200 locations, finding a place to stay is usually easy within our route.
Have you heard that the Staybridge Suites brand has recently launched a Family Weekend Getaway contest to give vacation-starved families a spontaneous getaway? That’s right! Enter today and your family could be chosen to receive a three night stay at one of the family friendly Staybridge Suite locations along with a $250 MasterCard prepaid card, Kindle Fire HD7 8GB Tablet and $50 Amazon.com gift card.
How to enter: Follow this link to TravelingMom.com and tell them WHY you believe you deserve a last-minute, spontaneous Family Weekend Getaway in 1500 Characters or less. Who knows, you could be on your way to a weekend full of fun faster than you’d think.