08 May 2015

2015 Vacation Planning

My family and I are planning a beach vacation this summer to Panama City Beach, Florida.  Vacation planning is so much different than when we'd plan "back-in-the-day."

Cute sign seen at Hobby Lobby

 My husband was the planner, and he'd call up the Chamber of Commerce and the Visitors Center for any state and city we'd be going through and then our mailbox would be flooded with literature.  We'd sit down and categorically go through each section on hotels, restaurants, things to do, attractions and historical sites.  We'd make a list, then Bob would call or write to each asking for more literature. Bob would make a trip to the local bookstore to get a travel guide on the area where we were visiting.  He would systematically put together a notebook of our day-to-day travel, food and activity, almost down to the hour.  There would be back up plans for rain or if an attraction was closed, or the restaurant didn't look as good in person as it did in the literature.

Do you remember AAA and trip tiks?  They were like gold to us.  We never went anywhere without consulting them first, for highway construction, issues, faster routes, etc.  Bob always went one week out from our trips to get the trip tik ordered and we'd pick it up on our way out of town.  It was always fun to see the inserts in the trip tik! 

My job was to organize Ashley's clothes, which we'd lay out on the bed for each day, then pack her bag.  We'd lay out her clothes for the travel day the night before, pack her car bag with gifts to be opened on the hour, with cassette tapes of her music and jam box ready to go. I also planned our car food, drinks, snacks, quick meals if needed.  We always had to have Pringles, licorice ropes and Junior Mints, Diet A & W rootbeer, and Sprite.

Car games were essential.  We'd play Railroad, where the last letter of the word said first became the first letter of your word.  We played Car license, which is where we'd look for licenses from every state.  The ABC sign game where we had to find a word on a billboard that had the letters of the alphabet in order. 

Bob always saved his change from spending thoughout the year and put it in a jar in our bedroom.  A week before the trip, Ashley and Bob would go to the bank, cash in the coins and that would be Ashley's trip money. She was always thrilled to see how much she was going to get to spend on souvenirs!

All this meant there were hours of conversation trying to organize our best trip ever!

Today: Pinterest.  In fact, you can see my pin board on Panama City each here:  Panama City Beach Vacation Planning.  As far as hotels are concerned, we used AirBnB this year for the first time to find accomodations on the beach.  We'll let you know how that turned out after we get back!  We rarely ask for literature anymore, and most often our restaurant choices are found on an app on our phone.  We do look up some in advance, because we will make reservations if we need to do so, although with the app Open Table we can look to see if there are tables available and when.  We often fly now, instead of driving, and our Southwest Airlines app helps us find the best prices and times.  We get notifications when the price reaches our desired price point, so we don't have to check it all the time.

Vacation planning used to be a family affair, drawing each of us into conversation and planning together.  While I love being able to get information so quickly, I do miss the family time surrounding the planning.  However, the outcome is generally the same, a grand time spent with family visiting places we don't have at home, creating lifelong memories that will sustain us when we are no longer able to travel.

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