Tips to Enjoy Your Resort Vacation

They  are the one stop shopping of family vacations - resorts. Drop you bags, grab your bathing suit/ski suit/golf clubs, go eat down the pathway, and don't worry about leaving the comfy confines of your destination until it's suddenly time to go home. We love resort vacations for their simplicity. Here's a few tips to make the most of your next stay.

- Make a Plan. On Day 1, consider all the options. When are the restaurants open, what time is the pool/tennis courts/golf course/spa available? Resorts often have a schedule of special activities - movie showings, cooking demonstrations, fish feedings, children's activities. Check them out and plan a tentative schedule of what you want to do. Yes, this seems like a lot of planning for your vacation, but it will save you from being disappointed that you missed the special on full-body massages or the kids missed the once-a-week scuba swim.  

 - Get out the Gate.  Reserve one day (at least) to leave the resort property and enjoy the actual culture you are visiting.  Truly, you could go to a resort and never walk outside the front door until you are ready to return home, but then you would miss out on the true culture of the city/country you are visiting.  Ask a cab driver/shuttle driver or a resort  staff person where's a good place to go for dinner or any special places they would recommend.  You might find a tasty native restaurant, a quaint shop, or a local museum. If you have a particular hobby, look for a shop that specializes in your passion (local yarn shop, for instance).   

- Reserve food.  Make dinner reservations a few nights during your stay. Just like you, most of the other guests do not plan on leaving the resort so you all are heading to the same restaurants at the same time.  If there's a restaurant or two at the resort which you definitely don't want to miss, make reservations. Do this before you even leave home for the best options.   

- Have a rain plan. Most likely, your vacation plan is not to stay indoors all day. Whether it's the beach, the lake, or mountain ski-ing, your ultimate plan is to get outdoors. And unless you get really lucky, at some point, you're going to get rain or ice or too much sun or something that's going to drive you inside. In that case, you and the family will need a plan so that you don't drive each other nuts.  Of course, there's TV, rented movies, and video games, but let's say you want something else. Go back to your review of whatever the resort offers and check out some of those indoor things - the arcade, the make-your-own-pizza spot. Hey, what about the spa?  

- Bring your own snacks. Okay, this is a note in probably every post I've written about going anywhere with kids, but moms you know what it's like when the kids get hungry and you've got to make it all the way down the hall to the vending machine, or worse yet, downstairs to the snack shop. The kids are going to die before you make it back and are going to howl and scream until then. Save yourself. Pack some cereal bars, candy, chips, whatever, however healthy or not you want to be. When you're lounging by the pool or sitting up late playing games, you don't want the fun to be ruined by a little hunger pain and you don't want to go broke, either.   

- Give everyone a choice. This is a family vacation, so make it fun for everyone.  You all probably don't have exactly the same likes and favorite things to do (if so, I'm impressed!) so give everyone a chance to pick an activity. You might give each family a member to choose one activity and all others follow along without complaint. Or perhaps, the family will divide up - all those who want to go to the beach gather up your towels, all those who want to go play golf, head to the course.   

 - Relax and enjoy. Now that you've got your loose plan for the week, dinner reservations, and snacks, kick back and relax. Grab your book and bury your feet in the sand, let the kids run wild, and enjoy the break from home. 


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