Have you made summer travel plans? Do you plan ahead or wait until the last minute? Which is most important – budget, timing or destination? Have you had any travel fails? Learn what our fans had to say during our Twitter chat with TravelingMom and Allianz travel insurance
Disclosure: Allianz Global Assistance (AGA Service Company) sponsored this post, and I have received financial compensation.
During our #TMOM Twitter chat, TravelingMoms and fans shared tips and tricks for planning, packing, and saving money on vacation. We also revealed our biggest travel fails and talked about the importance of protecting our vacation investment with travel insurance, such as the plans offered by our sponsor Allianz.
Our Biggest Travel Fails
You never know when a travel fail will strike. We asked our fans to share their travel fails, and there were some doozies.
Bad Weather on Vacation
Our TravelingMoms and fans have experienced every severe weather scenario imaginable including tornadoes and hurricanes. TravelingMom Rebecca “I don’t drive in snow” Darling once drove seven hours on icy roads during a blizzard. There was no snow on a ski trip and cold weather at the beach. But the most common travel fail was vacation plans ruined by rain.
Getting Sick on Vacation
Darn those tummy bugs! Whether it was food poisoning or the flu, stomach ailments were the number one sickness to ruin our vacations. Special Needs TravelingMom Kathy Penney has canceled a trip due to illness. She now purchases travel insurance to protect her large vacation investments, such as traveling to Europe with her kids.
Injuries Before or During Vacation
From experience, I can say that my most stressful travel fail was dealing with an injury. My dad fell at Disney World and had to have surgery before flying home. Fortunately, travel insurance covered the cost to rebook his airline ticket. Our fans have sprained ankles before and during a trip, and have had to get stitches. After returning home, many found that the medical expenses wouldn’t be covered by their health insurance.
Transportation Issues on Vacation
Can you guess the top two travel fails? Yep! Missed or delayed flights and lost luggage. TravelingMom Tania Lamb learned the hard way that airline notifications for delayed flights are useless. Due to a three hour delay, she changed her airport arrival plans. Then the plane left at the scheduled time. One fan even got caught in an air traffic control strike in another country.
Accommodation Problems on Vacation
You made it to your destination, you are ready for the fun to start, but you arrive at your hotel only to find Norman Bates at the front desk. Broken windows, no air conditioning, bedbugs and bad smells have ruined our vacations. I’m not even going to mention some of the other gross things people have found when checking into their room.
Travel Fails That Are Our Fault
TravelingMom Meagan Wristen once booked a youth hostel for her herself and three young kids. The other youthful guests stayed up all night partying. TravelingMom Rebecca Darling has a bad habit of booking flights into the wrong airports (HINT: That is probably why those airline tickets were so much cheaper.) She has even booked her hotel and flights on different weeks.
TravelingMom Kristi Mehes once gave her dog sitter the wrong key and had to have a locksmith rekey the house. But the funniest fails were the TWO fans who went on water-related vacations and forgot to pack swimsuits for their family.
Make a Rain Plan or Go With the Flow?
Do you plan in case the weather or something else changes your vacation plans? Our TravelingMoms and fans are evenly split between preparing alternative plans and just going with the flow. TravelingMom Rebecca Darling believes experiencing the unexpected makes her and her family better travelers.
Travelers that always have a Plan B offered the following suggestions.
- Pack an umbrella and rain ponchos
- Bring a full change of clothes including underwear and socks
- Bring a full battery charger
- Pick destinations with equal indoor and outdoor opportunities
- Pack a first aid kit
- Plan extra time to travel
- Carry snacks and extra money
- Bring a deck of cards or other games
Summer Travel Plan Priorities
We asked our fans what was most important when making summer travel plans – budget, timing, or destination. Budget and destination tied as our priorities and often go hand in hand. We don’t travel to a destination just because it is inexpensive, but we also won’t blow our budget to visit a spot on our bucket list. Timing was the highest priority for families with limited vacation time.
Planning Summer Vacations
When planning summer travel, TravelingMoms and their fans are on the extremes. We either plan our trip a year or more in advance or make last minute plans less than a month before the trip. Only a handful of people plans their trip in the 2-11 month range. A few families are planning trips out of the country, but most will be staying in the United States this summer. We have trips planned from coast to coast and north to south. The most popular vacation plans are for beaches like Myrtle Beach, Virginia Beach, and the Georgia Coast. And of course, several families plan to visit Disney World or Disneyland.
Tips for Saving Money on Vacation
Everyone wants to save money on vacation, and our Twitter chat with Allianz was filled with suggestions. For the best deals, either plan way in advance, get a last minute deal, or travel during off season.
Meals are a big part of a vacation budget. Save money by bringing your own bottled water, breakfast foods, and snacks. Look for hotels that include breakfast or have a kitchen in the room.
Save money on travel by using miles or points to book airline tickets, or road trip instead of flying. Explore outdoor attractions like walking tours and look at our list of Free Fun Things to Do in the 50 States.
Summer Packing Tips
The #1 summer packing tip is USE ZIPLOC BAGS! Our TravelingMoms and fans love packing with Ziplocs. They use them to organize and pack their kids’ clothes and anything that leaks. They pack extras Ziplocs for wet clothing, snacks, seashells, souvenirs, and just about anything you can imagine.
More packing tips:
- Use a packing list
- Keep important documents with you and bring an emergency contact list
- Roll your clothes and they will take up less space in your bags
- Pack your forgettable items and underwear first
- Save room and don’t pack pajamas sleep in that day’s shirt and undies
- Mix your family’s clothes between bags so if one bag gets lost everyone will still have clothes