Blue Suit Mom

Summer Vacation Tips for Families

I hope this holiday weekend finds you on vacation with your family. July 4th weekend is certainly a popular travel weekend, with many of us hitting the road for our favorite beach, lake, state park or the mountains. Our first family vacation of the summer involved camping (true tent camping) and it was a fantastic experience. I remember taking my children when they were very young, and now that they are teenagers, the logistics are certainly a bit easier. However, I still learned a few things along the way and remembered some basics that apply no matter the ages of our children. In our family, we let our children choose the destination. This year, camping won the popular vote, and tent camping in Utah was the final decision. We love camping, but the logistics of camping over 2,500 miles away presented challenges that made pre-trip research so important.

Utah camping


Whether you are driving or flying with small children or bigger ones, here are a few tips for summer vacation planning:

  • Buy an annual National Parks Pass. It will save you money and allow you to the freedom to jump from park to park.
  • Go online and reserve your camping spot at the busiest national parks. They book up early.
  • Make a menu of the meals you intend to cook and prepackage spices in small zip loc bags so you don’t need to pack large bottles of spices.
  • Pack your paper goods to manage waste or packing unused product for the voyage home.
  • Prepackage laundry detergent to avoid purchasing the expensive sample sizes in campgrounds and public laundry facilities.
  • Pack garbage bags for your road trip and camping spots
  • Pack travel size games to entertain your family at night instead of electronics.
  • Rent audio books from the public library and take them along for long car rides.
  • Once at your destination, purchase an inexpensive Styrofoam cooler (if you couldn’t bring one) so that you can store perishables.
  • For our camping trips, we want to have pillows but they are too bulky to pack so we go to a local big box retailer and purchase pillows. They often sell for less than $5 each.
  • We bring our own pillowcases and when we are done with them at the end of the trip, we drop the pillows off at a local charity (Salvation Army, homeless facility, etc.).
  • I always pack clothes that were on the way out anyway. At the end of the trip, we drop off a bag of clothes, along with the pillows and any other usable items we don’t want to take home.

Wherever your travels take you this summer, I hope your experiences are memorable. Follow my travel posts on the Jane Air Women on Their Way blog.

Safe travels.

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