3 “Must Do” Things When Planning an Extended Family Trip

So, you've made your family bucket list and gotten over the fears/anxieties of taking an extended vacation.  But what do you do first?

Our family has been in this stage for quite some time, preparing for what may be the ultimate homeschool family field trip to Costa Rica.  I hope to save you and your family a little time when trying to figure out which steps to do when and how.

#1: PURGE!

The first thing we started to do when planning for the trip was to get rid of lots of stuff.  We had yard sale after yard sale selling anything we knew we didn't need and couldn't travel with us.  In the beginning, it was fairly easy.  We got rid of lots of the children's toys that they never played with, extra kitchen items (ie. anything we had double or triple of including baking pans, pots, bowls, etc.), and books.  It almost feels like heresy to be a homeschool mom and talk about selling books, but with the literary world going more digital, it only makes sense. 

#2 Choose a Destination.

After we started purging, we then began to figure out where in the world we wanted to go, literally!  We'd long wanted to go to Europe and experience the diverse cultures there, but decided that a trip closer to home (just in case we discovered that long term travel just isn't for us at this point in life) made more sense.  So, we started looking at Central America. 

Choosing which country to go to was a logical choice.  Since my mom and her family are all from Costa Rica, it only made sense to go to the paradise I remember visiting many times as a child.  I look forward to sharing some of those memories with my husband and children.  We do have some family still in Costa Rica, so it will be nice to meet many of them for the first time.

#3: Get the Gear.

Lastly, what kind of mom would I be without a list of things we need to get before we leave?  We actually made a few purchases in preparation for the trip including a Barnes & Noble Nook Color.  It's an e-reader that got very high reviews from cNet and since it is capable of turning into an Android tablet, it was a logical choice.  It can hold a bunch of books we will use for schooling and with the Android software on it, we can add educational apps.  School made easy, right?

And we can't forget the family backpacks!  It was like Christmas morning when our girls' backpacks arrived.  All L.L. Bean back packs.  We got 2 new ones off eBay for the youngest girls and 2 for the older girls off the company site…on clearance. :o)  I opted to get the L. L. Bean Turbo Transit in a funky plaid, because it was on sale, and I love it!  It has lots of compartments so I can divide my shoes from my jammies. :)

We opted not to get the rolling packs since we're not doing much flying, but may switch to rolling ones when we make a trek to Europe and have to go through tons of airports.  My husband got the Mother Lode back pack from eBags.  It was NOT on sale, but I let him get it anyway.  It has lots of cool sections and it is big!  And the Little Prince?  He has a Buzz Lightyear backpack he's pretty attached to and since he can't really carry his own stuff yet, we're going to use it as his diaper/snack bag and for anything else he needs on the flight.

This is just a short list of how we've been preparing for extended family travel.  Each family will be different, but probably the most common thread will be getting rid of stuff.  It gets harder as you start to face tough decisions about things that have real sentimental value, but I'll talk about that in another post.

Did you notice something that I missed?  Is there a piece of travel gear you couldn't live without?  Share your wisdom in the comments below!

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2 Responses to “3 “Must Do” Things When Planning an Extended Family Trip”

  1. Amy C. Says:

    Susan,  I've enjoyed going through your posts & getting caught up a tad.  I'll do some more reading later to find out all the ins & outs of this trip.  Is it for missions purposes, or is it more of an extended family visit?  My aunt & uncle, as well as a college friend & her family, all went through language school in CR before moving on to missions work in Nicaragua & Ecuador.  Wondering if that lies ahead for your family as well…  Be blessed!!

  2. Mom Says:

    Hey Amy! Not here on missions (well, not formally anyway), just spending some time here to immerse the children in a different culture and language. Going to be a big time for growth here!

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