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Prepared. ‘Cause That’s Just Who I Am.

September 24, 2010

I am not the mother or wife that you’d want if you needed to make sure something was ironed.

I’m not who you’d want if you needed to find your social security card.

If you need help with anything having to do with math, not your girl.

I am, however, exactly the mom you’d want to go on vacation with.

People, that is my time to shine.  We all have gifts and mine just happens to be leisure.  I am a pro at making a trip a good time.

If I’m going to admit to all my failings, I’m going to be just as willing to give myself an atta-boy over my strengths.

And I am a GREAT vacationer!

I may not know where my kid’s vaccination records are, but I will make sure there’s an appropriate playlist on the ipod for a road trip.

I spent the day yesterday making preparations for our trip to Walt Disney World.  The count down is on and we’re starting to get close.  I cannot wait!

If you’ve been to Disney, you know that in a lot of ways, you have to suspend reality.

It’s a different world in and of itself.  One way that it differs is the currency.  It varies a great deal from the regular world.   The exchange rate isn’t good.  The dollar doesn’t  hold up well against the Disney Dollar.

So, in order to stretch our vacation dollar, I use a few tricks.

First of all, I really like dressing the fellows up in Disney tee shirts when they’re there.   They look cute and it makes it feel like an event.  But, in the parks and around the resorts, they are pretty expensive.  So, I made a trip to the Disney store yesterday and bought a few shirts for a fraction of the price of buying them at WDW.  Since we’re staying in a Disney Vacation Club resort, we’ll have a washer and dryer, so we should be able to make do with just a few shirts.  And that’ll help with packing and help with the laundry overload that I’d have otherwise when we returned.

The second thing I do to save money is to buy trading pins from ebay before we go.  My kids love trading and collecting those pins.  And they aren’t cheap in the parks.  So, in order for them to have some to trade, I order a mixed lot on ebay.  I end up spending about $1 a pin, rather than $7 or more in the parks.  They’re great to have around for stocking stuffers, birthday gifts, and rewards for good behavior.

In the evenings, before the parades, the lights go down and the vendors start selling lots of light up toys. They’re eye-catching, pretty and fun.The kids are always mesmerized.  We’ve bought our share over the years.  So, this week, I’m rounding them up and replacing batteries.  They’ll go in the backpack so that I can pull them out when they start asking for them.

Another thing I do to save money and head off the evening begging  is visit to the Dollar Tree before we leave to purchase glow sticks.  You know,  those packs of glow necklaces and bracelets.  I think 5 were in a pack for a $1 when I bought them the other day.  They’ll go in the backpack too and will hopefully head off buying $50 worth of light up toys.  One year, it kept the kids busy while waiting for an evening parade.  I had them decorate the stroller with them.  Having something creative to do made the wait a lot more bearable.

Today, I’m working on travel bags and binders for the 10 hour drive.  I’m sure I’ll share soon!

I hope I’ll be able to make the ride not only painless, but perhaps fun.  We’ll leave when they get out of school and drive as far as we can and then make the rest of the trip in the morning.  But, ten hours is a lot of time to build the excitement, so I’m working on it.

If you’ve got any ideas, I’d love to hear them. What are your road trip secrets? Spill it! We’re leaving in less than two weeks!

19 Comments leave one →
  1. September 24, 2010 9:14 am

    You are a vacationing genius!! And I’m coming with you.

  2. September 24, 2010 9:23 am

    Hey – if you have to rock at something, vacationing is the way to go. I should have brought you along on our disaster of a trip two weeks ago.

    The best thing I did for our 13 hour trip was have the boys earn their souvenir money, and then at the start of the drive I gave them each their money and told them that every time they fought, got rowdy, irritated each other or ticked me off, I’d make them pay me a dollar.

    It was a very, very pleasant drive.

  3. September 24, 2010 9:43 am

    OOh, these are great ideas! Love the idea of getting these things beforehand. We get those glow sticks at the dollar store too and they’re fantastic!

    What are trading pins?

    Have a wonderful trip…can I come? 😉

  4. Kay Horton permalink
    September 24, 2010 9:53 am

    My favorite thing on our long trip was my Nintendo DS! I also find when I visit the FabFour, they all want to use my games. They love Slingo and Midnight Madness’s bowling and pool games. The girls love Casual Mania’s beauty shop game (guys would not like that one). Also, when we traveled with the kids, we played the game where you look at license plates to see how many states’ license plates we could find on the road. There was a game of counting cows on your side of the road and losing them if the other person saw a graveyard on your side of the road. I don’t think there are that many cows or graveyards off the interstate, though…. Another was pretending that the cars coming at us were ours (counting them off in order of child). We’d oooh and ahhhh over the great ones and laugh and groan over the awful ones. Keep a snack bag and when the natives get restless, allow them to plow through the snack bag for a treat and get the bag back quickly to keep for the next restless time.

  5. September 24, 2010 11:15 am

    Next time we plan a road trip, I am flying you out here. Seriously, those are great ideas! I laughed when you said the exchange rate isn’t good against the Disney Dollar…how right you are!!

    Even just knowing you from your blogging, I would have said that you rock as a Vacationing Mom. Reading your posts over the summer, as you channeled your inner gypsy, was wonderful.

    I always think the planning and anticipation leading up to the trip is fun, too! Enjoy your fun, can’t wait to hear all about it!

  6. September 24, 2010 1:12 pm

    WOW! You sound like you are totally prepared. We did a road trip to DC this summer and aside from the most important thing that you mentioned, which is the music, I think you’ve got it all. My daughter took a composition book to so she could keep a journal of the trip and we stopped in each state to get a post card that she was excited about putting in. The other thing I did was buy 2 cases of water, one for the way there and one for the way home. Water bottles on the road are expensive. Enjoy your trip, can’t wait to hear all about it.

  7. September 24, 2010 3:36 pm

    LL, when I read “people, this is my time to shine,” I laughed. HARD.

    you would be the absolute most perfect person to road trip with! and i really hope you still want to come to blissdom!

  8. September 25, 2010 9:54 am

    Jeez, dude. You’re seriously a genius. Be careful, though – with all that frugality, you’re totally undermining the spirit of Disney. You’re going to get to the park entrance and they’re going to pull you aside and calmly explain that if you don’t BUY THE GLOW STICKS IN THE PARK, you’re banished. Forever.

    Anyway, I don’t have any good advice to give, but if you see a Notre Dame hoodie with a chocolate stain on the sleeve lying around anywhere, could you grab it? I lost mine there 14 years ago.


  9. September 25, 2010 2:02 pm

    You do sound like a great vacationer…can I go with you? And do you mind paying for us and organizing stuff for my kids, too? hahaha…seriously, those are awesome ideas. We plan on going to Disneyland some time this next year, so I’m going to keep some of those ideas in my back pocket.

  10. September 26, 2010 6:54 pm

    you guys will have SO much fun!

  11. September 27, 2010 5:25 pm

    I am so proud of you!! Whoever said you aren’t organized!! C’mon!! Your organization kicks into gear for the “important” things!! Vaccination records?? Who needs em’? Glow sticks?? MUST HAVE!!

    Love ya, my friend!

  12. September 27, 2010 10:21 pm

    Vacationing is NOT my strong point. You only want me around if you want a super stressed-out mama. My husband likes to tell people that it takes me two days to relax once we hit the road. It’s true. And the week leading up to it isn’t pretty either. I love all your ideas though. I may have to steal them in the future. We’ve done Disneyland a lot, but never Disney World. I bet it’s a blast!

  13. September 28, 2010 10:17 pm

    AWESOME tips, thank you! I also hit up Disney store…WAY less expensive than at the resort. I will tell you that the glow sticks/necklaces I have found at Target in the dollar section. They might be there now as Halloween is coming up. I love the idea of replacing the batteries and bringing the light up toys. Will use that one!
    Emma and I actually head to CA this weekend for her eye doctor appointment in L.A. We will be at Disneyland for 2 days. I can’t wait! I hope you guys have FUN! I can’t wait to see your pictures!

  14. September 29, 2010 2:40 pm

    How clever are you? I wouldn’t have thought of half of those things. How fun that you get to go to Disney World. That is one of the places I have always wanted to go. I haven’t really had much of a chance to travel since I’ve had kids, but I am going to remember some of these for when I do!

  15. September 29, 2010 11:34 pm

    I’ve got a GREAT vacation idea actually! You should totally bring me! You know you wanna!

    Sounds like such a blast!

  16. October 20, 2010 9:44 am

    Of all the things to have talent with, I think leisure sounds like the best. Well done.

  17. October 23, 2010 5:02 pm

    I just realized I hadn’t seen anything new from you in a while, and sure enough it’s been a month since you’ve posted… I hope all is well lady!

  18. November 1, 2010 11:09 pm

    Where you at, friend??!!!! Miss you!

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