Now, I'm a beach girl, so going to a city where we weren't surrounded by the ocean made me a bit scared, but once we arrived, I loved it. Disney World was great, even though the line-ups were long, but my favourite part was the resort we stayed in: The Hyatt Recency Grand Cypress. I was almost 13 years old, and I fell in love with the gorgeous pools, waterfalls, slides, and tropical landscape. This was a five-star, five-diamond resort, and the service was amazing. I can't wait to bring my kids. As an almost 13 year old girl, exploring the resort and making new friends with other kids my age was a highlight of my trip to Orlando.
Planning a trip to Orlando (or anywhere when you're travelling with children!) can sometimes be challenging, and expensive.
Here are some travel tips for you:
Dress comfortably: When you're travelling, wear something comfy. Your favourite pair of jeans, a pair of lulu's, or a dress that, no matter what position you end up in, will not fall off or expose any body parts unintentionally! Dress in something... easy. Using those tiny airplane bathrooms with a child with you? Not easy. Also, always bring everyone a sweater, even if you're going to a warm destination.
Pack a (smart) carry-on: Now that my children are older (six and eight) I can entertain the idea of packing a few books with me to read on vacation, but when they were younger, I had no time to read, let alone relax, on vacation. The carry-on essentials are: snacks, snacks, and more snacks! I love to bring little surprises with me, too, to give the kids when they're getting restless on the trip, either on the plane, or in the car. Things like a new book, paper and pencil crayons, or a new DVD. Also important: an extra change of clothes for the kids, earphones, and a little pillow for them to rest their heads. (Don't forget the most important thing: iPhone/ipad/DS chargers! Oh, and passports!)
Stay at child-friendly resorts: One of my favourite things about travelling to a resort like the Westin Diplomat Resort and Spa is the fact that Westin hotels are very child-friendly and accommodating. My children enjoy the free breakfast buffet, they have great (and healthy!) lunch options, and there is a Kids Club with so much to do.
Travel with your entourage: I've travelled alone with my children to D.C. , with my husband and our children, and often, with our entire family, including my parents, my sister, her husband, and their kids. Big family trips are the best. Not only do the kids have constant entertainment, you'll always have an extra set of hands to help you. It also means you'll have a chance to go out at night sans kids. It means you can enjoy your pina colada while it's still cold, and you can even swim in the ocean all alone without a care in the world, knowing someone's keeping the kids busy. Travelling with family members adds to the overall vacataion experience.
Get out there: As much as I love hotels and resorts, I love getting out there and exploring the city I'm in. Whether we're heading to our favourite restaurant for dinner, going to our favourite shopping mall or exploring the museums and zoo, we try to do as much as we can on vacation.
Don't leave home without: Pack a little first-aid kit. Include items like band-aids, polysporin, alcohol wipes, Gravol, Tylenol, Advil, vitamins, bug spray, sunscreen, aloe lotion for burns, and a thermometer. This will save you trips to the pharmacy if anything minor should happen.
Don't overpack: I know—this is almost laughable! I have a hard time not packing my entire closet with me when I travel and I never know what to leave out. Try hard to pack only what you know you'll wear, and don't bring too many pairs of shoes with you. Pro tip: always leave room in your suitcase for shopping!
Get a room with a balcony: Assuming you're traveling somewhere with an ocean view, get a room with a balcony. There is nothing quite like waking up to the sound of the waves and seeing the endless ocean in front of you! This way, if your children just want to hang out in the room for a few hours because they're tired, at least you'll still feel like you're on vacation.
Be flexible: When you're travelling, you're bound to encounter some problems, starting at the airport. I could write a book about issues I've had dealing with people who work at the airport, and with specific airlines, but I don't like to waste my time complaining unless it's something serious. We've all had bad service at the airport, right? Don't sweat the small stuff. Be flexible. Relax. Children will be off their routine, so do your best to go with the flow. Let the kids nap under the palm trees, in the shade. Go at your own pace.
All this travel talk has me craving a trip down south... back to Orlando!
CAA is giving away a fabulous vacation to Orlando, all expenses paid. Yes, including airfare for four, accommodations, and of course, tickets to some of Orlando's most popular theme parks. This vacation package (worth $6,000.00) is also easy to enter, so you should totally go enter, because really, just imagine how excited your children would be if you won?
Here's the link to enter the contest! Good luck, everyone. I don't know about you, but I sure could use a vacations somewhere warm right now! (This contest is going on until February 15th, so you should enter now.)
Disclosure: As a Brand Ambassador with PTPA and CAA South Central Ontario, I received compensation for my participation. However, all opinions expressed are my own.