5 Ways to Create a Memorable Vacation

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Arm & Hammer. The opinions and text are all mine.

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How do we create a memorable vacation? And is all the preparation really worth our effort with so much going on as parents and families? I am here to tell you that it is, and this is why:

My family has always been close. My siblings and I still try to get together as much as we can and consider a weekend spent with my parents time well spent. Now that I am a mother with my own small children I reflect back on my childhood and try to piece together what it was that made us develop such long-lasting relationships. I’ve come to the conclusion that it was the time that we spent together in an adventure that has made us so close knit.

My parents were both educators on a modest income, but they always made saving for some travel time with our family a priority. We did not live a life of luxury but we certainly had all we could ever need and weren’t left wanting. I think I always felt this way because I felt so rich and fulfilled in the time spent with my family. One of the traditions that I loved the very most was going to Lake Powell every Summer. If I could tell you one of my happiest places it is in the “nose” of the boat with the wind in my hair. Instantly it takes me back to a place that I love. Isn’t it funny how even a smell can bring back memories of long ago? I read somewhere that the brain actually stores that information differently because the memory is associated with a smell.

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Whenever I smell sunscreen and lake water I am brought back to the trips taken with my family on our boat.  A common scene would be my Mom making us turkey sandwiches at lunch time as we found some caverns in the shade listening to The Steve Miller Band. We would spend most of the day on the water because we were camping in a tent and it would get really hot. We would find a canyon to explore and cool down mid day while eating our lunch. Or you could find my brothers daring each other to do one more 360 on the knee board, or a crazy run through the waves on our water weenie. These were the moments that made our family laugh together, build each other up, overcome fears, and embrace change. I once asked my Dad what he thought would be better to save for, a vacation home or a boat. He said, “A vacation home is just another house. When you are out on the water together in a boat there is no where to go, you HAVE to hang out together!” It puts you in a playful environment as a family.

We do not have a boat, and while some day I would like to have one I realize that it is creating ADVENTURE together whether your family be big or small, young or old that this brings families together in a way that nothing else can. Whether you choose to camp, ski, hike, water raft, explore, whatever…find a way to create time where your family can really bond! This is my goal! I recently discovered a book called “The Intentional Family” that talks about how we create rituals or traditions to bring a family or marriage together that will really last. I haven’t finished it yet…but it has really inspired me!

Here are 5 ways to make a Vacation Memorable

1. Focus on the TIME and not the money

We are in a time that technology rules everything and it is so easy to get caught up in our to-do lists, iPhones, computers, tablets, and games. What gets lost in the mix of this is the quality time that we are missing with our families. No matter where you decide to spend your vacation remember to carve time out to just BE. This may mean that you need to plan some games/activities that get you talking; because let’s be honest…it is easy to go about our day in our homes and miss out on what we are all thinking about on the inside. Whether you have small children or a teenager they will be excited about just being with you and having your time. (Even if it is a little awkward at first.)

2. Anticipation is half the fun

I love countdowns and planning. Let’s face it, a vacation comes and goes so quickly that the anticipation of the trip can be almost as fun. Brainstorm ideas of what you will do when you get to your destination. Ask your kids or your spouse what they would really like to squeeze in while you are there. A lot of times I will actually make a vacation bucket list and make sure everyone gets a say of at least one thing they hope to do. For one it could be an uninterrupted nap, for another it could be a fancy meal out or time spent outdoors. Find out what your family is craving and try to fulfill at least some parts of everyone’s wishes. This can be hard to do if you have varying opionions (which is likely), but try to find ways to incorporate everyone.

3. Make a Plan, but be flexible

Because vacations do go so quickly it can be very important to plot out your activities in a general idea of what you hope to get done. Do you have museums you want to see, a paddle board you want to be on every day for a least an hour, or scheduled downtime? I know it sounds silly, but I LOVE making time to plan things like that because if I don’t I find that they don’t always happen.

4. Consider the age of those on vacation

A vacation can be interpreted in so many different ways depending on who will be vacationing with you. A trip to Disneyland can appeal to all attending if you take the time to know what facilities with appeal to those you’re with. Some of my favorite memories of vacationing with my family happened in the unplanned moments when we as kids were just given time to explore. I think it can be easy to over-plan in a way that can exhaust you and your children until everyone is grumpy and tired!

I also loved moments when we as kids were given moments to shine. And by shine I mean just given the opportunity to be seen, talked to, and engaged in an activity that made me feel alive. I loved laughing with my siblings and parents and know this was another reason why we are still close today.


Traveling and preparing for a vacation can be STRESSFUL! So once you get there remember to relax. You may get lost, your child will probably be grumpy at some point, the bed may not be what you imagined as comfortable. But it is so important to embrace that time with your family. I cannot remember every vacation I ever took with my family, but I remember smells, and laughter, and moments that changed me.

What ways have you found create a vacation worth remembering?

For the first time, A&H Laundry has launched a collection with scents inspired by nature in partnership with the National Park Foundation (which Arm & Hammer is proud to contribute to). The newest Arm & HammerTM Clean ScentsationsTM Laundry Detergent gives your clothes the pristine freshness of the great outdoors. All 3 vibrant options with Arm & Hammer Baking Soda help power out dirt and odors – at a fraction of the cost. Find out more about the products here!

Arm and Hammer realizes scent is the most powerful memory trigger. This summer, they want to start a conversation around your family’s favorite scent-related summer memories.

You can actually enter the Sensational Memories Contest by submitting your own story and photo (if available) describing a favorite memory of traveling that can be recalled from a simple scent. You could win a family vacation to Yosemite National Park with an expert-curated travel itinerary!

Additionally, Scholastic is partnering with Arm & Hammer to provide families with 20 Great Outdoor trip ideas on it’s Smart Family Travel platform. Find out why to go, what to do and where to stay at each destination.  Also included are fun activities for kids! Each destination comes with a printable to teach them a thing or two about where they’ll be.

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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Arm & Hammer. The opinions and text are all mine.

Comments submitted may be displayed on other websites owned by the sponsoring brand.

camille walker, mymommystyle.com

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    MyMommyStyle Meet Camille

    Hello! I am Camille, a wife, mother of four, Disney obsessed, certified teacher, and reality optimist. Motherhood comes with its ups and downs, and I hope while you're here you'll find something that makes your #momlife easier!


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