Our family of six is on the road for two weeks.
Whenever I come home from a trip I always declare I’ll never go anywhere again. The crowded airplanes, the traffic, the summer heat, the SNAFUS (our latest is we have no place to sleep tonight due to a miscommunication).
But after a few weeks at home I’m invariably daydreaming about the next trip.
Here are some of my best tips–the ones you haven’t thought of–on how to make family travel go more smoothly:
1. Dry yourself with a washcloth.
After you take a shower, use your washcloth first. Then wrap up in a big towel. Your towel dries faster and doesn’t get moldy.
2. Bring a headlamp.
The best is one with a red light. If you’re sharing a room with your kids or spouse and you can’t sleep you can read by headlamp without disturbing them.
3. Bring 2 wooden clothespins.
Useful for holding those pesky hotel blinds shut and pinching closed a half eaten bag of chips.
4. Plan to do laundry.
In the sink, a friend’s machine, or at the laundry mat. Then if you’re on the road for awhile, you only need to bring five day’s worth of stuff.
5. Mail home what you don’t need.
Not using your winter coat in the summer heat wave? Bought five books at the indie store? It’s usually cheaper and easier to mail your extra stuff home to yourself than to lug it with you and pay to check your bag.
6. Keep every receipt.
If part of your family vacation involves work, you can deduct that portion of your trip from your taxes. But the IRS needs proof. Even if you’re only on a pleasure voyage, keeping your receipts will help you plan how to make your next trip more cost effective.
7. Always bring a bathing suit.
It’s the time you have no suit with you that your flight is cancelled and the airline puts you up in a hotel with a stellar pool and even better public hot tub.
What are your best tips to make family travel easier?
Jennifer Margulis, Ph.D., is a senior fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University. She is the editor of Toddler and co-author of The Baby Bonding Book for Dads. Her new book, The Business of Baby: What Doctors Don’t Tell You, What Corporations Try to Sell You, and How to Put Your Baby Before Their Bottom Line, will be published by Scribner in April 2013. Read a Q & A with Jennifer at the Oregonian’s Oregon News Network.