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  • TIP: Winter Vacation Tips

    By Tammie Thompson

    Photo courtesy Obermeyer You spend months planning that incredible winter vacation. You may research the destination, find the best lodging, and plot your day on the slopes. Now - just an hour before departure - you're throwing things into the suitcase, hurrying to get out the door. Help is on the way. Here are some winter vacation tips to make that trip go smooth.

    Planning your trip:
    Choose a destination that has many off-slope activities. Kids who love to ski or board may enjoy a bit of a diversion. Non-skiers or boarders demand it. Look for a destination that has a variety of outdoor fun (sledding, ice skating, tubing, snowshoeing) and indoor fun (movies, arcades, museums).

    Think carefully about lodging. For us a kitchen is a must. Condos fit the bill, especially that extra bedroom for late night TV or afternoon naps. The closer to the slopes the better - we love slopeside lodging. No shuttle busses, long treks through the parking lot, or other fun busters. Slopeside lodging will cost you more, but you can justify the expense with savings by preparing breakfast, lunch, and even dinner in the condo.

    See our Vacation Survival 101 for general packing tips. From experience we would like to add the following:

    Food and snacks: If you are driving, do preliminary shopping before you leave. Breakfast items for the first day, snacks, snacks, and more snacks, and some adult beverages are top on our list. Think about hot chocolate packets, oatmeal packets, power bars, juice packs, peanut butter stick packs, plus other high protein snacks. Stuff your pockets daily. There's nothing like a little treat to keep them going "just one more run".

    Radios: If you have more than one child you will probably be going in more than one direction throughout the day. Keep in touch with two-way radios. Channels are getting crowded, so use only when necessary.

    Nightlight: Boy, are some of those condos dark! Pack a small plug-in nightlight.

    Earplugs: Slopeside condos can be loud at night due to snow grooming or snow making machines. Pack a set of earplugs for everyone and you'll sleep blissfully till dawn.

    Boot & glove dryers: Our boots and gloves live over the heater vents. Many rooms or condos have ceiling vents or other non-drying heat sources. Consider packing a portable boot dryer. They are lightweight and work well. At the very least take a hair dryer - but keep a good distance from the wet item for proper venting. Do NOT leave boots next to a fireplace as plastic can melt and ruin boot shape.

    Snowy day diversions: Most condos have VCR or DVD players. Pack a few of your favorite DVDs for afternoon or storm downtime. You'll avoid high rental rates at the hotel. Pack crayons, markers and other crafty toys - don't forget the books.

    Swimsuit & spa items: Most resort hotels and condos have outdoor hot tubs or spas. Don't forget the swimsuit! Nice-to-haves include sweatpants, sweatshirt & sandals for trekking to the tub. Regular clothes and shoes will get wet and stay wet.

    Pack extras: Two by two they go... pack two pairs of gloves, two pairs of snow pants, two hats, goggles, long underwear, etc. If there's a certainty in life it's this - your child will lose, wreck, or get wet the only pair of something on every trip.

    Pack for all weather: Mountain weather is changeable. Pack layers for both warm and frigid weather. Pack extra "evening" or "play" jackets and pants, as well as hats, mittens, etc. In the spring throw in a pair of shorts and short sleeve shirt as afternoons can be quite warm.

    Pack the portable pharmacy: Cough medicine, pain reliever, sunscreen, lip protector, pack it all. If you can find a pharmacy in a mountain town - it probably closes at 6pm.

    Water: Stock bottled water at every corner. High altitude and dry, cold weather are dehydrating. Everyone will be happier with lots of water.

    Got a tip? Send it on: If we use it we'll send you a little treat.

    Archived articles relating to Insider's Tips:

    Want more on winter family fun? Be sure to sign up for our e-newsletter to get the latest on winter family travel & gear deals, plus tips to make your life easier! Ollie in!

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