Tips for Traveling with Family
Traveling with family is an excellent way to connect and create a lifetime of memories. As a step-mom, I remember a few of the early trips we took with Scott's three daughters. One of the first was to a beach house in Dillon Beach. We learned that it was not the best plan to have their wisdom teeth out the day before traveling. Annika learned it was not a good idea to eat an entire bowl of butterscotch pudding. We all learned that it IS possible for there to be too many plug-in air fresheners in a beach house. We still laugh about those memories. I also remember the cozy feel of having morning coffee in our pjs, cooking together, playing games, watching movies and taking long walks on the beach.
Over the years we've developed a few tips for making family travel a happy memory:
*Be clear about the itinerary, departure time and scheduled activities up front.
*Talk about the what time you project the first meal to be, so your family is on the same meal schedule from the get go.
*Pack a road picnic--snacks, fruit & bottled water--for the drive to keep travelers happy and save on fast food stops.
*Be specific about meeting times rather than the ever so wishy-washy "around 9-9:30ish".
*Use group messaging on text to keep everyone in on the conversation and planning.
*Book at least one room on the concierge level for food and drinks. A great cost saver.
*Book hotel rooms near each other or on the same floor. Adjoining rooms are not necessary unless you are going for a slumber party experience, especially with older "kids".
*Pack for the suite--snack food, water bottles, happy hour foods, perhaps a bottle of wine. Scott's parents were masters of the impromptu happy hour at the hotel when they traveled with friends.
*Take supplies for emergencies: aspirin, band-aids, safety pins, etc.
*Plan some down time for unwinding and connecting--or decompressing alone--between scheduled activities and meals together.
*Bring along some sort of game or activity for late night fun in the hotel. The girls introduced us to this game several years ago--it was a hoot!
A few additional tips:
*Be clear if the entire trip is a gift or if some expenses--like meals and shopping--are to be covered individually.
*Tell family members up front what times are expected for the entire group--like meals and events--and what parts of the trip are flexible and should be at their leisure.
*Do pack an extra measure of patience when you plan a family trip. Think of it as an adventure and a memory maker. It won't disappoint!
*If things get stressful (and they probably will at some point) take a few deep breaths and stay calm. Running late, or forgetting the clothes bag (yes-on this trip!) is not as bad as getting upset and hurting a family member's feelings while pursuing a good memory together.
Our most recent family trip was just after Christmas. We took the girls to San Francisco for a city stay, the classic play "A Christmas Carol", and some international dining and shopping.
We found the Hyatt Regency to be a wonderful location right next to Embarcadero Plaza and the historic Ferry Building; it's just a short distance to Union Square. Scott and I were upgraded to a balcony view suite with beautiful bay views and Concierge Level access.
San Francisco dresses up festively for the holidays as we discovered last year during our five day getaway to the city.
The Hyatt Regency Embarcadero Hotel is an icon in San Francisco. The modernist structure boasts the largest atrium lobby in the world--over 42,000 square feet--and is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records. I remember a dinner date at the revolving rooftop restaurant, The Equinox, when I was just 19. It was a big city life moment at it's best in my mind.
The gold sphere in the lobby is a mesmerizing light show as it displays a rainbow of hues over an infinity edged pool.
The Equinox restaurant no longer revolves the 360 degrees, but it is now the Concierge Level for the hotel. It continues to flaunt beautiful views of the bay and the financial district. Our family enjoyed a hearty breakfast with the ever changing views for free! This was a nice savings for a family of five.
Here we are out on the town headed to The Geary Theater for 'A Christmas Carol'.
We were surprised with nearly front row seats!
Thank you, Scott.
After the play, we wanted to introduce the girls to a favorite dining spot Scott and I discovered on our last visit to the city.
Gitane features the flavors of Southern France, Northern Spain and regions from Italy to Morocco. With it's soaring ceilings, boldly hued interior and dim lights it's named one of the most romantic restaurants in the city.
Back to the hotel for some late night fun and laughs. This time the girls introduced us to the Dub Smash app. Which reminds me there are some silly videos out there that need to be erased, girls. ;)
Family travel is a wonderful way to build family time and memories.
Do you have any tips for traveling with family?
Disclosure: I received an upgrade to a Balcony View Suite at Hyatt Regency San Francisco as well as Concierge Level privileges.
All opinions expressed of the property are my own.