|KIDS, TRAVEL AND YOU - PART 1: PLANNING
|Central Park Break Dancers (Editorial Use)|
|Fair in Central Park, NYC (Editorial Use)|
1. Be the adults
When you plan a family trip, take charge as the adults. A family vote is nice, but too much leeway towards the kids can lead to issues when they become teens.
Although each activity optimistically should appeal to everyone, realistically, that may not be possible. Remind kids, "We did something you liked last night, tonight is your brother's choice and we will all be fair and participate." If this is standard procedure in your family lifestyle, this should not be a problem. But if this is something new, then you have to start this policy months before the actual trip. Establish your standards, rules, guidelines and boundaries long before you are on the road.
|Bicycling in Cape Cod (Editorial Use)|
2. Prep and Plan with the Kids
Prepare your children about the destination. Prep them by eating at a restaurant locally that serves the food you will find; visit a museum exhibit, watch travel shows on TV, cable or the internet; watch a popular movie that has the locations you are going to see.
Emphasize the financial part of planning a trip. For the big dream trips, remind them that a few sacrifices have to be made. Let them start their own fund. Then they can manage their own spending money on the trip. Set boundaries before they get there: "everyone will get one souvenir in this price range and one treat."
|Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, VA, near Colonial Williamsburg, a good family trip (Editorial Use)|
3. Plan with the Kids in Mind...
I have found out that kids will embrace new experiences if you are excited about them. But also, I will plan activities with a kid slant. This calls for doing a little homework and research in advance.
4. ...Plan for some Grown-Up Time
Kids should also know that at some point there will be grown-up time. Resorts will arrange for a child sitter. Plan your fun around the kids activities on cruises or at resorts. If you are traveling with more than one family, take turns watching the kids.
|Night time in Ogunquit, Maine, complete with trolley (Editorial Use)|
5. Pay attention to the lodging
In the USA, it seems as if the entire vacation industry understands you may have children with you. Resorts and hotels have pools, water slides, miniature golf, video games and references for child sitters. Cruise ships have kids clubs and adult only areas.
Other countries are a different story. For one thing, some European hotels call a child someone under 10. You may have to pay for more than one room. A great option is to rent an apartment while in Europe. Trip Advisor, HomeAway, Condo Direct and AirBnB are good sources. You will have the space at a decent price and the option to prepare meals. However, daily maid service is not an option (sorry!).
|Covered Bridge in New England (Editorial Use)|