All-Season Tips for Family Fun

Celebrating the Holidays... Away From Home

Posted on October 14, 2013

Many families put a new and exciting twist on their holiday experience by visiting a vacation destination. Consider the benefits: by shedding responsibilities you typically have at home, your family can relax and enjoy together time, not to mention the wealth of new experiences and availability of activities for all ages.

The Fabrega family from Florida discovered these benefits when they first spent the Christmas holidays at Smugglers’, enjoying the snowy ski slopes and village center that sparkles with white lights during the holidays. Parents John and Stacy had grown up in snowy states and wanted their children to experience a white Christmas. Stacy notes, “When away from home, the distractions and pressures are fewer. We get to spend real family time together. The days are simple, but that’s part of what is best about the time we spent at Smuggs. And being right at the slopes meant being able to jump up and do fun things on the spur of the moment.”

Families may wonder if they’ll be able to continue traditions established at home. Stacy initially shared that concern: “I was more hesitant than my husband John to leave home for the holidays. I was afraid that Christmas away wouldn’t feel the same and that our traditions would suffer.” The solution? The Fabregas tweaked their normal traditions to fit being away from home, and found new activities to enjoy. “We brought special holiday stockings for our time at Smuggs and had our traditional Christmas Eve –– minus the holiday plates. We loved gathering on the green in the snow singing Christmas carols, watching the fireworks and watching Santa arrive in the snow cat,” says Stacy.

As veterans of holiday travel, the Fabregas feel enjoying a holiday away from home means simplifying the experience without giving up what you love and involving the kids in deciding what is important in maintaining your holiday traditions. If sharing gifts, select gifts that can easily be transported. “Try to anticipate the unexpected,” adds Stacy, “and plan ahead.”

“Yes, plan ahead,” agrees Margie Preman, lodging manager at Smuggs. Preman and her staff of vacation planning professionals are experts at responding to holiday inquiries. “We understand that a holiday vacation is a very special time for families, and that the questions we get are often based on their desire to make sure that this will be a vacation to remember.”

Preman and her staff offer the following tips to families for successful holiday travels:

Make your reservation as early as you can. Arrangements should be made as soon as your family makes the decision to include travel in their holiday celebration. One advantage to early booking is that you'll have more flexibility if you want to request particular lodging or special activities as part of your family's vacation. A second advantage is that you’ll have plenty of time to research what’s available at the destination and enjoy a more relaxed planning process. For families making a last minute decision on their holiday stay, Preman advises that they still call their destination, saying, "you might be lucky and find last minute availability."

Feel free to call the resort with questions. A quality destination serves as the traveler's partner in planning, yet increasing numbers of travelers are booking their travel online and missing the wealth of information that can be shared by staff at their destination. Preman and her staff are happy to address a range of inquiries, from where to stop en route for a stretch or interesting attraction, to where to enjoy a holiday dinner.

Consider winter gear needs ahead of time. If space is not a problem, pack winter sports gear, which will save money and offer the comfort and ease of familiarity. If space is at a premium, pack your family's personal snow gear such as hats, mittens, snowboots and goggles. Ski or snowboard equipment can easily be rented and individually fit by resort gear technicians. Some resorts also rent winter jackets and snow pants in youth and adult sizes so that guests don’t have to worry about packing these necessary but bulky items. But make sure to ask; not every resort offers these kinds of rentals!

A well-planned holiday trip can yield lasting memories and be the basis for a new and fun-filled family tradition. You might even find that your travel destination has become your holiday home away from home!

Working together with the expert staff at Smugglers’ Notch Resort, as well as with the families that visit, Karen Boushie, Smugglers’ public relations director, serves as the lead content wrangler for “the view from up here.” If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact Karen at

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