4 Essential Things I Am Not Planning for Our Family Vacation
My husband and I enjoy international travel because of the many amazing memories we make in the process. Whether it was getting our car stuck in the mud on the back roads of Costa Rica, hiking through rice paddies in Indonesia, or snorkeling outside of a bungalow in Tahiti, our love for travel is something special we would like to share with Chulengo.
In fact, we love to travel so much that we decorated Chulengo’s nursery with a travel theme. We put up large canvas prints using pictures we’ve taken all over the world. Every day we point to the pictures and have Chulengo recite the location. We want him to know there is a world outside of where we live.
Arranging our trips usually consisted of weeks of planning. We would find our flights, hotels, and excursions by scouring internet reviews and asking friends and family for recommendations. Because we were traveling to only one destination at a time–and just the two of us–it was usually pretty easy to plan despite it being time-consuming.
A couple of years ago, we were in the midst of planning an extended trip to South America with multiple stops: Buenos Aires, Patagonia, Torres del Paine, and Santiago. As we planned our trip using online resources we got more and more overwhelmed. Our usual routine of searching online travel sites was getting too complicated. Not knowing the area or local language at all, how were we going to transfer safely from place to place? How were the hotels? Traveling to so many cities, how would we know which sights to see or excursions to join?
As our frustration increased, we remembered a good friend who planned a very complex trip using a travel agency. We contacted that friend who let us know she used Audley Travel to plan her trip and raved about the ease, safety, and fun she had because of their attention to detail. So we called Audley Travel and connected with a South American Specialist who amazingly had personally traveled to each area in South America we wanted to visit. She asked us what we liked to do, see, and spend during a typical vacation. Within a few days of our initial conversation, she drafted a two-week, activity-packed itinerary for us. It was incredibly detailed and included top-notch accommodations, private tours, flights from one major city to the next, as well as transfers to excursions.
Our trip was nothing short of amazing, and both my husband and I are absolutely convinced it was because of the expertise and detail of Audley Travel, including:
- Working with a specialist who had an extensive history traveling to the destination we chose. That same specialist worked with us from the very first conversation about the trip to the end of our journey
- Having access to someone in the US via phone 24/7 if something came up
- Tailoring our vacation to 100% of our needs
- Choosing our budget
- Not having to deal with the stress of planning a major international vacation
Now, we have an upcoming trip to Italy this Fall. With this being our first international trip with Chulengo, we decided the only way to make the most of the trip was to plan with Audley Travel again. Having never traveled to Italy, we were nervous to plan out the logistics on our own. Would we know how to get from Point A to Point B with Chulengo, safely? What if Chulengo’s car seat won’t fit in a cab? What if our flight’s delayed? What if we miss a connection? In what kind of hotel should we stay? What toddler-friendly activities should we check off our list?
Thankfully, our Audley Travel Specialist, Laura, has prepared such a unique and complete trip for us, taking into account the logistic details that come with traveling with a baby. Because of Audley Travel, there are four specific things that I do not have to worry about planning.
Laura, was able to find flights that are efficient, with a reputable airline, and taking off at a time when Chulengo hopefully will be napping or sleeping (fingers crossed). Should something come up and our flight is delayed or changed, she will be there to help us ASAP.
Audley has planned all of the transfers during our trip. They will pick us up and drop us off each time we need to go somewhere on our itinerary: to and from the airport, to and from the train station, or out for an excursion. Because of this, we don’t have to worry about lugging Chulengo’s car seat around during day trips. Hallelujah! We also don’t have to worry about directions or addresses because our driver will know our itinerary.
There are thousands of housing options in Italy. Laura has been able to reserve accommodations for us that allow space with Chulengo. She has stayed in each of the hotels she chose for us and knows firsthand that these are family friendly hotels. Our accommodations are also centrally located in each city we visit. Therefore, we have the option to walk out the front door to nearby restaurants and attractions.
Laura has been able to recommend and plan excursions that we can comfortably do with Chulengo. Each activity allows time for us to move at our own pace, in case we get caught up with “toddler duties”: napping, diaper changes, really long drawn out meal times, and space for Chulengo to run around to burn off energy.
As you can see, planning this trip to Italy has been much more laid back than I was initially expecting. We have an itinerary that is beyond our wildest dreams, yet we didn’t have to stress over the significant details of planning. I look forward to sharing our experience with you as we tour Italy this Fall.
If you are looking to plan an extensive trip with your family, I recommend checking with Audley Travel to see what they can do for you.
46 thoughts on “4 Essential Things I Am Not Planning for Our Family Vacation”
This is a great testament for reasons to use a travel agent. I know I would much prefer to not have to worry about doing all the planning myself. A vacation should not be stressful.
I agree, Lora. I want to relax as much as possible.
Sounds like Laura knows her stuff! Sometimes it’s just easier to let someone else help plan a big trip like this!
She really did a fantastic job, Sydney.
I love to use a travel professional when I am not sure of the area I am traveling to! Have an amazing trup!!
I agree…makes it much easier, Holly.
So nice to have someone else do the legwork. I love the photos in your son’s room. What a great idea!
I agree, Lucinda. Thank you for the compliment on his room.
This looks so fun!
Thank you, Emily it was!
Sometimes it is nice to just let someone else plan for you especially when the area is not familiar!
I agree, Lisa.
Awesome! Sounds great. I will have to check them out!!
Thank you, Lee Anne.
Thank you for the tip! I like planning my own trips AND I enjoy letting others plan them…its great both ways!
I agree, Cindy.
What a cool idea for a nursery theme! It sounds like you have already done a lot of traveling! It is such a good idea to use a travel agent, especially when you travel to new places.
Thank you, Noelle.
This route sounds wonderful, especially after planning our trip to 9 counties in Europe last year. I can’t imagine how much time this would’ve saved! Enjoy Italy!!
Wow, that must have been such a rewarding trip to take, Debbie.
I love your viewpoints on travel and how to make the most of it. Great ideas throughout this post. Thank you.
You’re welcome, Candy.
That sounds like a simple way to plan for a destination
Yes, it made things easy when life was a bit chaotic.
Everything sounds so amazing and stress free.
It really was, Lisa.
While I like to plan most of my vacations, sometimes, it is better to work with an expert! Then I scour the Internet to make sure I am getting the best deal!
I do the same thing, Judean, haha!
You’ve definitely seen some amazing places!
Yes, we have been so lucky!
Yes, it is so nice to have someone plan all the details for you. I enjoy planning our trips, but every once and a while it is nice to have someone handled it for me.
I agree. Sometimes I like planning other times I am happy to have someone else do it.
How great to have such an amazing resource!
Yes, I agree
Now that’s my kind of nursery. What a lucky kid! Travel this way sounds wonderful. It enables you to relax and enjoy your trip without all the headaches, especially the transfers. It sounds like a truly amazing trip.
Yes, I totally agree, Ramae.
What a great way to do vacationing. I maybe too much of a control freak to make it work for me.
Haha, I thought I was too. but it felt good to let go of it all.
love it! I always thought being a travel agent would be a riot.
It definitely would be, Jen.
I am glad you found a solution and it seems like you found great helpers!
Thank you, Beatriz.
For me, it would depend upon the trip. We used a travel agent for our cruise and it was wonderful to not have to worry about certain things, but we did have to worry about others. Being a food allergy family, there is still always going to be a level of planning that has to be done. I love that you guys were able to kick back, relax and enjoy 110%!!!
I never thought about planning for those with food allergies! Thank you for bringing that to light.
It is always nice to have someone there to turn to and who can take the stress out of vacationing.