Top 10 Tips For Traveling Families This Summer

With everyone gearing up to begin their family vacation, many parents are starting to feel the stress! Although traveling with kids brings an incredible amount of joy, it doesn’t come without some bumps along the way. Along with Mariott International Inc., Family travel expert, Emily Kaufman, The Travel Mom, put together the following tips and advice for those families getting ready to hit the road, sky or sea this summer!

1. Pick a vacation destination that really, truly offers something for every family member – Look for hotels, resorts and getaways that have a wide variety of activities; golf for dad, spa for mom, structured kid’s clubs for children.

2. Don’t overschedule your vacation – Our families are so busy.  We balance school, jobs, homework, sports, dance and other activities all the time. Vacation is a time to relax and enjoy the down time.

3. Kids are creatures of habit that don’t tell time – They know what is coming next because of the sequence, order and routine.  Even on vacation go through the same steps surrounding bed time, meal time and potty time so the children know what to expect.

4. If traveling with another family, be very clear about everyone’s vacation expectations before you leave Discuss how much time you plan to spend all together. Talk about all costs from meals to rental cars. Know if one team of parentsis going to stay with the kids one night and let the other parents have an adult night.

5. Be prepared! Arm yourself with information about the place you are planning to visit.  Most every city has a local visitor’s bureau, and their websites are loaded with information about the destination. Check out their sites to learn about family friendly activities, dining offers, special events and more.

6. Make a boredom bag for a car trip – Take a hanging travel cosmetic case and fill each pocket with age appropriate activities; things like books on tape, hand held electronic games and self contained craft kits. Hang it from the seat back in front of where your child is sitting.  This will keep everything organized and the young one from asking “are we there yet?”

7. Sneak in an educational experience – We are never too old to stop learning! Visit hands on, kid friendly museums, walk in the footsteps of history or take a trip to aquarium.  Learning can be lots of fun.

8. Be loyal – Credit card companies, airlines, hotels, cruise lines and rental cars all reward their most devoted customers with special perks, from free upgrades to amenities in their hotel room.  Some airlines don’t charge their premium members to check baggage and offer access to the most desired seats.

9. Disconnect to reconnect – Our families are so wired in with technology that we miss the chance to talk to each other.  Kids can stop texting, mom can stop with the cell phone and dad can stop with the Blackberry so the family can enjoy each other.

10. Make the internet your travel agent to save time and money – Purchase tickets to theme parks and other attractions online ahead of time, and print them before you leave.  That way you don’t waste valuable vacation time waiting in line to pay for admission.