For the last week or 2 I have been furiously planning my family’s vacation to South Carolina. We have been wanting to take more vacations with the kids but since most of our family lives out of state our vacation time is usually spent traveling to and from their homes rather than just doing stuff ‘for fun’. When I got selected to be an Embassy Suites Ambassador with Mom Central, I was thrilled to have an excuse to spend a couple of days just playing tourist! Since non family related trips only happen about once a year I am determined to make the most of it and the Embassy Suites hotel we will be staying at will really make this trip enjoyable!
A recent study by Parent’s magazine showed that more and more people are ‘dabbling’ with their vacation time…taking more frequent vacations that last a shorter amount of time. Embassy Suites is trying to help families ‘more-imize’ their vacation time with the “Get More Vacation” contest on their Facebook Page. Between now and July 20th, fans can upload a picture of their family vacation that shows off their “vacation face”. What is your vacation face? It is that look of pure joy and happiness when you have booked the perfect vacation! Just add a caption to your picture that explains how you are going to get the most out of your vacation time this year…both before, during, and after the actual trip.
So, what does it mean to ‘more-imize’ your vacation time? Embassy Suites has partnered with Dr. Susan Biali who wrote the book Live a Life You Love: 7 Steps to a Healthier, Happier, More Passionate You. The goal is to help families get more out of their summer vacations with a few helpful tips:
1. People need at least 3 days to get the full relaxation benefits of time off.
2. Plan trips in advance to avoid stress and allow yourself to enjoy vacation anticipation.
3. For longer vacations, plan to take a ‘buffer day’ before jumping back into your work schedule.
4. Travel the night before your vacation so that you can wake up fresh and start enjoying your time off right away.
5. Make your budget go further by staying in a hotel like Embassy Suites that provides amenities that makes your vacation more enjoyable.
6. Don’t over-schedule yourselves. Plan to take a little ‘nap time’ during the day so everyone is well rested and you can avoid stress.
7. After your vacation is over, put together a scrapbook to help remind you of the good times you had.
8. Use a travel rewards program with a hotel or airline to help save money.
We had my daughter make a scrapbook out of a cereal box last week so she is all set to put her vacation memories into it for safe keeping! She will be able to look back on her South Carolina trip for years and remember all the fun places we saw. We are visiting an old cypress forest in a swamp, an old southern plantation, and a few Civil War sites. Should be tons of fun! And the Embassy Suites hotel we are staying at is the old citadel right in the heart of downtown Charleston!
Embassy Suites was recently voted one of the 10 best hotel chains for families in 2012. They offer 2 room suites, free cooked to order breakfast, and a nightly Manager’s Reception with free appetizers and beverages. Amenities like this are important to me because it makes traveling with children MUCH easier! I especially look for the free breakfast option and 2 separate rooms in the suite. Ever try to get a child to go to bed when the lights are still on? NOT easy! And I don’t always want to go to bed when my children do!
Embassy Suites 2 room suite
I usually spend a fair amount of time researching the area that we will be visiting so I can make sure we get everything done that I want to do in a very short amount of time! Do you take short ‘mini vacations’ or long ones? A study by Embassy Suite’s Parent’s magazine readers shows that there are more and more people taking shorter vacations.
*A majority of families (56%) are Vacation Dabblers who take a few days here and there throughout the year.
*More the one quarter are Vacation Extenders who tack on an extra day or two to a holiday they already get off from work or school
* Vacation Maximizers are the minority…they are the ones that save up vacation time for a nice LONG vacation.
* Very few are Vacation Accumulators who save up all their time off and only use it when they are about to lose it!
We actually fit into a few of those categories! We take short vacations (Dabblers) once or twice a year to nearby areas that offer things we want to share with our children. These are usually cultural or environmental…I want the kids to know the history of an area and see the types of people, plants and animals that live there. We often add a vacation day to a day my husband already has off (Extenders) to allow for travel time. Our trips to see family far away are long (due to travel and the extent of our obligations!) so for those we are Maximizers. We NEVER let my husband get close to the use it or lose it mark! He will often just take a Friday off for no reason other than to mow the lawn so there is no losing vacation days!
One thing I enjoy doing is getting books about the area we are traveling to from the library so we can read them beforehand with the kids. This gets them really excited about our impending vacation AND it is a great way to sneak in a little education while they aren’t looking!
Summer is here…have you thought about how YOU are going to get the most out of your time off with family? Check out the Embassy Suites contest on Facebook and enter to win a week long vacation for your family! If you would like more information about Embassy Suites you can follow them on Twitter!
Disclaimer: I wrote this post as part of a compensated campaign through Mom Central Consulting and Embassy Suites. All opinions expressed here are mine and mine alone. I was also provided with one free night of accommodation at an Embassy Suites hotel of my choice to facilitate future posts.