Ways to Provide Convenient Booking

We live in a world of convenience and little patience. This world extends to the world of vacation rentals. Therefore, it is imperative to make your check in process as easy as possible. Airbnb is great for making the booking process simple, but there is more that you can do to add to the convenience of booking. The idea of booking with ease makes your rental an attractive option. By making your booking process as simple as possible, you will increase the chances that a guest will book your property instead of moving on to looking at other properties. In this blog post we will discuss how to make your airbnb listing as convenient and attractive for guests as possible.

Convenient Airbnb Search
Convenient Airbnb Search

 

Card only transactions

Accept ALL payments with credit card. It is surprisingly common for hosts to require a payment of cash for services such as vacation rental cleaning fee. This is both inconvenient and misleading for the total price, when it is listed as $0 when potential guests are exploring with their set price limit. Requiring cash upon arrival is not something that any guests prefer to do. Many would rather pay in full when they book through Airbnb or Homeaway. Paying with cash upon arrival also requires you to actually meet with the guests, instead of providing a keyless entry. This leads us to our next point of convenient airbnb listings, keyless entry.

Keyless entry

Keyless entry is both the simplest entry method for guests and the safest entry method for hosts. The personal codes used for keyless entries can be changed for each individual guest. This avoids the complication of possible lost keys or copied keys. Keyless entry allows guests to enter the home on their own without having to coordinate with the host for a time to meet to enter the property. This is more convenient for the guest and the host. This method is much easier for guest that may be arriving late in the evening when the host would not be able to give them the key.

 

Complete profile

A great method to increase bookings through convenience, is by simply having a complete profile. By having a complete profile you will not have to go back and forth with the guests by answering the questions they may have. Instead, do your best to answer these questions by providing as much information as possible to answer questions before they need to be asked.

The first way to do this is through photos. Post photos that seem to show every inch of the house. Wide angle lenses will allow you to take photos that will show more of your space in on shot. For example, when taking pictures of your bedroom you should include a photo of the closet in the shot as well. Take pictures of every room and amenity in your home, as well as photos of the outside of your home. The second way to complete your profile is through verified information. Verifying your information will gain guest trust quickly and therefore result in a quicker decision process to book your property. The last way to complete your profile is by simply listing all of your amenities and what your property has to offer.

 

Pest Control Made Simple for Homeowners

We’ve all experienced it – the little creature that haunts your nightmares scuttles across the floor into a before unseen crevice that leads to eternal darkness. Every attempt is made from then on out to stay away from that section of the house. A pest like this can cause major problems for homeowners, and in turn property managers seeking to provide guests with the highest quality experience they can get. There are experienced professionals out there who do pristine work if the infestation gets too far out of control. In this situation, linking up with a cleaner may be the best bet. However, you may be a frugal homeowner looking to curb some the premiums these services charge. There are ways you can learn to properly manage these pest problems on your own. Here are the basic tips for the most common pests homeowners run into.

DIY pest control

Pest #1: Ants

This pest is the most common one a homeowner will run into as they are the smallest, with the highest population, and easiest access to what they want. As such, they are the most simple to deal with. Most ants are drawn to the carelessness that we may tend to exhibit. The best thing you can do is keep all areas of your property clean. First and foremost, the kitchen. Open food and water sources are the biggest attractors of ants, so make sure to clean the dishes, countertops, refrigerator and floor periodically. Identify where the ants will congregate, and cut off their routes to entry.

Fortunately, these tasks don’t need to be done alone. Find the best cleaner who is right for your property. You can easily prevent a visit from the most common pest around the world.

 

Pest #2: Mice and Rats

Usually, when one thinks of a pest they think “rodent”. And which are the first two that come to mind when reading the word? Mice and rats. There are several steps needed to follow when dealing with these critters, and each is as important as the preceding.

Evaluate the situation – identify where the rats are coming from, where the access points to the building are, and any areas they may like to frequent. This is important because mindlessly setting up removal tools will likely end up in failure. The animals will be smarter than you think

Trapping and removal – once all the appropriate locations are identified, traps or lures should be put into place. YOU MUST EVALUATE ALL OF YOUR OPTIONS. Use the right tool that will be right for the situation. Misplaced rat traps can prove to be a fatally bad decision for a child or pet. This step must be done with care.

*As a recommendation, do not use glue boards, rat poisonings, or any other tools that will prolong the elimination process of the pest. It takes more of your time, can cause critical health risks to your family and pets, and inhuman.

Monitor the situation – periodically check the traps you have laid. If you do not see signs of recent activity, make sure that area is repaired, cleaned, and free of any lingering smells or physical ailments caused by the rats.

Cleaning – if you do not see any more signs of a problems, thoroughly clean the property to ensure no residual problems will occur. Again, you can link up with a cleaner to accomplish this task. If renting the property to guests, this task is especially important.

 

Pest #3: Cockroaches

The difficulty with cockroaches lies in the approaches used to try to eliminate them. They undoubtedly one of the hardest pests to deal with (and I am speaking from personal experience). There are two major classes of roaches that you may have to deal with, depending on the region you live in.

[Small] German/Brown-Banded: Live in kitchens and bathrooms; behind and underneath sinks, refrigerators, stoves. They find their way into a living area by stowing away on some item being carried in. However, they will breed indoors, and can travel between units through electrical and plumbing systems. Use baits and insect growth regulators for treatment.

[Large] American/Australian/Oriental/Wood: About 1.5” in size, they usually live in warmer climates and during warmer parts of the year. They will come inside for water and food, however they typically live and breed outdoors. They are not as difficult to eradicate as the smaller roaches. If needed, insecticides and granular baits would be required.

*Again, make sure you educate yourself about the tools you are using for eradication. Boric acid has been known to effectively combat roaches, however it is often misused.

 

Pest #4: Termites

Compared to the previous three, a homeowner will have less of a chance running into these bugs. However, if they are present, they are the most destructive pests known to homeowners. As such, it may be too difficult to go it alone. Proper education of construction and buildings may be required to identify access areas and points of interests of interest for the termites, in addition to using specialized equipment.

Therefore, it is important to select the best termite exterminator that suits your needs. Although the longer you wait the more the termites will work, they are small, so don’t feel obliged to a company if they are pressuring you or using scare tactics for a contract.

 

These are just a few of many basic steps one can take to deal with a pest on the property. The most effective measure you can take is to prevent any one of them from arriving in the first place. Keep your property clean, find one of the many qualified cleaners, and work together to make the living experience exceptional for you or your guests.

 

Top 8 Spring Vacation Destinations

With spring vacations underway, there are some destinations that are huge tourist attractions. Tourists seek out different destinations whether they are interested in touring historic sites, relaxing on the beach or traveling international. In this blog post we will explore top 8 spring break destinations according to sites such as US News and Traveller.

Top 8 Spring Vacation Destinations
Top 8 Spring Vacation Destinations
  1. Cancun, Mexico

One of the most popular destinations for young adults is of course Mexico. With white sand beaches, budget friendly accommodations and great night life, it is the perfect destination for those in their 20s.

  1. Tokyo, Japan

With cherry blossoms and mild weather, Tokyo in spring is a site to see. Be sure to try the sushi and ramen in that Japan is famous for. Taking a walk through ancient temples and exploring what the city has to offer is an amazing way to spend spring. 

  1. Washington, D.C.

For those who wish to spend their spring break at museums, national monuments and other historical sites, Washington D.C. is perfect. Spring in D.C. could include taking a trip to the capital surrounded by blooming trees, or exploring the Smithsonian without overwhelming crowds. Spring weather offers low humidity and warm temperatures so most of the city can be explored on foot.

  1. London, England

In spring, the otherwise nearly year round fog in London lifts. London is known for sites such as Big Ben, Shakespeare and the royal family. The city offers a wide variety of activities for tourists. Head to the Buckingham Palace and witness the change of the guard. 

  1. Sedona, Arizona

Interested in exploring a state park wilderness? Sedona in spring is the perfect place with its blooming hills and red backdrop. Visiting Arizona in spring will allow you to avoid the summer heat so that you can fully enjoy the park. Some of the popular spots in Sedona are Cathedral Rock, Bell Rock and the trails of Oak Creek Canyon.

  1. Navarre, Florida

Spring in Florida is perfect for those who do not want to deal with hurricane season or the stifling heat. Navarres crystal-blue waters is a beautiful spot for beachgoers and nature-lovers.

  1. Honolulu, Hawaii

Hawaii is the perfect destinations for families and couples, with an plenty of activities to offer. Spring allows you to miss the summer crowds that will make it difficult to enjoy hikes and beach trips with tourists crowded around you. Honolulu is a great place to stay with destinations such as North Shore and Kailua only a short distance.

  1. Napa, California

Head to wine country this spring to experience the gorgeous views and fine wines. This is the perfect destination for couples who wish to visit wineries or experience great food. The town caters to the adventurous through a ride in a hot air balloon and a perfect view of vineyards.

 

The Best Vacation Travel Host

Sometimes it is easy to forget that vacation rental is – in a way –  a business. This may be due to easy and fast transactions on internet platforms limiting face to face interactions. Whatever the case, a relationship should be cultivated between the host and guest to create a memorable experience. This can provide the host with a future booking, and the guest with a place that they will surely enjoy. A clean property, a good conversation, and easy communication will go a long way.

good travel hosts

Wherever the Host, Always Call

Whether the host is on site, nearby, or too far for face-to-face interaction, make sure that connection is established. For those with physical access, meet the guest upon check in. For those without, give them a call.

 

Easy to Find, Easily Accessible

An important part of a person’s vacation is that they spend it on vacation – it should be easy! There’s a lot of things a host can do beforehand to help facilitate your guests check-in process prior to arrival:

  1. Clearly define the address and the property’s location on a map
  2. Contact the guest after booking to get to know their needs a little better
  3. Then, discuss the best and most efficient transportation options to and from the property
  4. If need be, contact connections for transportation, cleaning, or whatever you need to ensure a good first impression on arrival.
  • On my most recent trip to Mexico, before staying in our AirBnB, we had booked a very expensive private shuttle from the airport to our location. After meeting the property manager, she suggested the much cheaper local bus. It took a little longer, however we didn’t mind as it accomplished our needs.If need be, contact connections for transportation, cleaning, or whatever you need to ensure a good first impression on arrival.

IMPORTANT: Know your guests. Don’t expect them to act or be a certain way just because it is written on paper. More on this later.

 

Keep it Clean

This needs repeating: what kind of property would YOU want to stay in? In addition to providing unique amenities to differentiate your booking, hosts should make sure that it is clean. Find a reliable cleaner that can help manage the property properly even if living close to or on the property. By taking the time to briefly set up an initial cleaning, hosts and cleaners can establish a lifelong, sustainable relationship that can benefit both sides’ reputation as well as fiscally.

  • When we checked into our AirBnB, our host identified that the refrigerator was not entirely clean. Obviously, as a property manager, this can prove embarrassing and may hinder a future booking with guests.

 

The Host’s Brief Introduction

Upon arrival and check in, briefly introduce yourself to your guests. A good host should be able to read the situation and know what is or is not appropriate. How are the receptive to the cleanliness of the property? Will they be staying on site for long, or will they be out for most of their trip? Since renting the property for vacation, a host must use interpersonal skills.

  • Fortunately for our host, we didn’t mind that the property wasn’t entirely clean. In addition, we asked some questions upon arrival that made her realize we were open to the discussion. Moving forward, we were able to meet with her several times after the check-in because she was able to establish the kind of guests we were.

 

Best Advice from the Best Host

You know the area of the property better than anyone who stays in it. If the guest does not have a structured itinerary (and they are welcome to the conversation), offer some advice on the best places to eat, if locations are good for families, etc. It will go a LONG WAY to offer truly beneficial advice to the guests. They will remember you as a host, and are likely to re-book your property on a future vacation.

  • Our host was more than memorable. Not only did she take us to/show us the best and affordable spots, she attended some lunch sessions! We got to know her on a personal level, she gave us great insight on the culture. some of our travel mates were convinced to book with her again.

NOTE: It is important to know when this kind of behavior is acceptable or not. As a group, we were very open, sociable, and accepting of our host’s offers. Guests will not always have this kind of attitude.

Keep your vacation rental clean, make sure your guests have the time they are looking for, and BE the best vacation travel host.

 

Tips for Spring Vacation Rental Cleaning

With the start of spring means the time for spring cleaning. This time of year we prepare our short-term rentals for rental season. Whether you are simply giving your rental a deep clean or sprucing up your decor for the new season, here are tips for spring vacation rental cleaning.

Tips for Spring Vacation Rental Cleaning
Tips for Spring Vacation Rental Cleaning

Put winter items into storage

A good first step in a spring cleaning plan is putting any winter decor in your home back into storage. Remember to store away your thick blankets, winter decorations and any other winter items that are not needed with the warm weather.

Steam clean carpets

Steam cleaning carpets is very important for vacation rentals, especially if you allow pets! After a long winter where the windows tend to stay closed and mud is tracked in from the wet weather, good chances your carpets are in need of a deep clean. A freshly cleaned apartment means a good smelling vacation rental.

Clean windows and window treatments

Dust and allergens collect on your window treatments year round, especially during winter. This will cause a musty smell and sneezes guests. To clean your window treatments you can simply take them down and wash them. Depending on the material of the window treatments, you may be able to simply run them through the washer. Also remember to freshen up the look of your windows by giving them a good clean.

Clean outside

It’s possible that with colder winter conditions, the outside of your vacation rental needs a little love. This is a good time to remove any dead plants and plant new ones to make the entrance to your house esthetically pleasing. Hose down your walkway to clear up any leftover mud or dirt. These are great way to create a good first impression of your home.

Clear the vents

Depending on your circulations system- whether it is vents or fans, chances are there has been some dust build up over winter. You do not want your guests to experience a surprise cloud of dust when they attempt to get circulation going. But in general for ventilation systems, first, turn off the power connected to the heating or air conditioning system. You will then remove the air duct covers from the walls. Clean the grates with a brush, or vacuum the dust away. Finally, check to see if filters need to be replaced. For ceiling fans, use a cloth to wipe down the blades.

Clean the drains

Chances are your rental may have some blocked up drains after a long winter. No guest wants to have a pool of water around there feet while they try to shower. To solve this problem, simply run to the store and buy some Drano. Running Drano through your sinks and showers surely get rid of any pesky clogs.

Review your need for a cleaner

Vacation rental cleaning is always important. When a busy rental season is approaching, there is further reason to focus on your current cleaner needs. You may want to decide whether you need back up cleaners for this busy season. Discover new cleaners in your area to prepare for this season on our Turnoverbnb marketplace.

Problems with Online Vacation Rentals

We here at TurnoverBnB usually like to talk about all the best ways you can enjoy your vacation. Whether that be trying to help you save time or money through an easy to use cleaner scheduling platform, great destination options, family traveling advice, you name it. Unfortunately, simple misunderstandings or malicious activities are inevitable when resources for share-economies are available. Here are some problems that arise when using a rental site, and how you – as a vacation-goer or owner – can help create a safer, online vacation rental environment.

Online Vacation Rental Problems

Problem #1: “This isn’t what I signed up for”

Owner

An owner could post pictures of their newly furnished, clean and spotless, and all-around accommodating atmosphere; designed to draw you in. Now there’s nothing wrong with that – except when you arrive at the house and two of the chairs have broken legs, the A/C system is outdated, and there’s a beehive growing in the backyard. Unfortunately, a guest can be stuck when faced with these kinds of problems and there could be little to do except follow the owner’s contract.

What can you do?

Avoid high cleaning and maintenance fees by planning ahead and establishing a relationship with a professional cleaner. Buildings can deteriorate much faster because they’re stuck in a vicious cycle: maintenance fees incur, are put off, then start to build up then are neglected because of their high cost. If you want to use your real estate as a separate source of income, you’re going to need to invest some resources into it. Planning ahead of time with proper organization can save you a ton of money, attract more guests with better reviews, and voila! More money in your pocket. Post up-to-date photos of your rental property. Vacation rental platforms are a mutually-beneficial community: a guest that books your offer and finds out what it TRULY is will make quick work of a negative review.

Guest

You might book a property to find that it isn’t what you were anticipating. This might prompt demands for a refund, and even result in a negative review of the property. But what if everything was laid out in the property description? What’s more, what if the surrounding environment isn’t what you were expecting? I know for a fact that there are people who think Hawai’i is a lot of thatched roofs and bungalows on the beach. Quick hint: it isn’t.

What can you do?

DO YOUR RESEARCH. Although it may seem daunting to thoroughly plan a vacation (I mean what’s a vacation for in the first place?), you can avoid a lot of problems by planning ahead of time. You can do this by

  • Thoroughly read the property description
  • Looking at your owner’s credibility:
    • what kind of reviews do they have?
    • How many photos of the property are there?
    • Do the terms seem genuine?
    • Are they operating multiple properties?

Problem #2: Unclear Terms/Miscommunication

You might not be aware of any problems going into this situation. However, they are present, and it comes down to poor planning, effort, and negligence.

Owner

Hopefully, you’ve never been (and never will be!) in a situation where you book a property only to find it IS NOT vacant for the duration of your stay. Maybe you were expecting some privacy during your vacation, but it turns out that the owners live on the property.

What can you do?

Do your due diligence as a vacation rental property owner. It is important that you give your potential guests ALL of the information regarding your terms. Transparency and communication is the best tool for potential guests to be completely satisfied and stress free. By outlining everything ahead, you’ll save a ton of time because you won’t have to deal with situations on a case-by-case basis. Essential information includes

  • Clear rules outlined prior to booking
  • Up-to date bookings
  • Appropriate prices based on the market price of similar properties

Guest

The worst thing a guest can do is not be clear (or even lie) about their intentions for the duration of the stay. Owners clean and prepare their properties to accommodate guests for appropriate satisfaction. They are also sharing their personal property and real property with guests. An example of this is when someone claims they have a party of four when in reality they THROW a party with 20+ guests. Usually, owners are aware and prepared for these problems. There may be some kind of writing in the agreement that states consequences or penalties.

What can you do?

Be up front with your intentions and expectations with the owner before booking. There will always be a property that will cater to your needs. A romantic getaway, a company retreat, a celebration, Spring Break, whatever it may be.

Problem #3: Fraudulent Listings

Finally, there are those who exploit vacation rental platforms with fake accounts. They will post fake properties that appear clean and state-of-the-art, stock photos, and when it comes to the booking, money is wired to one of their sources. Sometimes, it is very difficult to track these sources as the perpetrators are skilled. Luckily, there are agencies that try to assist with these problems, as well as those that try to apprehend and prosecute offenders.

What can you do?

Vacation rental property owners and guests should work together to promote a safe environment when people are trying to enjoy life. Owners should be able to identify who is and is not legitimate. There is usually a shared space on social media platforms for homeowners to congregate. Again, guests should thoroughly investigate a property before booking. This comes with planning ahead of time: the more time you have, the more options you’ll be able to browse. Preventative measures are always the best route. If you are subject to this kind of attack, contact the authorities or any other protection resource you have right away. Contact the platform as well, and make it aware to the community that there is malpractice happening on the site.

Improve SEO for Your Vacation Rental

As a competing vacation rental, it can be hard to have your rental be found above those who you compete with. Some of you may wonder, ‘What is SEO and why is it important?’. SEO stands for ‘Search Engine Optimization’ and it is a pivotal factor for ranking among other vacation rentals. Your listing must stand out to help you achieve your number one goal, which is ofcourse to receive bookings. In this post we will discuss tactics that will help you to improve SEO for your vacation rental.

Improve SEO for your Airbnb
Improve SEO for your Airbnb

Complete Airbnb Profile

The first step you will want to complete is to make sure you have a complete profile. Make sure that you have a complete and accurate listing so that guests will know what to expect from your rental. List all the appliances and amenities your property has. This way if a potential guest filters for example that they only want to stay at a property with a barbeque and you have one, you want to ensure that you added this into your listing so you will show up in search results. You also want to show off what your home has to offer, and there is no better way to do this than beautiful photos of your clean vacation rental.

Title is Everything

The quality of description and title for your listing are going to reflect in the amount of bookings you recieve. A potential guest may be looking for a space just like your rental, but if you do not have a title that properly describes your property, guests may not find you. For example, it is wise to add into the title how many bedrooms your rental is as well as another charming factor. If you have a prime location for a popular area add in your title ‘Great location’. If you have a renovated or modern home, flaunt that in your title. Have a title that makes the listing worth opening.

Retain a High Response Rate

A high response rate is important to have to improve ranking and to have the impression of a responsible host. To have a high response rate you simply need to respond to inquiries in a timely manner. Besides just the appearance of a high response rate, it is a great quality to have as a host to respond quickly to guests and to be helpful in responses. If you already have a 100% response rate, great job! Keep up the good work.

Build Great Reviews

It goes without be said- the higher your ratings on Airbnb the higher you will rank. This is among the top if not the most important tip to boosting your SEO. The tips given above including an accurate listing and high response rate are two ways to receive high ratings. Don’t be discouraged if you get negative feedback, this happens to all hosts and all you can do is your best as a host.

 

Reasons Airbnb Is Good For the Local Economy

Airbnbs have been quickly growing in popularity in recent years and therefore have left an impact on in cities where they are popular. Airbnbs have proven to be beneficial for not only the local economy but also for its citizens. In this blog we will explore reasons Airbnb is good for the local economy and its citizens.

Reasons Airbnb Benefits the Local Economy
Reasons Airbnb Benefits the Local Economy

Local economy

According to Airbnb, 74% of properties are located outside of the main hotel district. Of the large majority of Airbnbs located outside of main hotel districts, 42% of guest spending is done in the neighborhoods where they stayed. Therefore, BnB rental directly benefits the local economy. Some examples of Airbnbs positive impact are in cities such as San Francisco, New York and Paris. San Francisco conducted a study in 2012, that found that Airbnb generates approximately $56 million in local spending and supports 430 jobs in San Francisco. Between 2012-2013, over 400,000 Airbnb guests visited New York. In one year, Airbnb generated $632 million in economic activity in the city. This included $105 million in direct spending in the outer boroughs. As for Paris 10,000 hosts housed over 223,000 guests, primarily renting the homes in which they live.

Hosts & Guests

Airbnbs are beneficial for hosts and for guests staying at the vacation rental. For guests, 79% of travelers want to explore a specific neighborhoods. 91% of travelers want to “live like a local”. Airbnb reported that hosting has helped make ends meet for many families. BnBs have helped 53% of families stay in their home and helped 48% of families pay for expenses such as groceries and rent. Of the total guest spending that was found for the research in San Francisco, $12.7 million goes directly to local host households. Hosts in New York see much more activity in outer boroughs, which are areas that do not typically benefit from tourism spending. In Paris, almost half of hosts stated that they rely on Airbnb income to pay for household expenses. 

Cleaners

Airbnb benefits local cleaners in many different ways. By cleaners having the option of vacation rental cleaning, they have opportunity of fair pay and a wider option of jobs. Cleaners have only the option of working for a hotel or a cleaning company without the option of BnBs. Hotels have a set pay for their cleaners, which may not be as much as cleaners could make through AirBnBs. By having the option of AirBnB, these cleaners have the option to work on their own. They can choose what rentals they wish to conduct business. Through TurnoverBnB cleaners have the option to connect with vacation rental hosts in their area.

Dos and Don’ts: Social Media and Traveling

When traveling, of course you’re going to want to share all your fantastic experiences with everyone you know. Luckily, social media has allowed us to share more personal content than ever before. Post your feelings on Twitter, share your amazing photos on Instagram, and find new places you “like” on Facebook. The possibilities are endless! With all this available content, it’s important to know the right way of going about “sharing” your content. Follow these tips for proper social media etiquette!

social media travel

Hashtags are Key for Social Media

Although Twitter is the motherland of these, big social media players like Instagram and Facebook base many of their functions on the use of hashtags. In fact, Instagram now has an option that allows you to follow specific hashtags. They’ve become the best way for your content to be found: people look up specific content, and many of the platforms’ “explore/discover” pages are tailored to the hashtags people post.

It’s a public service to use hashtags that pertain to the post. If you’re on a mountain, appropriate hashtags are #mountain, #outdoors, #hike. Don’t use #healthyliving or #beach, as it may obscure the purpose of the post. Also, use simple hashtags to reach a larger audience. The more specific the hashtag, the less useful it will be. For example, if you’re trying some sushi in Japan called sake nigiri – or salmon – don’t use #sakenigiri, simply use #sushi.

Don’t overuse or abuse hashtags, though. Be mindful and conservative about this. You can separate your caption from your hashtags by making some space between the two so they don’t clutter your post.

 

Tagging Other Social Media Travelers

Being recognized by people with a large following can be a great way to boost your own content. Sometimes they’ll share your posts on their own with a “shoutout”, sometimes they’ll offer a collaboration or other opportunities. Don’t clutter your whole post with too many tags. This can come of as not authentic and (sometimes) desperate. The easy connection through a social media platform connects you to well-known people easily.

Important: use this power appropriately. Don’t overtag an individual or use social media as a way that violates user comfort or preference.

 

Be Mindful of your Vacation Destination

What you DON’T want to do is trivialize the experience you’re having. A popular social media figure recently got in deep trouble because of the desensitized content they posted. When traveling to new places, go with an open mind. Be aware of your surroundings, and don’t expect everywhere to be how you’re used to. After your trip, check several times to make sure your content is the most appropriate for your audience. I once saw a review of travelers who went to Spain and experienced “too many foreigners” (true story)…

Don’t Send Me Your Location

Think about the most beautiful places you’ve been to. What was it like? Was it a beach with hardly any people? A city with unique culture? A hike with a beautiful ocean view and green scenery? Social media gives you the option to tag wherever you may go. And of course you want other people to find and experience such wonders! Google Maps and other GPS-type platforms allow people to find these kinds of places with ease.

However, more human traffic can bring about some changes. More people traveling to a city might provoke large companies to set up shop there, diluting the uniqueness of the area. When it comes to hikes or beaches, more people can bring more trash and more destruction to the surrounding environment.

To keep these places clean, Instead of tagging the specific location, tag the general area of the place. For example, if you happen to find a beautiful coastal site in Oregon, trying tagging “Oregon Coast” instead of the actual place you happen to be. Or if you go on a great hike on Kaua’i, tag “Kaua’i” instead of the hike. If people directly ask you where the place is, then telling them is to your discretion.

 

Know Your Content and Your Audience

Most importantly, what you post says a lot about your character. Posting a lot of content of food, you’ll be seen as a food enthusiast. Emphasizing exercise, you’ll be seen as a fitness nut. If you post about your friends vomiting after a night out or a typical Las Vegas evening… you know what people are likely to view you as.

Also be aware of the impact you can have on people. More than ever, you can see how much influence one individual has in 140 (now 280) characters. Social media has become a major part of our daily lives and that trend will only continue forward. Make sure you post in a way that affects society, the public, and your audience the way you would like.

The Best Ways to Travel with A Family

If you have a family, you know that traveling and sharing experiences together is more of a treasure than anything else in life. Much like a gold coin, though, there are two sides. Wrangling the children or accommodating to your partner’s desires can be a stressful, nearly daunting task. But why should a trip or vacation be a task? Equip yourself with the proper knowledge to plan your next family vacation pleasurable and stress-free.

family

Planning

Plan and Book Ahead

Usually, you can save a ton of money by making reservations early. You’ll save time and stress on the trip, too. Planning the first couple days of the trip can lift a heavy weight off the entire family’s shoulders: you’ll have a place to stay and predetermined places to eat.

Of course, the actual traveling is the part most parents dread. You can avoid a lot of the stress by packing travel snacks, making sure there’s sufficient entertainment for the kids (i.e. movies on a tablet or laptop), and comfortable accessories that will help keep you, your partner, and your kids well-rested for the ensuing days of fun. If you experience travel delays (layovers, delayed flights); books, work, homework, and games can be a great way to pass the time.

Pack Light

“Do we have everything we need?” The one question asked before every departure from the house. Of course, plan accordingly. You don’t want to forget the essentials (especially the diapers, if you have little ones). Make sure the list is solid at least a week ahead of your planned trip.

What would it be like to shorten this list, though? More than likely, you’ll be able to buy some cleaning supplies at your destination. Hotels and other lodgings provide guests amenities for convenience in addition to a memorable experience. In other cases, you’ll be able to rent some equipment like bikes or strollers for the youngsters.

When it comes to things you CAN’T buy (or too expensive to), pack versatile options. For example, clothes can fall into this category. If you’re heading to an island or beach destination, board shorts and flip-flops are can be used at diners, downtown areas, small hikes, and (of course), beaches. When it comes to children, it can be easier to find clothes they’ll be willing to wear more than once, in turn lightening your luggage. If you pack efficiently, you may be able to pack individual bags into larger ones, reducing the number to 3 bag for 5 people.

 

Family First

Where Does the Family Want to Go?

It will help you immensely to find out what your partner and kids want out of a trip. Unlike a boss or other superior, it is not too difficult to ask your family some questions. Naturally, you won’t be able to meet your children’s high expectations. But you can make realistic plans that will give them a memorable experience. Don’t forget your own preferences, too, since the trip is meant for all to enjoy.

What does the Family Need?

Obviously there are plenty of options in terms of property when going on vacation. To determine the best fit for your family, take a look at what each option provides. For example, when my family came to visit me on O’ahu we stayed in a quaint little cottage on the North Shore. Although not a very spacious building, it offered kayaks, surfboards, and prime proximity to a beach – perfect for myself and college-aged siblings and friends. Younger children may not want to be confined to a small room either – ample yard area may be what you’re looking for. If that’s not what you’re looking for, try vacation rental apartments: they’re more equipped for larger families.

On the other hand, maybe you’d like the family to have an upscale, all-inclusive experience. Poolside amenities, entertainment, the whole nine yards. In that case, you’d be better off with a suite of some kind that offers multiple rooms, especially with a bigger family. Paying the little extra will go a long way for comfortability. Sometimes you can find great family deals, so keep an eye out.

Financials

Budgets and Frugality – The Name of the Game

MAKE A BUDGET. The sense of security this gives you cannot be stressed enough. This applies to all trips, not just ones with younger kids. I went on a trip with my mom and brothers recently to Mexico, and the fact that we had planned on spending “X” amount of dollars made the whole experience enjoyable. We weren’t worrying about how much we had to save or spend in particular places or on particular things. Also, from personal experience, minimizing food costs by planning ahead provides HIGH savings.

As I said before, you may need to accommodate your family with a larger space. If you plan this ahead, you know exactly how much you’ll be spending and can adjust accordingly. This is true for car rentals, meals out, etc.

Another money saving tip – enroll in loyalty/reward programs. Mileage plans for airlines, enrollment in travel services (i.e. AAA), and shared property can greatly reduce overall expenditures. On that same Mexico trip, I didn’t have to pay a dime for my flight because we were able to use our mileage plan points. Our resort room was also highly discounted because of our rewards program.

 

Be Appreciative

The most important part of any trip is to enjoy yourself. Although it may seem like work, planning a trip should be enjoyable as you’re seeing what kinds of memories you will make in the future. Make sure you have a great camera (or whatever your preference) to capture some of these memories. Slow down, relax, and be flexible. Children can offer so many enjoyable surprises, so go in with the proper attitude and open mind. After all, we travel to experience new places, cultures, foods, and ideas. What better way to create strong familial relationships?