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Stress-Free Family Travel

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Planning Is The Key

In today’s crazy, commotion-filled world, traveling together gives my family the opportunity to enjoy some alone time and reconnect—away from the stress of work, school and everyday activities—while also creating fun-filled memories that will last a lifetime. After all, our kids are just grown-ups waiting to happen, and we think it’s important to expose them to different cultures, environments and experiences in order to help them establish a love of traveling, a curiosity for adventure, and a broader acceptance of the world around them.

We’ve found that stress-free family travel is possible, with a little pre-planning, and the benefits of this family frolicking can be incredibly enjoyable. Listed here are three of my must-do travel planning tips that help get the kids involved and start the adventure off on the right course.

1. Research & Development

I know this sounds painful but I promise this little step won’t take too long, thanks to Google, and will be well worth every invested minute. After you have decided on a destination, get searching to find out the area’s favorite kid-friendly activities. (You can narrow down  results by using terms like toddler, tween or teen.)

Once I get a decent list of choices, I call a family meeting. We go over the list and then let each family member choose one—or more depending on the length of stay—activity from the list. Doing this helps me to de-stress by pre-planning  some of the daily itineraries and getting advance purchase discounts. Plus, it makes my kids feel more involved and excited about the upcoming trip…Well worth it!

2. Hotel, Hotel, Hotel

I don’t think I can stress this enough. In my opinion, the hotel is just as important as the activities and can make or break even the most perfectly planned vacation. One of my top priorities when planning a trip is to secure an inviting accommodation that offers our family a nice place to relax and unwind. I may skimp on meals or the getting-there and getting-home parts of travel but I’ve found that my family really does best when able to spread out in a clean, comfortable space. We take pleasure in a warm shower, nice amenities and soft, cozy beds. And, I’m sure everyone agrees when I say that quality sleep, and relaxing, does a body—and an attitude—good!

3. Keep Them Involved

Now that we have let the kids help choose the activities, we let them capture the memories as well. That’s right, we also provide our children with small portable video or still-shot cameras to preserve the family vacation experience from a kid-sized point of view.  Not only does this provide a constant form of entertainment—with less bickering and more whoa, did you see that?—but I am also so amazed at what they capture and how they view the world. In addition to keeping them busy, it really documents great family memories and highlights the people, places and things they found most interesting…Priceless on both counts!

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Belonging to the rare breed known as native Floridian, Mary Ellen is a wife, mother and freelance writer, currently living in Sarasota, on Florida’s beautiful Gulf Coast….

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