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Traveling with Children

Every summer thousands of parents pack up their kids and go on a vacation in search of fun. Too frequently the expectations of a glorious week or two of family togetherness and the reality of the vacation are quite different. However, with some advance planning, traveling can be enjoyable for the entire family.

Here are some tips to help your vacation be a success for both you and your children.

  • Decide what you want out of a vacation and pick a destination. Keep your limitations in mind--toddlers aren't good mountain climbers.
  • Compare costs of accommodations. A suite or condo may not cost much more and will allow you and your children the opportunity for some privacy.
  • Plan moderate length days and frequent stops. Too many travel hours can ruin anyone's disposition.
  • Don't attempt more than two major activities per day. One should be geared expressly for the kids.
  • If you drive on your vacation, stop every two or three hours and venture off the highway once in a while.
  • When you arrive, take the kids on a tour to familiarize them with areas they will use--the pool, playground, game room--and define your rules at that time. (Always have a family member swim with you, etc.)
  • The most important rule is keep your sense of humor. If you explode, you will probably set off a chain reaction.
The Sure Fire Parents' Guide to Packing
  • Security Blanket--this is not the time to wean your child away from a favorite object.
  • Night Light--plug one in and you won't have to leave the bathroom light on all night for the kids.
  • Dime Store Items--$5 spent on little items before you leave will save $20 before the trip is over. Get: sticker books, magic slates, new crayons, plain notebooks, riddle books, card games, etc. Hide them away to whisk out when boredom strikes.
  • Plastic Bags--to hold everything from wet swimsuits to muddy shoes to dirty diapers.
  • Moist Towelettes--for spills in the car, on clothes, or other messes.
  • First Aid Kit--take a miniature version so you're prepared for anything.
  • Collapsible or Urbrella Stroller--If you've got an infant or toddler, this gizmo is indispensable.
  • Food Supply Kit--crackers, raisins, celery and carrots, juice
  • Activity Bag--Have a backpack, small duffle bag, or some other bag for each child to hold their special games and activities, such as crayons, color books, tapes, books, and puzzle books.
  • Casette Tapes--Listen to tapes your child likes while driving.