I'm curious about what all you other parents bring along for the weekends away (also trying to refresh my memory!). The things that work for you, tricks you've learned, that sort of thing.

For me, besides the obvious chair, umbrella and coolers (one for me with wheels and a small one for the player with her water and a cold washcloth), my #1 priority is getting a mini-fridge in my room. That's not always possible but it is so helpful when I am the lucky one. I can re-freeze the ice packs I left home with. We all know the ice wars that go on, so the corollary is getting a room NOT by the ice machines so you don't get woken up to ice traffic before dawn.

It's also good to avoid the elevators. The fact is, kids are going to be roaming the halls and if you've got the early game and are trying to sleep, it's going to be hard. I have a white noise app on my phone that really helps drown out hallway noise.

I don't like to use plastic water bottles, partly because I've heard that when they sit in a hot car, they leach chemicals into the water. I buy gallons of spring water, lug them into the room, and fill reusable bottles for the day.

My daughter is not a big breakfast eater and I am not a chipper morning person so we bring breakfast with us. Usually muffins, yogurt and fruit, and I make the coffee in the room. I've found grapes to be the best fruit to travel with. Melon is only good the first day unless you're really careful and don't let it get squished in transit.

I bring packets of trail mix from Costco, some yogurt if I know we'll get that fridge, and Pringles because the cannisters prevent crushing. Whatever else is around the house and looks like it can travel without causing a huge mess and/or getting ruined comes too.

As for traffic, we are all screwed living on LI. I now am far more familiar than I'd like to be with alternate routes. <grimace> I will recommend a new traffic/nav app. It's called Waze and users input data as they go along, so you get real-time traffic and alerts to road hazards: cops, debris, accidents, cars on the shoulder, construction, etc. It's a power-suck though, so keep your phone charging as you go and make sure to shut it off when you're done using it.

If you're traveling with a teenager, as I am, good luck and God bless. LOL