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The tips provided are the sort of useful nuggets I would tell a good friend, suggestions designed to limit aggravation and enhance the enjoyment of a trip for all family members. After all, a successful family vacation requires careful planning and the cooperation of all family members. Here’s some general advice that goes a long way toward making your trips memorable for all the right reasons.

Golden Rules for Family Travel

  1. Meet the needs of the youngest family member. Your raft trip won’t be fun if you’re worried about your four-year-old being bumped overboard.
  2. Underplan. Forget about doing it all. It’s not how much of a destination you see, but how much you and your kids enjoy the sites.
  3. Go for the green spaces. Search out city parks, rails-to-trails paths, and playgrounds. Throw a Frisbee, play catch, or simply people-watch.
  4. Enlist the cooperation of your kids. Include your children in the decision-making by scheduling outings they want.
  5. Understand your rhythms of the road. Do you prefer traveling at night wen kids sleep in the car or on a plane, or in the morning so that you arrive before the late afternoon cranky hours?
  6. Spend time alone with each of your children. It can be as simple as taking your early-rising five-year-old with you to get breakfast or making sure to sit next to one child for a while so that the two of you can talk.
  7. Pack snacks. Hunger generates grouchiness for kids and adults. Take along what your family likes to eat.
  8. Have a sense of humor. Attractions get crowded, cars break down, and kids spit-up. Remember why you came on vacation in the first place – to have fun with your kids.