Family Day, celebrated on the third Monday of every February, is the perfect opportunity to have a mid-winter weekend getaway.
But before you pack your snowsuit and mitts, check out these five do's and don'ts to ensure your Family Day weekend trip is memorable and, most importantly, stress-free:
1. DON'T wing it with your accommodations
Not doing your research when it comes to your overnight accommodations may set you up for some nasty surprises at check-in. When traveling with small children or the elderly, it's important to make sure the lodging is well suited to their particular needs.
DO: Research a few options before booking to ensure certain family-friendly amenities or attractions are onsite (e.g. children's activities or programs, indoor pool, elevators, etc.) or nearby (e.g. parks, festivals, restaurants, etc.).
2. DON'T forget to prep your vehicle
All the hotel research and careful packing in the world won't save you from unexpected car trouble miles from the nearest auto garage. Every successful road trip begins with a fully stocked vehicle emergency kit, a contingency plan for roadside assistance and a full tank of windshield washer fluid for muddy or slushy drives.
DO: In the weeks leading up to your trip, make sure your vehicle is not due for any regularly scheduled maintenance and that your lights and windshield wipers are in good working condition.
3. DON'T forget to stretch
Sitting strapped in a car seat for hours on end will lead to a lot of pent up energy and restlessness, especially if your little ones aren't automatically lulled to dreamland during long drives.
DO: Leave yourself plenty of time to reach your destination, scheduling "stretch breaks" -- longer than your typical bathroom break -- every 90 minutes or so to allow everyone to blow off some steam.
4. DON'T overdo it with the sugar
It's tempting to indulge in sweet treats while on holiday, but on-the-go snacks combined with a full day of nonstop activities will almost always result in cranky, overtired kids.
DO: Pack smart snacks to fuel the family between bigger meals and, when possible, set aside some down time in the afternoon so everyone can have a breather.
5. DON'T put too much pressure on everyone to have fun
The more pressure you put on yourself to show your family the time of their lives, the more likely you are to stress your family out.
DO: Leave yourself and your itinerary open to unexpected fun. Sometimes it's the unplanned moments, meals and inside jokes that make for the best family trip memories.