The constant act of juggling work and family, running errands, and shuttling kids between activities leaves most families more than ready to escape their daily routine for even just a few days. But for many parents, planning a vacation just adds to an already growing list of things to do. That’s why Amy Ragsdale, mother of two daughters, and Amanda Luhn, aunt and frequent travel companion to eight nieces and nephews, have recently launched www.simplyawesometrips.com, a travel web site offering family trip itineraries to destinations in the U.S. and abroad.
Trip destinations range from a weekend in Asheville, NC to a week in Yellowstone National Park or Paris, France. Itineraries cost between $5 and $15, and several are offered for free. Once purchased, families will receive an email with a link to download a PDF for easy printing or viewing on a mobile device.
Luhn notes, “the only thing families need to do is book their lodging, make any reservations as noted in the itinerary, and show up and have fun!” You can view their website at http://www.simplyawesometrips. com or find them on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
The creators of the website acknowledge it takes hours to pore through guidebooks, blog posts, and other online resources to figure out the best places to stay, where to eat, and what to do. “And it’s even harder to find travel information that is written with kids in mind,” explains Ragsdale.
Each destination’s itinerary provides a day-by-day plan that includes where to stay, activities that were fun for both kids and adults, local food recommendations, rainy day activities, and any helpful tips discovered along the way. They point out that families can duplicate the itinerary in its entirety or use it for ideas for their own trip.
“When you have kids in tow, it’s helpful to know the specifics,” adds Luhn. “From our experience, a little extra info can save a lot of aggravation. For example, is there a playground nearby to blow off steam? Or, which good local restaurants welcome kids? And, one of the most important questions for young families, how far do you have to walk between Point A and Point B?”
The itineraries tend to include a little bit of culture, local food, and a lot of outdoors. “Families will find opportunities to get outside and enjoy nature together, whether at a playground in Paris, a scenic hike in Yellowstone, or a family bike ride on a local greenway,” says Ragsdale.
In addition to hotel recommendations, lodging choices often include Airbnb and VRBO properties which offer more living space and a kitchen suitable for families. Each lodging choice has been carefully selected for its location and price point, and their own families have either stayed in the properties listed in the itinerary or would on a return visit.