Guest Guru Nina Restieri from

Travel Agenda: Organizing for a Summer Vacation with the Kids

Preparing your family for a summer vacation does not have to be a chore! There are many simple, effective strategies you can employ that will make your vacation less chaotic and more enjoyable for the entire family.

The fun part is choosing your summer break spot.

For me, that means talking to friends and family with children about their experiences in various locations. Other good resources for family-friendly destinations are the family travel blogs and ezines (such as Nearly all of our family vacation spots have been chosen based on positive word-of-mouth from someone we know (or, in the case of online resources, someone we feel like we know). For example, my friend Heidi had a great experience on a cruise vacation with her kids. Although the idea of a cruise had never occurred to me (or my husband), we decided to explore the option. We ended up on a cruise through Alaska last July, and our whole family considers it the best vacation we’ve ever taken!

It is so important to do your homework before you go.

Go online and find out everything you can about your destination, with a particular focus on traveling to that destination with children. The internet is loaded with tips and tricks for every place you can imagine; read everything you can and take notes. Some questions you may have include: is your hotel family-friendly? Does the hotel offer babysitting services? Also, get specific information about the attractions you plan to visit. Often, the best way to avoid lines is to visit popular attractions early in the morning or in the evening when everyone else is eating dinner. So find out what attractions open early, and at what time. Which attractions stay open late?

After completing your research, read through your notes and start making lists.

What attractions are “can’t miss” for your family? Which restaurants would you like to try? How about rainy day activities? Make sure to note any important information, such as discounts or specials. Once you have made lists of everything you’d like to accomplish on your vacation, you are ready to start making your agenda. Sit down with your day planner and schedule in all your activities and meals, making sure to keep in mind travel time between various locations. Your schedule can be as structured or as flexible as you like. Just make sure you pencil in everything you and your kids really want to do or see, so it won’t be forgotten.

Once you are set with your vacation agenda, it is time to make a packing list.

I like to make one for each of my children, then send them off to their rooms to assemble their suitcases themselves. What you pack depends on your particular destination, but if you need a starting point, check out momAgenda’s printable packing list here: One thing I never leave home without is a large zippered bag containing children’s Benadryl, children’s Motrin or Tylenol, Neosporin and band-aids. In addition, make sure to pack essential children’s items. Our family once went on a week-long ski trip, and forgot my then-2-year-old’s beloved blankie. Believe me when I say that no one slept that week. Not fun!

Have a great time wherever your travels take you this summer.

Despite the hassles and headaches of traveling with kids, keep in mind that they are only young once—someday you will look back on this vacation and wish your kids were still that little! So embrace the chaos and let the stress go. I hope that these tips help you streamline the planning process and have more fun with your family.

Nina Restieri, a former successful ad executive, and businesswoman at the helm of a family business, was attempting to organize her chaotic schedule (and those of her family of four young children) one morning when she started to think about wedding planners. Why, she wondered, are there hundreds of options for brides to choose from to plan their wedding, but not a single option for mothers to plan their everyday lives? One year of extensive research later, momAgenda was born. You can check out Nina’s website at

You can also find momAgenda & Buttoned Up FREE printable planning sheets here