How to Ensure a Successful Family Trip

-- by ARA Content

(ARA) – Creating a memorable and enjoyable family vacation is, for many, a challenge. The desire to spend family time not only seeing the sights and sampling the local culture, but also having fun in the process can easily become a stressful experience if you’re not prepared.

“Whether you are visiting a city, a popular tourist attraction, a grandparents’ hometown or a theme park, with some advance research and planning, realistic expectations and a good sense of humor, you can build family memories wherever you may venture,” says Diane Chernoff-Rosen, author of “The Grownup’s Guide” book series.

The Grownup’s Guide suggests the following tips for family traveling:

* Check It Out First. Do research in advance of your visit. See whether there are any special kid-friendly exhibits, events or guided tours geared to families. If you are in doubt, call ahead to venues to find out whether it is appropriate to bring children.

* Encourage Teamwork. Engage the family in the planning process by having each person make a list of what he or she wants to do during the vacation. Review the lists as a group and let everyone select a top choice or two. This exercise in negotiation will not only ensure that everyone gets to do what is most valued, but it also provides a hands-on experience in cooperation, collaboration and respecting the wishes of others.

* Keep It Simple. Consider the need to match the children with age-appropriate activities, the logistics of moving the group around, the children’s energy level as well as your own, how much stimulation the kids can handle before melting down and how often the group needs to eat and rest. The more realistic the plans, the better the experience for the whole family.

* Keep It Short. Children generally do not have the ability to spend hours in a museum and parents generally do not have the ability to spend hours at a children’s attraction. A good rule of thumb is to allocate one to two hours to a particular place, leaving room to stay longer if it’s going well. Avoid succumbing to the pressure to do it all.

* Bring Distractions. Pack a small bag with a variety of distractions in the form of food, toys, books, electronic games, drawing materials or anything else your child will enjoy, provided that the distraction is not prohibited in the facility and will not disturb other patrons. An instant form of entertainment is to give each child a disposable camera with which to document the excursion.

* Move It Along. If you get to a place and it is a complete bust for your group, move on -- even if it is a famous place and you may not get a chance to return.

* Simple Variety. The best way to keep the group happy is to keep the day varied. For example, organizing your day for a visit to an attraction and including a stop in a playground for some physical activity (and the ability to make a lot of noise) or some shopping will take the pressure off a day of “museum manners.”

* Take Breaks. Sightseeing can be exhausting, both physically and mentally. Everyone is taking in a lot of information and is not on a regular schedule. When the troops get pooped, stop and rest. Everyone will welcome a chance to stop for a snack, sit in the park or even go back to the hotel to relax.

* Bribery. A modest bribe can sometimes be a good thing. If your kids are whining about seeing another painting, perhaps the offer of a fast food meal or an hour of television may create a little more cooperation.

* Have fun. Always remember, this is your leisure time during the holidays -- enjoy it!

For more information on The Grownup’s Guide book series and their latest travel book, “Visiting New York City with Kids,” log on to

Courtesy of ARA Content



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