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4 Must-Do Tips for a Smooth and Successful Vacation

Hello friends! Welcome back to the Starlight blog!

The weather is turning so if you're anything like me in the good old midwest, you have the winter blues setting in. Nothing makes me dream harder for warm sands and crashing waves quite like the flurries. I am already counting down the days until my January cruise!

In the spirit of chasing away chilly thoughts, today I will be chatting about vacation tips. As a travel agent, I have a few tricks up my sleeve I like to pull out for both myself as well as my clients. However, if you have ever planned with me, you'll know I do have my holy grail, must-do list. These are the ones I'll be highlighting in today's post. These are tried and true many times, trust me!

  1. Plan Dining in Advance

As a lover of Disney, I know well the importance of making sure you get into that highly coveted spot in the absolute must-see restaurant. In high-traffic vacation spots like Universal and Disney, it’s crucial to have your dining must-sees planned out well in advance. Reservations are your friend. Dining reservations can be made up to 60 days in advance in Disney World and are highly recommended for some of the more sought-after dining experiences. When it comes to a more relaxed vacation atmosphere, it’s okay to be more off-the-cuff, but be open to the recommendations of those who know the area.

Pro tip: If you really want to be competitive when it comes to Disney dining, but your day for that restaurant you've been looking forward to all year is already booked up, consider signing up for MouseDining. It's a reservation alert system that will let you know through text or email when a spot opens up for your desired location for your chosen date and party size. You can check it out here.

2. Pack Like a Pro

If there’s one thing to keep in mind when packing, it’s to stay organized. For our wedding shower, my husband John and I received packing cubes, and they are phenomenal!

We were able to organize within each cube, then simply place them in our hotel drawers within the cubes, so no living out of suitcases and no touching unknown shelves. Win-win! We each received a set, and I even ordered more. We have two sets each, which is about what I’d recommend for a his and hers set. I especially love the labelled ones, because it takes the organization up a notch. If you prefer, though, you can get all kinds of fun patterns of packing cubes on Amazon. Check out these ones here.

3. Find Balance in your Plan

If you’ve never been to a theme park like Disney, I have two things to say to you. One, book an appointment with me ASAP because I know where I must send you! And two, it is a lot of walking. A whole lot. For a day at the Magic Kingdom, you’ll walk somewhere in the ballpark of 7 miles under the hot Florida sun. You’re going to need some recharge time. Plan around having a few hours in your day to go back to your hotel for a nap, a movie, a good book, or whatever rests you up. Then you’ll be refreshed and ready for dinner and other evening activities later in the day. If you book with me, I'd recommend staying at a resort onsite. This way, you will have a quick and convenient means back to your hotel so no more travel than necessary to get those cranky kids out of the heat and into a nap. Don't forget to hydrate and reapply that sunblock while you're at it!

Pro tip: Even with plans to take an evening break, spending all that time outside is flat-out exhausting. This is where reservations indoors come highly recommended. Rather than standing outside at food kiosks, break up your time under the sun by sitting down for an hour or so in some AC. Plus, along the way, consider some indoor attractions like shows, rides with indoor queues, and short films that air in Disney's indoor theatres.

4. Keep Your Documents Organized

Other than our trusty packing cubes, this is one must-pack I swear by. An envelope is a great way to store all your necessary documents in one place. Print out tickets, reservations, QR codes, and travel documents to avoid losing anything you’ll need. Then keep on putting it to use by putting in receipts and other papers you’ll want to keep a hold of, but don’t want to jam into your purse to crumple and lose.

Pro tip: I always make sure to send off my clients with one of these guys, plus other essentials that will keep your trips running smoothly. Never misplace another very important paper again when you book with me! To connect with me and talk about your next adventure, click here.

And there you have it! Kim's swear-by lifesavers for any vacation. Of course, my wisdom doesn't stop there. Connect with me any time to chat more about travel, tips, and tricks.

Until then, toodles!

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