I’m a California girl at heart, but live in the big ATL these days, which means… Spring Break comes impossibly early. Second week of March to be exact. Starting…next Saturday. Super.
Feels to me like we just finished Winter Break. And parent conferences. And days off for snow. I just don’t want to take time off yet.
Anyway… I’m not in control of this, so as a result, I’m taking ALL of next week off. I decided to head out West to (hopefully) warm up, spend some time with friends and family, and take the kids to some of my favorite places in Southern California.
How did this busy mom plan such a trip? Call a travel agent? Do lots of research? Spend hours pouring over possibilities and itineraries? Nope.
I planned the whole thing from my desk (errrr…. not during working hours… you know, from my computer). In about an hour. Here is how I did it:
- Book A Place To Stay. I rented a really cute apartment for our Spring Break getaway. With 3 kids in tow, the convenience of pulling in somewhere, dropping our stuff, and NOT moving again is pretty compelling. Also, while our apartment isn’t big on space, it’s big on location – one block from the beach, and just a few blocks from our cute beach town downtown. I booked on vrbo.com. VRBO has been professional, prompt, and easy. A number of friends use Airbnb as well. There were a ton of options, in terms of price, location and amenities.
- Make Some Plans (But Keep It Simple). There is no reason to re-invent the wheel if you are visiting major destinations. In my case, I’m visiting my former home-town…but LA is so big, it’s worth pretending you aren’t from there. I knew the kids would enjoy activities that involved animals and the outdoors – so the zoo, the aquarium and some whale-watching all seemed liked good ideas. Sunset Magazine had a couple of good suggestions, and we had more plans than we could handle before we knew it. The key was to be decisive.
- Have Groceries Delivered. Ohmygoodness. This is the silver lining of internet service. Instacart, Amazon Fresh, even Task Rabbit…these are all ways to get someone else to do the shopping, walking and delivering for you. PRICELESS if you are travelling to a location where this is possible. My groceries are arriving about an hour after my kiddos and I arrive – Cheddar Bunnies to the rescue! Not to mention the $$ saved by avoiding expensive hotel buffets and room service.
- Book a Sitter (And Set Her Up With CluckCluck!). Booking a sitter when you are travelling can be a little scary, especially when your littles are really little. When my kids were small, I typically used local nanny agencies (hotels usually have one or two they prefer). You have to pay a little more with this option, but for me, it was worth it to know that the sitter had been through a background check and had previous experience. Now that my kids are bigger, however, I am more comfortable with using other services, like Care.com and UrbanSitter. The last sitter I booked through UrbanSitter was literally Cinderella at Disneyland when she was not babysitting. Honestly, it’s worked out pretty well for me. Also, our CluckCluck app makes it way easier to stay in touch, especially with a sitter who might not know your family that well. Once Number 4 is covered, you can move on to Numbers 5 and 6.
- Get a Little Me Time. I’m the WORST at this in real life. I tend to think NOTHING will succeed without my supreme leadership in play. That’s obviously not true. But sometimes I book a massage, or just an hour to walk alone on the beach, and it’s so amazingly good for me. Just find a little window and block it off. It’s your vacation too.
- Get a Little “We” Time Too. My husband likes to joke that travelling without the kids is a vacation whereas travelling with the kids is a trip. Haha. I know you know what he’s talking about. When we’re on a trip we always try to take some time for ourselves.Whether it’s a dinner alone, or just an afternoon while the kids are with a sitter or in the kids’ club at the hotel, getting away for a few hours helps recharge our batteries for more swimming, sand castles, or whatever. Again, a big return in exchange for a relatively small investment of time and money.
There are obviously particulars to everyone’s plans. But get going my friends!
Happy Spring Break!