5 Ways to Involve Kids in Vacation Planning

Planning a vacation with the whole family can be tricky, but involving kids in the process can make it much more enjoyable. Not only will they feel included in the planning process, but also you’ll find that their input is often invaluable. For instance, they can help uncover exciting new activities or even act as mini travel agents and unearth great vacation deals.

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Tips for Planning the Perfect Family Vacation to New York

Anyone who has been to New York City knows it is a bustling metropolis teeming with life. From the hustle and bustle of Times Square to the quiet calm of Central Park, the city has something to offer everyone. However, planning a family vacation to New York can be daunting. With so much to see and do, it can be challenging to know where to start. Here are some tips to help you plan the perfect family vacation to New York:

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Orlando here we come!!

The limousine arrived at 9am to take us to the Detroit airport. The kiddos were beyond excited!! They were waiting outside with their book bags on jumping up and down as it approached. My parents took the kiddos overnight the night before we left so that we could finish packing and let me tell you that was one of the best gifts. To be able to pack without 3 kiddos moving things and removing items from the suitcase helped immensely. Thus, if anyone ever offers to watch your kiddos so you can prepare and pack for a trip do take them up on their offer. This was the children’s first time in a limousine and they though it was just the neatest!!


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And on to their second 1st of the day, flying!! Our eldest has flown before but she was 17 months old the last time she was in a plane thus all 3 of them were super excited to fly. We made it through security fairly quickly. Thankfully the children could keep on their shoes. Once through we grabbed snacks for the plane and boarded!! The children had the opportunity to meet the pilot and see the cockpit and best of all, received wings!!  Then it was time to find our seats and wait eagerly for take off or, as our 3-1/2 year old said, “mommy, when are we going to blast off?”. Haha! it was the cutest. She went on to ask if we would go upside down first. It was adorable, all she knew about planes was from cartoons where they go upside down. She was disappointed that we were not going upside down but definitely enjoyed take off.

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It was amusing, at one point during the flight our littlest’s ears wouldn’t pop and she kept yelling, “I CAN’T HEAR MYSELF” and her sister was quick to say, “BUT WE CAN!!! STOP YELLING!!”. Haha! Flying with children is so much fun! They get excited about all of it, looking out the window, getting pretzels, the trays going up and down, the safety video, etc. it really reminds you to slow down and enjoy the little things which was precisely what I did on this vacation.

Once we arrived our Walt Disney World Vacation officially started! We got to use our Disney Bands for the first time to board the bus to the resort. Those things were like our second skin we used them for everything, food, to get into our room, to get on rides , etc. In fact I feel naked now without mine on. Haha!


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We arrived at The Riverside Port Orleans Resort late afternoon and immediately I was in awe over the scenery. It was gorgeous! I absolutely love the foliage and air moss found in that climate. And the little critters and creatures really amazed the children. We saw bunnies, frogs, snake, and lizards on way to our building/room, Alligator Bayou 28!


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Once we opened the door the first thing the children noticed was the Mickey Mouse head shaped towels on the bed and then they noticed the adorable shampoo and conditioner. That was the moment the excitement hit a new level. We arrived!!!


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After we looked around the room and got situated we headed down to the dinning area for dinner. Talk about overwhelming! It felt like everyone received directions except us. There were so many people!! People waiting in lines for food, walking with trays, rushing here and there, yet, there seemed to be a method to the madness and we were not clued in at all! After searching the dinning area for a table we finally found one after 10 minutes! The key is to watch for a family getting ready to leave and stand next to them until they leave then sit quickly to claim your space. You then have one parent go up and get food why the other stays and waits. That first meal was quit an ordeal and we were not too excited to do it all over again the next morning but we did eventually become pros at the dinning charades, besides, it was all worth it once we finally arrived at the Magic Kingdom!!! But boy were we in store for some adventures…storms, swimming with a snake, getting stuck on an adorable ride that quickly turned into an annoying ride, and more! To be continued…..


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Post Vacation Stress Disorder

While on vacation last week in Douglas, Michigan with my parents, siblings, grandfather, uncle, aunt, cousin, husband and children I experienced a profound state of peace…. peace that I can only compare to prayer.

In the morning I would get up and be greeted by my uncle, the early riser, and then head outside to sit in the red Adirondack chair to read a few chapters (currently reading, My Sisters The Saints by Colleen Carroll Campbell). And sometimes in the quite that was only filled by the occasional turning of pages deer would pass by…can you say breathtaking!?

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And each day was filled with an exciting excursion….one afternoon I went to Holland and tasted beer with my brother, perused the interior design stores with my mom, and stopped in at a candy store with my daughter.

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The next day we all went horseback riding….

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and finished off the day at the park where ALL of us acted like kids…..

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Then one night my hubby surprised me. He had my parents watch the kiddos while we went wine tasting, out to dinner, and perused the shops in South Haven, MI. Oh, and the sunsets, talk about romantic….here is a pic of us on the beach smooching during the sunset….

vacation 170The next adventure…canoeing!

vacation 150We row, row, rowed our boat till our little one fell asleep.  It was so peaceful on the water. And I enjoyed the opportunity to canoe with my hubby and then with my aunt.

vacation 050During our vacation I did not engage in any social media, in fact I left my computer at home. And my phone had horrible reception so talking on the phone was out of the question too. And I am glad it was…I think I needed a break from the inauthentic pull social media can prescribe at times. I thoroughly enjoyed time with my family and I am so grateful we had that time…none of us knows when our lifetime is up thus we must treasure the time we have together. Which is precisely what I did and that paired with the 3rd Coast (not west or east coast but the great lakes) or what they call around there, the Lake Effect I was in a state of peace that I can only compare to prayer.

Then it was over. That state of peace was quickly replaced with grief, I think I began grieving the vacation in addition to having to get the household back in order, back to school shopping, and celebrate our youngest turning 3. That first day back was extremely hard for me. Has anyone else ever experienced a sense of heartache at the end of their vacation?

Any tips for decompressing after vacation? Or suggestions on ways to transition the entire family back to reality?