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Oregon Family Magazine

Plan to Be Spontaneous This Summer

06/18/2011 ● By Anonymous
For many families, summer is the time to hit the open road and see the country. However, there is a lot of pressure for parents to take their children everywhere, see everything and keep a tight schedule, according to “Family Adventure Mom,” Deborah Geigis Berry.

“The one thing many of us do wrong is over plan — I used to be guilty of that as well,” Berry says. “I remember once I tried to take my family hiking, out to eat and whale watching in just four hours. It was crazy.”

Since great summer memories can be among the most important moments for your family, it is crucial to make sure you are ready to enjoy them when they happen.

“When traveling with kids, spontaneous moments will lead to the best summer memories,” Berry says. “But believe it or not, you have to prepare to be spontaneous.”

Berry shares travel tips that can help make great summer memories on your next family vacation:

— Bring a VIP

Be prepared to enjoy any type of adventure with a VIP, or “Very Important Pack.” Berry’s VIP includes a wide-brimmed waterproof hat, beach ball, card games, map, photo album of family members if headed to a family reunion, and some pre-addressed labels and stamps.

— Ban Bugs

Ensure your family and your precious summer moments are protected from mosquitoes and other biting insects. Whether you’re headed out for a weekend camping trip or taking the kids hiking, there’s an OFF! insect repellent available to make sure you can enjoy your outdoor moments.

— Plan for Change

It’s important to remember that an itinerary should be used as a guide, not a directive. Know going into the trip you likely won’t be able to do everything. Focus on one highlight per family member to guarantee there’s something for everyone.

— Consider Missing the “Must-See”

Costly adventures don’t necessarily equal happiness. Children often enjoy a day at a little known bike path as much as a crowded, overpriced “must-see” attraction.

— Limit “Plug-In” Time

Limit the “plug-in” time for the children when watching movies and playing electronic games in the car. When time is up, engage them in family conversations, have them write a letter to a grandparent or keep a journal of the trip.

Berry has one last bit of advice for travelers as they hit the road: “If you set your family trip up for spontaneity by bringing the right items along, even a simple road trip will be a blast,” she says. “And remember, skip the schedule — get on the open road and enjoy yourself!”

Get more travel tips, secrets and fun road ideas at and more information on insect repellent at