Enjoying Your Family Vacation Travel

Deciding where and how to spend your next vacation can make even the most upbeat parent want to flip the calendar right ahead to the date you're set to go. Balancing these choices while keeping an eye on the budget can add additional stress.
"With concerns about the economy a factor for many families, simplifying vacation plans, staying flexible, and concentrating on family and traditions can really enrich your travel," said noted family travel expert Dorothy Jordon.

Jordon offers the following tips to help keep travel planning fun for the whole family:

1. Plan a trip you can afford so you don't add extra stress on the road. Know in advance what's included and what you will have to pay for at your destination so that you can budget wisely. Some sites, like Trip.com and Cheaptickets.com, even let you build your own packages for added savings.

2. Keep kids involved in the planning process. The more they feel like they've had a say, the more cooperative they'll be on vacation.

3. Expect the unexpected. Allow more time than you deem necessary, especially if you're traveling by air. New security measures have resulted in long lines. Also make sure you bring or rent child seats to keep your kids safe. Avis is the first company to use the new latch child safety system. Budget also offers deep discounts when you book your car online.

4. Comfort counts, en route and at your destination. In the car, kids should be able to see you and see out the windows. Staying in a condo or a vacation-rented home won't have you living on top of each other on vacation. Check out RCI Holiday Network (www.RCIhn.com) for rental deals on timeshares.

5. In addition to toys and games, bring along snacks and drinks. Hungry kids mean grumpy kids.

6. Don't try to pack too much into a short trip. Remember, it's not how much you do but how much fun you have doing it.

7. When driving, plan how long you'll spend in the car according to the stamina of your kids. Nudge the kids 10 minutes before stopping to wake up and put on shoes.

8. For long trips consider hotels like Howard Johnson or Travelodge that have special kid-themed rooms.

9. Lock in "must-have" aspects of your vacation time together-and ask if you need to book ahead on peak travel days.

10. For more travel savings ideas and family-friendly games and tools, check out the specials tab at www.cheaptickets.com.

Your next family trip will be more of a trip and less of a trap if you keep the kids involved in the planning process.

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