Samantha Brown’s Summer Travel Tips

Traveling in the summer – especially with kids – can be hot, busy and stressful. Here are a few tips to help you keep your cool on your next family vacation.
1. Know thy airport.
Take a look at the airport’s website and terminal map to get an idea ahead of time of things such as your eating options, the locations of family restrooms, and the availability of kids’ play areas for children to work off some energy.

2. Anticipate flight delays.
Summer thunderstorms can delay flights as much as snow. Bring lots of good, healthy snacks, so if you’re delayed in the terminal — or worse, on the tarmac — you and your family will be fine.

3. Check out the library.
The local library in your vacation destination probably has visitor passes so you can check out real books instead of using your expensive e-reader that doesn’t do well in sun and sand. If there’s a rainy day, this could be a nice hangout for the family, as libraries usually have great tween and kids’ sections. There’s also access to computers to print out boarding passes.

4. Take a break.
Every day, make sure you build in a break around 3 or 4 p.m., when everyone’s energy and fuses run short. Take a nap, read, write in a journal and let teens have time on their phones. That way, everyone will be rested and recharged for dinner.

5. Create some house rules.
If you’re renting a house this summer, print out a house rules page with a list of daily chores that need to be done, such as washing dishes, restocking toilet paper and taking out the trash. If you don’t, you’ll be the one who is cleaning up after everyone, and that’s no vacation.

6. Picnic in the park.
Locate the best public park for an afternoon picnic. Young kids can play on the equipment, older kids can kick a ball or throw a Frisbee, and adults can sit down and relax.

7. Game Changer: Travel Apps
Travel apps have seriously changed my life and made my travels easier. I love FlightAware, as it allows me to track my inbound flight. AroundMe tells me what’s near me, including ATMs, restaurants and emergency rooms. I also like iExit while I’m on the road to see what exit is best for gas and food.

8. Underappreciated Resource: Twitter

Twitter is an amazing travel tool. Sign up for an account, choose a handle and follow all the places and businesses you’ll be traveling to or with: airlines, hotels, tourism boards. Now, you have direct access to them should something go wrong or you simply have a question. This resource is usually quicker than getting on the phone.