How We…Plan Summer Vacations

 Hey Everyone!

I’m pretty sure I say this every month, but once again…it’s one of my favorite days of the month.  The time when Shay and I host our How We… link-up!  The hope is for us to share HOW WE, you guys share how you, and we can all learn a little from each other.


I’ve gotta be honest.  Since becoming a travel agent, I think about vacation destinations ALL THE TIME!  Tab would completely agree with that statement.  😉

I’m sure every family has some criteria when making out their vacation plans.  Here’s how we do it in our family…

As much as I wish I didn’t have one of these, we do.  ha!  We tend to look at our vacation money as a whole for the year.  So, if we’ve done a big Spring Break trip, then we’ll take a less expensive summer vacation or vice versa.  As much as I’d like to check all the destinations off my list, budget comes first. We have to prioritize where we want to go with the money we have set aside.

When we decide on destinations, we then figure out the best time for us to go…winter break, Spring Break, summer, etc.  We also research the best times to visit that area and hopefully, it aligns with when we can visit!  Our Disney Land and Sea trip due to scheduling and temperatures just made more sense for us during Spring Break.  

And our Vail/Denver Spring Break 2017 was the same way…scheduling and weather made this trip work the best in March.

This 2016 Disney Cruise as well, BUT it’d also make a great vacation in the summer months.

(Kind of goes along with scheduling)
This is gonna also speak to coaches’ families…ha!  Not a typical thing most people are thinking about when planning trips, I’m sure.  Tab typically finds out the week after all football games are over and bowl games have been announced when and if he’s officiating a bowl game.  We kind of have to play the “what-if” game when it comes to budgeting and such with trips around football.  We keep that in mind when planning for summer vacations.  Again, something most people aren’t thinking about I’m sure, but I’m keeping it real!  🙂  In 2017 when we got Tab’s assignment and looked at our kiddos’ school schedule, we realized we had a week to work with to hit the slopes. We booked our Colorado Ski Trip super last minute in December last year. 

We oftentimes get to check cities off our box due to a football game Tab has.  We can turn a game into a little getaway and get to visit places like…Atlanta, Georgia.

Well, more importantly on that trip…Stars Hollow.  🙂

If you’re like us {and don’t live super close to most of your family}, we can turn a little long-distance family meet up into a little vacation.  There I go checking more places off my invisible box.  😉  Last year over Thanksgiving we had a quick little vacation in Branson, Missouri.  Growing up, this was our go-to vaca spot being just about four hours from my hometown.

Tab and I try to have a nice mix of grown-up trips without kids and family trips.  Like to Park City last year in 2017, we left the kiddos at home and made it adult-only with the Shulls.


We keep all of those things in mind when planning our summer vacations…are we doing other little trips throughout the year, what’s the budget like, how much time do we have, etc. and then we make our plans.

A super memorable summer vacation was our week in Mexico.

One of our favorite summer destinations are the white, sandy beaches of Florida.  We’ve vacationed in a variety of spots in the Destin area and are looking forward to adding another trip to our books in just a few weeks.

I pretty much always have a running list going of places I’d like to visit.  Tab and I discuss periodically and we’re also getting input from the kids.  A few spots on my immediate bucket list (if you’re like me, I have a bucket list for a variety of kiddos’ ages)…

*Marcos Island, Florida (I was just chatting with some friends about this at the pool on Monday)  We’re big Marriott fans and Marriott resort there looks so nice.  I’ve heard great things!

*Hilton Head, South Carolina (Southern Charm has me wanting to go ASAP!-ha!)

*California Spots with the kiddos…Tab and I have been several times, but the kids haven’t.

*New England-I’d love to do this in the fall but football makes a fall trip SO tough.  My kiddos had an absolute blast in NYC so we want to hit some other spots on the East Coast eventually.

*Yellowstone, Yosemite, and Grand Canyon-if you’ve done any of these trips with your family, please share what age is too young, in your opinion?  How old should Britt be?

*Europe-of course, I’m adding this one to the list.

And I could go on and on, but I’ll stop there.  🙂  I’m telling you trips are on my mind constantly and a huge part of that is due to Mix and Match Travel.  I love talking to families about vacation destinations and helping them plan a fabulous getaway. 

What about YOU?  What’s on your family’s vacation destination bucket list?  And how do you decide where your family is heading on vacation?

If you blogged, please link-up with us and be sure to join us next month when we chat about motivating our kids.  Happy Wednesday!

See you tomorrow!

Leave a Comment


  1. 6.13.18
    Eileen said:

    Hilton Head is our favorite! We go every summer (and I went for many years as a kid).

  2. 6.13.18
    Erika Slaughter said:

    Eileen, I love hearing that! It's on our list! 🙂

  3. 6.13.18
    Meagan @ The Clanahan Fam said:

    Hilton Head is THE BEST!!! You guys would love that – you can ride bikes everywhere, too!

  4. 6.13.18
    Heather McCaskill said:

    Just so you know…..Charleston and Hilton Head are about two hours apart so if you're wanting more where Southern Charm is I would stay towards Charleston rather than Hilton Head.

  5. 6.13.18
    Mix and Match Mama said:

    My brain too…can't shut off the planning! Hahaha! Your post has me wanting to go to the beach. Stat!

  6. 6.13.18
    tera said:

    I took pictures for a friend at the Marriott on Marco Island last month and it is amazing!

  7. 6.13.18
    Erika Slaughter said:

    Meagan…THANK YOU for saying that! Slaughters need to check it out STAT!

    Heather…thank you! Charleston is on my list too, just for this reason! ha! But, the crew recently took a trip to Hilton Head and I was a big fan of it all. 🙂

    Mix and Match Mama…I'm so ready!

    Tera…great to know! I've heard such great things!

  8. 6.13.18
    Laura Ammons said:

    We've gone to Hilton Head since I was a little girl. It's close to Charleston and Savannah which I highly recommend as well!

  9. 6.13.18
    reilly davis said:

    we stayed at the marriott resort in Marco Island and it was AMAZING! highly recommend it!

  10. 6.13.18
    brookerichardson said:

    Alright adding some of these places I’ve never thought much about on my list to check out. I’m guna come back to this post later too! We loved our trip to New Hampshire beach and Boston a few years ago.

  11. 6.13.18
    Sheaffer {Pinterest Told Me To} said:

    I've heard great things about Marco Island too!

  12. 6.13.18
    Unknown said:

    Rush Creek Lodge at Yosemite is the absolute BEST for kids. We took ours this past Thanksgiving and it was fantastic! Britt would be a little young unless she likes to be carried around in a backpack! Yosemite is breathtaking!

  13. 6.13.18
    Anonymous said:

    Charleston is on our list too!! I loved reading this—it’s so fun to think about travel!!

  14. 6.13.18
    Amy said:

    My family would take trips to national parks when I was growing up all the time! We did Mt. Rushmore when I was about 8, and Yellowstone when I was 10. It's great because I remember fun things about those trips, but I also plan to go back and relive it again! I think your kiddos would still enjoy because they are great landmarks! Areas around Yellowstone have so much exploring and fun kid activities. All the National Parks have Junior Ranger Badges which kids can get by answering questions and talking to Park Rangers, and I have about 10 from my childhood going to national parks!

  15. 6.13.18
    ANDY and DANIELLE said:

    We are stationed in Phoenix with the Air Force and have been up to the Grand Canyon twice. The first time my girls were three and one. This last time my kids were 7, 5, 3 and 1. It's family friendly with a paved walking trail, smallish visitors center and gift shop. There is also Bearizona, about 1 1/2 hour away. Flagstaff is fun. You can also take the train from Williams to the Grand Canyon. It's obviously all super busy in the summer, but a must see!

  16. 6.13.18
    Emily said:

    It’s been years since I’ve been to Marco Island, but what I remember was the beaches were so shelly it wasn’t super fun. Hurt feet to walk, less playing for kids, etc. I would maybe recommend that one as an adult only trip just so you don’t have disappointed kids.

    HHI is a must!! It is the perfect family beach vacation. I highly recommend renting a place in Sea Pines neighborhood and renting bikes. They have great bike paths, beach access, horses, golf, restaurants, etc. You can buy day passes to go in there but it is the best spot IMO.You can’t go to HHI without going to the salty dog cafe and their T-shirt shop. Our grandmother lived there so it was where we stayed. We are trying out the Westin for the first time this summer so can report back in how it is compared to staying in Sea Pines. Our favorite restaurant there is a Lowcountry Backyard and Truffles.

  17. 6.13.18
    AllieP said:

    Have fun in the destin area! I keep trying to convince my husband we need to go back. (he worked in Panama City Beach for 6 months or so). When you go to Marco make sure to pop over to Naples, it is a very cute town with excellent dining options. Naples might be a good option for a date night out.

  18. 6.13.18
    TSB said:

    My dad lived in Hilton Head for over 25 years and I actually attended half of my sophmore year of high school there. It's beautiful and family friendly – a great place to visit.

    The bay area is a great place to visit! My family has lived here over 13 years now, but we had such fun as a young family discovering this area when our boys were little. Northern and southern California are quite different from one another. There is so much to see and do here and the weather is amazing!

  19. 6.13.18
    Maureen said:

    We are a military family and we structure our travel around our assignments! When we lived in Germany, we saw most of Europe. When we lived in hawaii, we saw all the islands and Australia. Now we live in Sri Lanka and are seeing as much of Asia as possible. Already took the kids (10, 8, and 3.5) to India and Cambodia. This summer will hit up Thailand, Vietnam, and Hong Kong! One day when we are old and gray we will see more of mainland USA. Haha.

  20. 6.13.18
    Bren said:

    Hi Erika – I read all the time, but never post. 🙂 We have visited South Dakota (Mount Rushmore, etc.) twice – once for a full week and the other on our way to Yellowstone. Both were family favorite trips, but complete opposite from our other love – traveling somewhere with a beach or WDW. Both trips out west required a great deal of driving as there's so much area to explore, though we stopped often to visit the sites. We have three kids and our youngest was 8 the first time we headed west, the older two were 11 and 13 and it was perfect. Driving through Yellowstone – we made sure everyone had a window seat as there was sooo much to see and look at and look for (looking for bears, wolves, you name it). I love reading all the posts here and love these travel posts for ideas! Thanks!

  21. 6.13.18
    Therese said:

    My family did Yellowstone and Grand Teton two years ago. The kids were 5 and 7 at the time and it was awesome. Everyone continues to say it was the best trip ever! There's lots of walking and driving in the car so I would make sure your kids are old enough to walk (or light enough to be carried) and can see out the car windows. The Jr. Ranger program at National Parks is awesome as well and a great way to keep kids interested. My kids have earned 5 in 2 years. Yellowstone and Grand Teton were planned. Statue of Liberty in NYC and Klondike Gold Rush and Tongass National Forest in Alaska were by chance b/c we happened upon them.

  22. 6.13.18
    Jen, Brian, Drew, and Jack said:

    When will you be in Destin? We will be there July 7-14! Would LOVE to meet you and your cute fam in person. 🙂

  23. 6.13.18
    jthmas said:

    We took our three old to Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, and Grand Canyon. She did great! And we didn't even have a hiking carrier for her. If you took a carrier, it would be easy breezy!

  24. 6.13.18
    ahbaker11 said:

    Hi Erika! You all take the best trips! We LOVE Hilton Head and are headed there this summer as we have missed it the past few summers. It's such a beautiful place and we enjoy riding bikes everywhere. (We stay on Palmetto Dunes.) We are also doing a trip to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons, and a few other stops out there as well this summer! Our daughter is 14 and we have been traveling with her since she was born. We did Colorado, Wyoming and South Dakota a couple years ago (Co. Springs, Estes National Park, Boulder, and we drove up to Mt. Rushmore and did that area for a few days and that was awesome!) Another great trip for the kids is Williamsburg, VA. It's so wonderful there-educational and fun! (We stayed at Kingsmill Resort there and that was awesome!) We are big Disney people too! Another fun trip we did last summer with our whole family was we went to San Francisco, CA and spent some time there and then moved on to Lake Tahoe, NV. We didn't need a car in San Fran so we rented it after our stay there and drove to Tahoe (Stay at the Landing – fabulous!). Sorry for my rambling! I always want to comment to you and Shay, but always get to shy to do so! I am going out on a limb today LOL! 🙂 Happy Summer!

  25. 6.13.18
    Anneka said:

    We've done Yellowstone and actually got engaged at the Grand Canyon when we were visiting my brother. Our engagement are amazing. My daughter my 1 when we went to Yellowstone and I would highly recommend all kids be able to walk and also be in forward facing car seats so they can see out .There's a lot of fun walking trails and fun drives. For the GC, I highly recommend all kids be old enough to listen and stay far away from the edge! The thought of taking my toddlers there gives me anxiety, because they're really are a lot of places to fall off. But, it's beautiful and definitely a fun place to visit.

  26. 6.13.18
    Amanda @ That Inspired Chick said:

    Stars Hollow!! I still want to see it so bad!! Also all those other places you mentioned too of course. 😉 Hilton Head is near the top of my list!!
    That Inspired Chick

  27. 6.13.18
    Kristen Thompson said:

    My parents just retired to Marco Island Florida and it’s gorgeous!! We stayed at the Marriott before their house was built and it was the nicest hotel I’ve ever stayed in! It’s super kid friendly and the island is so clean and peaceful!!

  28. 6.13.18
    Unknown said:

    You would love Kiawah Island better than Hilton Head, less crowed and still all the fun things Hilton Head has to offer, plus it's really close to Hilton Head and you can spend a day over there. If you go to Charleston make sure you do the garden tour, you can see a peak of Patricia's house 🙂

  29. 6.13.18
    Unknown said:

    Low country South Carolina is beautiful anywhere you go! HHI would definitely be fun, but if you want to see Southern Charm things (Patricia's house, JD's restaurant, Ravenel Bridge, cast members if you're lucky, etc.) definitely head to Charleston!! We go to Fripp Island, a smaller/quieter/less developed version of Hilton Head, every year and take our boat out to Savannah, Daufuskie (where they rode horses), Beaufort, you could even trek up to Charleston. Also, if you go out on the water… go dolphin watching for sure! No matter where you go in the low country it is gorgeous… just be sure to look for sharks teeth and pretty shells on the beach!

  30. 6.13.18
    Unknown said:

    I haven’t ever been to Hilton Head but Charleston was so charming and fun! We had a great time there!

  31. 6.13.18
    Unknown said:

    I would definitely wait in Yellowstone! It’s an amazing and beautiful place but you spend a decent amount of time in the car. We took our only kid (at the time) when he was 7. He was plenty old for it then. I highly suggest if you can going in the off season. After Labor Day and before Memorial Day. You have to be careful with the weather but there are so many less people there! Trust me, when you’re passing buffalo and there’s a ton of people it takes FOREVER 🤦🏽‍♀️!

  32. 6.13.18
    a mix about me said:

    Marco island is my favorite spot in Florida! The beaches are great so much to see, we rented scooters and got to explore the island which was fun! We felt safe the entire time! Also Siesta Key is another favorite beach of mine!

  33. 6.13.18
    Laura said:

    I got married at that Marriott in Marco Island back in December. It is just as beautiful as it looks!

  34. 6.14.18
    Unknown said:

    Connecticut is amazing. We have a beach house in Okd Saybrook and it’s my favorite place to go.

  35. 6.14.18
    Vanessa said:

    Hi Erika,
    We just returned 2 weeks ago from Yellowstone and Grand Teton…it was beautiful! We have a 2.5 year old and he loved it…he keeps talking about the mountains! We just used a carrier for when we were hiking. For us it was cheapest to fly to Salt Lake City (from Fort Lauderdale) and then drive. We actually stayed in and explored Idaho falls ( such a cute little city) we went into West Yellowstone in Montana and then into the parks. Our base was in victor, Idaho (the cutest little town that was only about 20 miles from Teton village. You gotta check out the Finn and Feather Inn!
    Everything about that trip was awesome!
    We live not far from Marco Island (1.5 hrs) and it’s nice…another place to check out is sanibel/captiva island…so beautiful.
    We are heading to HHI for thanksgiving this year. Our plan is to visit Charleston also. Last thanksgiving we went to savannah, Charleston and Beaufort, SC… if you head to HHI…all those places are within close driving distance and must see/do areas!

  36. 6.14.18
    Catie said:

    We took our kids to the Grand Canyon last year at ages 8, 8, and 3 and it tops the list as one of our most favorite trips (and we travel A LOT)! I just did a lot of research and planning ahead of time and rented a stroller at the GC for my 3 year old. That way I didn’t have to travel with one and I could keep him strapped in as needed. Most of the paths are paved. After several days at the GC we drove to Sedona and fell in love!! We did the bumpiest/ scariest pink jeep tour and had a BLAST (I have 3 boys and my husband owns a Jeep ;)). They have car seats for young children so my 3 yo was fine! We also picked cathedral rock to hike in sedona but there are so many other great places too!!

    Also, if you are going to be visiting HHI and Charleston then don’t miss the real gem in between- Beaufort.

  37. 6.14.18
    Sam said:

    As a wife to a coach, I totally get your struggle booking during the busy season! I've found that I've been able to take my kids on some fun vacations with their grandparents while their dad is busy coaching. It's a win-win for everyone. Then we book another trip or two around his schedule.

    Love hearing your travel ideas!

  38. 6.14.18
    Mary Deckert said:

    We've stayed at the Marriott Resort in Marco Island many times and just love it.

  39. 6.15.18
    Darcy said:

    We did an adult trip to Marco Island last winter and LOVED IT!! We're booked again for next year. Most relaxing vacation I have ever been on. You need to do the Black Hills/Mount Rushmore with your kids also. They would love it.

  40. 6.16.18
    StephC said:

    We took our family camping in Yellowstone in early June years ago and it snowed, so I would not recommend going that early. The weather is best in July & August. Lots of things to see!

  41. 6.20.18
    Chrissy said:

    I grew up going to Marco Island every single year and staying at the Marriott! I LOVED it! There were so many pools, the beach, PLUS a mini golf course right at the resort! I know your kids would have a BALL!