How NOT to Visit Boston with Family

Boston rocks.  There is so much to see and do, it should be fun & exciting…if you have planned your visit.

I have to chalk this trip up to “How NOT to visit BOSTON”.  A wonderful opportunity to experience lack of planning in action.  A solid list of Don’t’s.  The CARDINAL SINS OF TRAVELING…all in ONE trip!

DON’T:

  • Pack for the entire family the night before without checking the weather  (this paved the way for the other disasters)
  • Check to see if lodging is comfortable (and quiet…but HOW do you check that??)
  • Have a lodging back up plan in place
  • Study the subway lines to know where to go
  • Make a list of the “Don’t Miss These” places, and make them a priority
  • Have sanity, confidence, & rational thinking

This trip was a great example of how lack of planning can create “I wish we were home” type statements…which for me is like a traveling death sentence.

Why was this trip was not our favorite?  Partly because of the cold April weather and mostly because this was the least prepared I have ever been for travel in my life.

I was off my game.

It may have been because of last year’s bombing at the Boston Marathon, or maybe the unexpected cold weather in Spring…I’m not sure, but I was in SLOW MOTION!    It was weird.

First of all, I rolled the dice to save money with lodging, using Airbnb.com for the first time, and choosing a small condo outside of Boston Proper, in Jamaica Plain. I booked months ahead of time.   The condo was charming and a great choice to save money by taking the “T” (subway) into town instead of dealing with pricey parking and LOTS of traffic.  All that was true and money saving.

But…it was loud for our family.  It was ON a main street with traffic noise 24/7,  we didn’t sleep much.  By the 2nd day (out of 8 nights), it was like pulling teeth just to get out of bed…much less go walking for 15+ miles each day in the freezing cold to see Boston.  At 2 AM I was surfing the net to find a different place to stay…but everything was $500+ per night because of the Boston Marathon.  Lesson Learned.

Add 35-45 degree weather with freezing winds…and our family dressed for 65 degree weather (MY FAULT-I KNOOWW) then looking for/at those brass signs “of historical importance” becomes not so important.

Hot chocolate, warm feet and pasta become important.

DSCN1107So, we got to see many Italian restaurants in North End, which we could find, instead of the site of the Boston Tea Party or the Tour of Fenway Park.  We DID get to Fenway park, where we bought $35/each hats because of freezing weather for which we were under-dressed, (And a whopping $150 off budget with one purchase). But, we didn’t get to go on the tour because it was sold out.  This describes our typical luck of this trip:

  • Get up tired from nooo sleep, dreaming of getting hit by the numerous busses that pass by each hour
  • Dress the kids with pants on pants, shirts on shirts, while they grumble, tired & hungry
  • Eat out because our “budget condo” has a vegetarian kitchen…
  • Walk to the “T”, trying to find Fenway Park
  • Get lost.  Ask for directions, get lost. Walk all the way around Fenway Park to find the “tour gate”, which, btw, was RIGHT next to the “T” doors.
  • Miss our chance to go on the Fenway Park tour because of for said “Walk AROUND the OUTSIDE of Fenway Park”
  • Take the wrong “T” train, get lost, ask for directions, realize the directions are wrong
  • Have Pasta, Thank Goodness we could find THAT!
  • Get home, exhausted, to another night of no sleep.  “Yay.” whispers my daughter…

    Boston Subway... Jake dropped his new hat... it was gone in a flash. :(

    Boston Subway… Jake dropped his new hat… it was gone in a flash. 😦

For the Fenway Park Tours, fyi, noon is a popular time, so try for 11 or 1:00.  They leave on the hour, so plan for that.

Just to keep the positive of Boston positive, I separated what worked during our trip to a different post in this post 3 Days in Boston with Family.

If you have any questions about this trip, let me know.  🙂

Family Trip Planning For Christmas

We are brainstorming about where, which days & what to do for our Christmas Vacation.

Disneyland Christmas

Disneyland Christmas

As the kids get older, we can’t take them out of school as easily as when they were younger.  So, as many other families have to do…we go during Christmas Break.  We could stay home and really relax from all the after school run-around.  But, I like to get out of town because when I stay home, I continue to massage, move around the house,  and cleaning, organizing, etc.  It’s never really “relaxing” for me.  That’s more for the summer vacation: PJ’s for weeks at a time!!

What is our budget? Do we want to stay home for the Christmas Day or leave the day after?

Where should we go? There are so many great options:

  • To see family?
  • To relax and sleep for days?
  • A warm beach?
  • A White Christmas?
  • Golf?
  • History?
  • Disney?
  • Music?

The way I see it, there are only so many vacation opportunities before the kids are on their own.  Out of the 2 vacations per year, I only have 12 left with my daughter (or so).  There are the big places to see: New York City, Boston, Alaska, Washington D.C., Yosemite, The Redwoods, etc, etc.

I could name at least 50 places.  So, how do we choose 12?  DSC_0386

Any ideas out there?

Is there a bucket list for Family Vacations?

American History is fun to see in places like Pennsylvania, Boston & Virginia.  But so would the National Forests, or the great rivers, the Great Lakes, etc, etc.

As a kid, we only traveled to where our extended family lived.  We had the opportunity to see things IN BETWEEN us and family while driving.  And the driving was awful.  Remember the no-air conditioning, no radio signal, no car-seats type travel with a gas station every now and then?

Now there are so many fancy travel helpers like DVDs, iPods, travel games, stores every 30 miles or less, etc.  It’s much easier to go places in a car.  Many hotels have a pool.  Even small pools make it great for the kids to unwind and burn off some energy.  Then we go to the room and order a movie in the room!! So easy!

This year, we are going for a “dual-purpose vacation” involving family, Disneyland, ocean & history!

We will drive to save money, but that takes 2 days out of our vacation, which sometimes is worth the price of the plane tickets.

Instead, we added 2 days to our time, which was a huge relief.  That is one of the advantages of owning our own businesses: we can leave when we want.  In the massage business, the days we miss just means less income for those days.

I usually make an excel spreadsheet of dates, hotel info, prices, activity & prices.

Here’s our Itinerary:

Dec 26   Leave early, drive to Palm Springs, see family

  • Dec 27   Del Mar Beach Motel 2 nights

    Dec 28   Day at the Beach, Drive to Anaheim, check in to Park Vue Inn

    Dec 29   Disneyland

    Dec 30   Disneyland

    Dec 31   Disneyland

    Jan 1      Hollywood

    Jan 2      Hollywood

    Jan 3      Drive Home