Home Away From Home

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Welcome back! I sure needed a break, but I'm very excited to start up again.  We just completed a two week vacation in the Russian River, where we lounged, read, ate, became one with the river, and played a lot of legos.  My philosophy on vacationing with young children is to recreate home away from home, and for this reason I always rent a house rather than staying at a hotel. July is National Vacation Rental month, and today's post is sponsored by Wyndham Vacation Rentals. Today I'll be sharing my strategy for setting up camp in a vacation house...what I look for in a rental and how to prep and pack. 

What I look for in a rental:

The Visuals.

My number one criteria is that the house is in good condition, and the rooms are well appointed and tastefully decorated. I'm willing to drive 5 miles off the beaten path to get the right place, because when we go on vacation, we really move in. I will look at dozens of homes before deciding on one, and my decision is always based on reviews and images. Pictures really do say 1000 words.

The Bedrooms.

I like houses with at least 2 bedrooms and a pull-out couch in the living room. I don't care how big these rooms are, just that they have doors. My kids room together at home, but I love to be able separate them if being away from home is interrupting sleep. Staying at a hotel in one room is a bummer, because you have to shut it down when they do, and I'm not always ready to go to bed at 8:30pm.  

The Layout.

Just like with my own home, I value a lot of indoor/outdoor common space so that there are lots of places to curl up and read a book, or spread out and play with toys. I look for homes with big decks and access to the outdoors for the early morning run around before we start our day.

The Kitchen. I always seek out a house that has a well-appointed kitchen. I like the ease of making the majority of meals at the house. I love going local produce stands, checking out farmer's markets and cobbling together meals using local flavors, and baking homemade brownies on an unexpected rainy afternoon makes being hold up in a cabin pretty fun.

The Extras.

When the boys were a little younger the added bonus of staying at a place with pack n' plays, high chairs, childproofing, baby toys and books was huge, because this meant that we didn't have to pack our own. On this vacation we found a place with bunk beds and a swing beneath the deck, which made our boys pretty happy. I always book a house with a bathtub, and onsite laundry.

What I pack:

Less is more

I used to bring it all. I'd haul in bins of toys, art supplies, clothing for every possible scenario, most of which would go unused. Now each person brings a small bag of basics/layers and we do laundry. I vet the weather report and pack accordingly. I bring a bin with small games like UNO, paper and a small case with markers and pencils, and a bin of legos. Most vacation rentals have beach towels, sand toys and a closet full of games and books. 

The medicine cabinet.

I have one kid who is so allergic to poison oak that he gets it from looking at it. The other one gets a cold as soon as we pack him in the car. We always bring a fully stocked medicine cabinet with us. Pain killer/fever reducer, cold medicine, Benedryl, cough drops, a thermometer, first aid, anti-itch and medicated scrubs, bug spray and sunscreen.  I don't want to re-purchase any of this stuff at a roadside market in the middle of nowhere for a million dollars when I have it stocked at home.

Kitchen faves:

If we're driving, I bring my must have ingredients with me. Olive oil, sea salt, and our favorite coffee usually come along, because if there's one thing I need when traveling with young children it's a good cup of coffee.

I'll be sharing more from our vacation next week.  Thank you so much to Wyndham Vacation Rentals for sponsoring today's post. They are offering discounts of up to 35% on bookings made through the end of July at tempting locations like: Florida, South Carolina, Delaware and Alabama's Gulf Coast to mountain-side condos and luxury cabins in Colorado, Utah, Tennessee and Idaho. I think a luxury cabin in Colorado could be quite lovely...

Wyndham Vacation Rental in Breckenridge, CO

For peace of mind, book with a professionally managed vacation rental provider such as Wyndham Vacation Rentals® that has a "Vacation Rental Bill of Rights®" service pledge ensuring quality standards (vetted rentals with accurate images), comprehensive customer service and real-time payment and bookings.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.