Note: Great tips here! If you want individual help with your homeschool, be sure to read the last line to find out how to reach Donna for a free one-on-one get acquainted call! ~ Christiane Marshall

istock_family on vacation_000010053113“The first condition of understanding a foreign country is to smell it.” –Rudyard Kipling

Whether you’re traveling for fun or business it’s going to take a little extra planning and packing when you add children to the mix. If Dad and Mom are working parents, entrepreneurs or employees, you’ve got to travel like a pro. By focusing in on important items and being well organized as well as prepared, your trip will be fully enjoyed. Here are a few tips on how to bring it all together and travel smart so there’s plenty of time for fun and exploration.

  • Have all your travel plans and schedules well prepared. Prior to traveling be sure you’re signed up for frequent flyer programs to maximize all your travel. Do this ahead of time so you don’t have to do it in the busy airport. Also have your travel days calendared. Note what days are for traveling and if there are any days you have to be at meetings when combining work and pleasure. Then you can plan the rest of the time for fun and recreation.

If you’re traveling for vacation only, be sure you have done as much work ahead of time or have it covered so you don’t have to work while on family vacation. Use technology wherever possible to get the work done for you while you’re at the beach playing with the kids. Contact anyone who’d you would like to meet while in the area and plan a lunch or even shared family-to-family time.

  • Family traveling by airplanePack it all, pack it light. It’s easy to pile on the stuff when it comes to children so take into consideration what you will really need. So many times I have over-packed only to carry it home again unused. If you’re anywhere that has access to a washer and dryer you will be able to pack lighter. For the little ones, you’ll have to pack extra changes of clothing in case anything gets soiled.

Work with your children well before the trip and make lists of what to take. Have each child prepare his own list, then moms or dads go over the list and talk about what might be missing. Depending on your child’s age, have them pull everything from their list and make a stack then have you review it to be sure nothing is forgotten. Pack it together or do a quick check once it’s in the bag.

Pack one bag of toiletries that can be shared. Personal items can be placed in each child’s personal bathroom bag such as toothbrush or hairbrush. Each family member can be responsible for their own book bag of goodies they want to bring such as books, puzzles, games, decks of cards, paper for drawing, snacks and a water bottle. Remember to include in your suitcase your cell phone charger, laptop wires and other device chargers.

  • Lighten your load and go paperless. There are travel management sites like you can use to access all of your travel information for your flight, car, hotel, etc. You can also use a program such as to store any additional information you may need while away. This way you can access it from your smartphone, laptop, tablet or just about anything you have that can access the internet. If you’re bringing your work with you is a fabulous tool that allows you to put all those files online so you can access them from anywhere, anytime.

Now you don’t have to carry so much in your bags. If you like to read a lot consider bringing an e-reader along rather than a stack of books. I love my Kindle and look forward to loading stacks of books on it for plenty of beachside reading and tanning. Remember, packing light will help you have more energy by not wearing you down.

  • Explore educational options. Take plenty of time before your trip to gather information about your destination. Contact the chamber of commerce or the state departments of tourism. Are there any historical sites, museums, zoos, national parks, factory tours, performing arts, music and visual arts, education centers or local attractions?

Check out books from your local library or do research online about the history of where you’re going. Can you learn a foreign language or even popular words if it’s a shorter trip? Be sure you take along addresses and stamps to mail postcards. Even though we are using GPS or smartphones to navigate, we will get a map and show the children the route and talk about geography along the way. Take along nature journals, cameras, video cameras and journals to document the trip.

  • Set up home away from home. Is there anything light you can bring from home to help you feel more at home, especially if you’re taking a long trip? Examples: your personal pillow, a small blanket or a candle. Be sure to include in your packing any medications, remedies and a first aid kit.

Choose a hotel, suite or even rental condo or house where you have room for everyone including a small refrigerator and even a way to cook simple meals. This will help keep the children happy and healthy, having a few meals cooked at “home away from home” rather than eating out the whole time. Be sure to bring favorite foods and snacks or locate a local store as you travel that carries these items.

Remember to make it fun and take time to relax. If that means just lying around and not being on the run the whole time, then enjoy it. That is what vacations are for, taking it easy. Enjoy the simplified living and know you will return refreshed and rejuvenated.

“A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.” –Lao Tzu

Parents Inspired to Action:

Review the list above and create your own personal travel checklists.

Get a map and chart your course early so you can gather information ahead of time and plan educational activities to do together as a family.

Make your list of items to buy before the trip and get them well in advance so packing and trip preparation can all go smoothly.

Children Inspired to Action:

Plan a trip with your children. If it’s for fun, choose a destination together. It’s a good idea to include them in all the research before you commit to a particular location.

Help your children create their own checklists for packing. Let them include a couple of their own personal items.

What can you have your children do to help you prepare for the trip? Older children can concentrate on more involved tasks or take responsibility in helping younger siblings.

Wondering how you can incorporate the guidance of a mentor to get the results you’re looking for in your own homeschool and life?

What do you need specifically to get the results you want? What can you let go of and what do you need to keep in your homeschool and everyday living? I know it’s important to you to be sure all your bases are covered.

If you would like a more systematic approach with the details to help you produce real change fast, I recommend setting up a “Get Acquainted Call with Donna.” Send an email with “Get Acquainted Call with Donna” in the subject line and you’ll be scheduled for a free one-on-one with me.

Think peace, live love.