When it comes to traveling, it’s common that travelers pick one destination and one mode of transportation to get there. Whether it’s going on a cruise, going to Disney World, or just spending a few days at a family getaway house, only one is picked. From there, that’s the way families goes about their business. What if a family wants to do multi-destination vacation? This sounds demanding and complicated, yes? Yes it can be, but it doesn’t have to be. What epochal notes should families follow when on multi-destination vacations? Before notes can be made, here’s a recent traveling experience involving two brothers from New Jersey. Good times were had, but valuable lessons were learned.

Late April, two brothers went on a ten-day vacation to Florida. Their itinerary-to stay in Disney World for two days and then sail on the Disney Wish on a four-day Bahamian cruise. Post-cruise, they were going to rent a car in Port Canaveral and drive to their family getaway house in the Tampa suburbs. The vacation went well, but it had its bumps in the road. Having landed at Orlando International Airport on a late flight, their bus ride on Mears Connect unnecessarily took two hours to get to their destination, Disney’s Old Key West Resort. It was an extremely disappointing ride experience. Note: When taking a late flight into Orlando, it’s best to call Uber or Lyft. It will save a significant amount of time; the amount of time which one should be at the resort unpacking and going to sleep. Having done so, and waking up feeling rejuvenated is certainly putting the right foot forward.

Over the next two days, the two brothers spent their time at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot. In between, they went for a joy ride on Disney’s Skyliner, commuting from one park to the other. It’s the best mode of transportation on the resort property which Disney has added since the monorail. During their stay, the two brothers did something which saved them money at the end. Christmas time, the two brothers each received two Disney gift cards. Each of the gift cards were of $100.00 value. At the end of their stay at Disney’s Old Key West Resort, one of the brothers used his two gift cards towards their room charge bill. They slashed their room charge balance by $200.00. Come 3 am, when their room account closed out, the $200.00 cut was official. It was off to Port Canaveral for their cruise aboard the Disney Wish. On board the Disney Wish, the older brother used his two $100.00 Disney gift cards towards the stateroom charge balance. Another $200.00 saved! Note: Before staying at a Disney resort or embarking on a Disney cruise, it pays to purchase a gift card of whatever value and use it towards the room charge bill. It’s what they call, “Paying it forward”.

After disembarking from the Disney Wish and clearing through US Customs, it was time for the two brothers to catch their shuttle van to their car rental. With their bags loaded in the back of their rental car, they were off to their Tampa getaway in the suburb of San Antonio. Despite a wonderful cruise experience, the younger brother came down with a horrific chest cold. The Disney Wish was chock-full at 4,600 guests, including 1,200 little ones. His chest cold must have come from one of them. Such illness symptoms are common after a cruise. The brothers were caught totally off-guard, not having any off-the-shelf medications necessary for this scenario. Unfortunately, due to his chest cold and developing a horrific cough, the two brothers were forced to forgo their visit to Busch Gardens-Tampa Bay. It wasn’t the way the trip was supposed to conclude, but keeping it safe was better than being sorry. Note: Knowing that cruises involve more than four thousand guests in close quarters, it pays to have plenty of DayQuil, NyQuil, Advil Liqui-gels, and a container of Vitamin C tablets or gummies packed in the carry-on baggage. There should be no need to scramble to find necessary items after-the-fact.

Saving the best for last, the brothers faced a sizeable difficulty during the course of their trip. Whether they were souvenir shopping in Disney World, duty-free shopping on board the Disney Wish, or doing last minute shopping in the Tampa area, they ran into a huge snag. What was it? The two brothers each each packed a small roll-on suitcase. When packing to disembark the Disney Wish or packing to fly home to New Jersey, they had to squeeze items into their suitcases. It seemed as if they underestimated their packing. They kept their packing light to make life easy for them, but even having done that, shopping still made packing a challenge. Yes, they had a washer and dryer available at their Old Key West villa, on board the Disney Wish, and in their Tampa suburban getaway house, but doing laundry didn’t solve the problem. The younger brother said, “We’re gonna have to check our bags at the gate!”. His suitcase was full to the brim, with all the side compartments filled. It was a full flight. Miraculously, neither of the brothers had to gate check their bags. A huge sigh of relief, indeed! Note: In the event of a multi-destination trip, there is no harm in gate checking luggage if space in the overhead compartment becomes a concern. Further, there’s no harm in paying the fee for checking luggage at the airport. As long as a traveler isn’t packing heavily, checking one suitcase is nothing to worry about.

It’s late Spring. Summer is peaking around the corner. The traveling bug is in full-swing. It’s that time for families to spread their wings and do things they’ve never done before. Further, it’s a time for families to do things in ways they’ve never thought before. One of those things is going on multi-destination vacations. Unlike a vacation with one or two destinations planned, three pushes the envelope. It pays to be super prepared and go about things in ways never thought before. The unforeseen circumstances can be unimaginable. With multi-destination vacations, it pays to imagine the unimaginable. In the event of taking a late flight, it pays to have the Uber or Lyft app ready. Getting to the destination with time to spare and being ready to face the day goes a long way. Secondly, spending to save down the road is key. Prior to traveling, it pays to purchase one or two gift cards for the destination to cut back on the expenses. Again, it “Paying it forward” goes a long way. Prior to any cruise, it’s vital to stock up on off-the-shelf medications and health-related items to help combat illness symptoms. Finally, it’s paramount to be open to gate checking luggage. If bags look heavy and not worthy of hustling on board the plane, they’re best being handled by the professionals on the tarmac. Above all, multi-destination vacations require thinking outside the box. Doing so makes the traveling experience essentially worthwhile.

About Author

David Kriso has been a travel writer since August 2011. He is a contributing writer for both of his hometown's newspapers, The Gazette, and The Observer. His articles focus on cruise and railroad travel. David is also published online at ProwsEdge.com, a cruise magazine based in Vancouver, Canada and at Amtrak's story site, Whistlestop.Amtrak.com. David also writes for the publication Examiner.com. On Examiner.com, he writes about cruise and rail travel. David is a long-time train traveler, avid cruiser, and a Disney traveler since age 4.

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