The Travel Mom, Emily Kaufman

March 1, 2011 10:06:05 AM PST
After a couple years of 'staycations,' many people are starting to travel again. Emily Kaufman, 'The Travel Mom,' has tips and pointers for keeping the trip budget friendly.

The economy has been challenging over the past few years so taking a vacation has not been in the budget for most people. 2011 is in the forecast to see a nice rebound in travel, and people are eager to hit the road again. Since so many people have chosen "staycations" the past few years, the process of planning a true vacation is a bit overwhelming. The Travel Mom has tips and pointers for making over your vacation.

1. Define the vacation experience that matches your personality.
Just like everyone has a unique flavor and personality, so does each vacation experience. Do you love to shop till you drop? Are you looking for outdoor adventure? Does the idea of visiting museums excite you or do you prefer sitting quietly on a beach? Many years ago a family I know was excited about taking their family vacation. The mother, father, and two daughters had been shopping for weeks so that they would have plenty of books to devour as they sat quietly by a lake.

While this works for some families, my kids would have wondered what they did wrong and why they were being punished if this is a vacation experience that I created for them. So important to match your vacation with your individual personality.

2. Learning something new can be an awesome vacation for any age.
When someone says "educational vacation" most people think of a school field trip. Just because you are not in elementary school any more doesn't mean that learning can't take place. Consider swimming with marine life, participating in a culinary workshop, immersing yourself in a living history community or visiting places where actual events took place. My now 20 year old son is far from spiritual, yet when we took a trip to Israel he was so excited to be "walking on history".

When my kids were much younger we sailed on a cruise in Alaska with a naturalist that explained wildlife to the passengers - while the kids didn't "get it" at the time, they bring up this trip all the time now.

3. Check out the websites for visitor and convention centers to find the most comprehensive, unbiased look at deals, packages and special events.
Most every place you are going to visit has a government run agency that promotes tourism. These sites tend to showcase an entire destination with hotels that run from budget to luxurious and everything in between. They list dining offers, sell tickets to attractions, post calendars of special events and offer an insight into planning a visit no matter what type of experience you are looking for.

4. Makeover your old vacation! My husband is a true creature of habit. He is a very anxious traveler and chooses to go to the same place over and over and over. Just like there are home makeovers and beauty makeovers, why not consider a vacation makeover? Deals are abundant with loads of added value across the board and the time is right to try something different. I even teamed up with Orlando to give away my services for vacation makeovers for free trips to Orlando. (Orlando is sponsoring these trips)