Part 3 in a 3 part series of posts about vacation planning. In Part 1 , we told you about our family game we played this year to decide on a travel destination. In Part 2, we outlined the the steps to itinerary planning and the importance of preparation. Now that the trip is planned, the last piece of our 3 part series, we will discuss some essential and fun ways to prepare for your new adventure.
As we discussed in part 2 of this series, the key to a perfect vacation is prepare, prepare, prepare. Once flights and accommodations are booked, and restaurants and activities are planned, you may think your work is done. We would like to suggest a few other things that will enhance your travel, and especially if you are traveling with kids, will make the preparation that much more fun!
1. Research some of the typical foods of the region. About 2 weeks before you leave, plan a meal around those foods. Either eat at a local restaurant or cook something fun at home. When you travel, you eat out a lot. The unusual foods on the menu can be a bit scary for kids. Having some exposure beforehand to the kinds of foods they will see, will make nights out after a long day, much more enjoyable. Going to the Caribbean? Make jambalaya tonight. Going to Paris? Go out for crepes or croissants. Going to Spain? Find a tapas restaurant. Going to Texas? Make this healthy slow cooker mexican chicken recipe at home. Recipe courtesy of Real Nutrition. When we went spent a month in Spain in 2014, the kids got to experience all sorts of new foods in the form of tapas. Luckily, we hit a few Spanish restaurants in NYC (like Txikito) beforehand to warm them up.
2. Read a book! One of my favorite trip prep routines is to read a novel set in the city I am about to visit. Pay close attention to the restaurants that are mentioned in the book you read, because they are almost always a local favorite. This is a great activity for kids too. Goodreads.com is a great resource for finding the best books to read that are set in a particular city. We have read some fantastic books together to prepare for trips over the years. When we went to France, we read The Princess Diaries about Marie Antoinette. Then while we were there, we explored all of her favorite haunts. This summer my girls will read The Fault in Our Stars by John Green to get ready for our visit to Amsterdam.
3. Movie night. In addition to reading books, consider a family movie night. Find a movie that was set in the place you are going to visit and watch it. Visiting NYC? Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961) or more recently Black Swan (2010) are both terrific movies set in the Big Apple. Watching with the kids? Try Big (1988) to get them in the mood. Wherever you plan to go, there is probably a movie either shot there or set there. Add it to your list of fun prep tips to ramp up the wanderlust about your upcoming adventure!
When it’s time to pack for your adventure, check out our post on great packing tips. Bon voyage!!