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  • Sitaara Jones

    Sitaara Jones is a Chicago native and enjoys working from home as a mama of three and wife. A former third-grade teacher, Sitaara enjoys making the lives of teachers and students healthier through movement and also works as a fitness instructor.

    Parent Hacks: Master Your Next Family Vacation

    If you're ready to spend your next trip relaxing, exploring, and bonding—instead of arguing and stressing, you'll want to read these expert tips from NPN's own!

    As winter settles in, many people cope with the change in weather by planning their next family vacation. But if your last family vacation has you wanting to never venture out as a family again - you're in luck! 

    We've gathered the top travel hacks from NPN members on how to master your next family vacation and a magical opportunity to make the financial planning part of your next family vacation a piece of cake! 

    Hack 1: Pick A Location That Works For Everyone

    • The opportunity to get away with your family only presents itself a few times a year. Make the most of your trip by traveling to a destination that will please all of your carry ons - ahem, children.
    • Destinations like amusement parks, cruises, beaches, and family-friendly resorts are always a win!
    • NPN is excited to offer your family the chance of a lifetime! Win a magical family vacation while supporting NPN and Chicago families! Win big while giving back by purchasing a chance to win in the NPN Dreams Come True Family Vacation Sweepstakes! The sweepstakes is now open so secure your tickets today!

    Hack 2: Don't Stretch Your Budget

    • Family vacations aren't cheap but overspending doesn't have to be your only option. Plus, if you overspend, you'll be more likely to not be able to enjoy your trip because you're too busy worrying about paying for everything later.
    • Do yourself a favor and try to save during the year for your next family trip. Plan ahead and divide the anticipated total cost up each month or pay period to make your dream vacation a reality for your bank account.
    • P.S Did we mention that tickets to NPN's Dreams Come True Family Vacation Sweepstakes are only $40 and that the grand prize includes a check to cover airfare, lodging, tickets to the park, and spending money? Read more about each prize level and secure as many tickets as you want here.

    Hack 3: Leave The Planning To The Pros

    • There are two types of people out there - those that love planning things and those that don't. If the thought of planning meals and activities makes you nervous, tag in a vacation planner to handle the details!
    • Before you start thinking of your grandparents who used travel agents “back in their day,” remember that travel agents are experts in wanderlust and have relationships that can lead to a better vacation and a much less stressful experience for you.
    • For example, if you're planning a trip to Disney, it can be hard to know how soon to plan your trip, what a Genie+ is, or how to find the best deals. If you're planning things at the last minute or haven't been to Disney since you were 10, a planner may be the expert you need.
    • Looking for recommendations? This forum post has a few!

    Hack 4: Carve Out Time For Yourself + Time With Your Spouse

    • I know, I know - it's a family vacation. But YOU are a part of your family and so is your spouse! Try to find time to stay up late and catch a movie together or to take a dip in the pool, solo. You'll be amazed how therapeutic it can be!
    • Where possible, choose a family-friendly resort, a cruise with a kids club, or find activities that your kids can do on their own (if they are old enough) to give you a few minutes of alone time. Your kids will also appreciate this time to be independent!

    Hack 5: Don't Sweat The Small Stuff

    • Every trip is sure to have its share of surprises and things that you didn't expect or prepare for. Try as best as you can to go with the flow and be prepared to pivot under pressure. Figure out how to make the best of crappy weather or meltdowns or sickness to avoid spoiling an entire day or the whole trip.
    • Not only will this help you have a less stressful time, but it'll also show your kids a great example of how to handle disappointments, snafus, and changes of plan—something they’ll carry with them (and that’ll make them awesome travelers) for life.

    • Try (as best as you can) to plan ahead. Bring extra snacks with you (did you know that you're allowed to bring your own food into Disney?!) to avoid the inevitable "I'm starving" whines, pack ponchos to be prepared for random rainstorms, and be prepared for attitudes and tantrums from kids who may not appreciate all of the work that goes into making their dreams come true!

    There's no need to be afraid to plan your next getaway with your kiddos and there are major benefits to traveling and creating memories with your family. We hope these tips make your next family adventure, a dream come true!

    Sitaara Jones

    Sitaara Jones is a Chicago native and enjoys working from home as a mama of three and wife. A former third-grade teacher, Sitaara enjoys making the lives of teachers and students healthier through movement and also works as a fitness instructor.

    Image Credit: Home To Go

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