The Brave New World of Family Travel
|AT EASE: Family travel need not be a military-like regimen (Digital Visions)|
My parents perfected the art of family travel. With six daughters, a dog, and a cat, we crisscrossed the country nearly a dozen times before I reached my teens. My father, a veterinarian who worked as a federal epidemiologist, believed families needed to stick togethereven if it meant July in Texas and D.C in the fall, followed by trips to Ohio, Wisconsin, California, Washington, Georgia, Oregon, Idaho, and beyond. In addition to developing a strong interest in geography and history (I ended up with a Ph. D. in U.S. history, thanks to the groundwork my parents provided), I learned the importance of taking advantage of pit stops for bathroom breaks and exercise. I also developed a great appreciation for exploring new places and the bonds that shared experiences can forge.
My husband and I have three girlsfour-year-old twins and a seven-year-old. And while every trip has moments of chaos, we don't hesitate before jumping in the car, boarding a train, or heading to the local airport. But regardless of the method of transportor the activities that will dominate your trip once you arrivemake no mistake: traveling with children should be considered "adventure travel," with epics, exhaustion, and a sense of exploration all part of the fun. Whether you're making a bee-line to a specific destination or meandering through the Midwest, the key is to remember that it's all about the journey. From the moment you leave the driveway to returning to your neighborhood, every minute should be something special, especially if you have a kid. Hotels with pools and water slides, mile-long hikes to spectacular views for picnics, or off-the-itinerary detours to obscure national monuments and historic sites can keep travel time exciting for kids and easy on parents.
Here's some practical advice on family travelhoned by generations of avid vacationers.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication