Family Talk: Family Vacations

What are your best tips for a fun, safe and stress free family vacation?

As 2012 begins my husband and I are planning all the things we want to do this year, specifically surrounding travel. Not having taken many , we both have the resolve to make 2012 a year for travel and.

Now, my kids are no strangers to flying as they have flown to Puerto Rico numerous times since their births. What is new, for all of us, is going to places where the main objective of the trip isn't visiting other family members, but just having fun as a family.

Getting away and planning a vacation that is simply for family fun time is definitely something that will be new for us this year. And it's not that going away to visit family in other states and countries isn't fun, it just becomes something that is obviously bigger than just our immediate family.

Looking forward to having that experience that only we, my husband, kids and I, will enjoy, I can envision all that will be great, and all that can go wrong on our little upcoming family trips. The time away, in a new place, is a great experience for the kids to have and something that we'll always remember as a family.

Being mom, and the constant planner and perfectionist, I can see myself getting overwhelmed and stressed if, or I should say when, things don't always go according to plan.

Having already made trips and flying in the past, I have already learned my own best practices for flying with kids. Always pack food, drinks, and snacks that won't make a mess (no yogurt); make sure to carry on a few things that are engaging for the kids and that they can play with without fighting, making a lot of noise, and again that don't make a mess; prepare the kids with a pre-flight talk on expected behaviors, as well as outline those that are not acceptable.

With my flight tactics down, I am left feeling a little unprepared on all those do's and don'ts when it comes to the actual vacation. With family visits being the focus of past trips, I've always had tons of support with everything during the actual getaway. I always have someone to take me to stores, or have learned my way from prior visits; the kids are always occupied with other members of the family; and all those must-see spots and must-do activities are outlined by those who live there and know best.

So, now I wonder, "what will I have to do differently?" What are those tips for family-only vacations that only those who've experienced it know about? What are the best ways to plan and prepare for these trips so that everyone is having the best possible time? So, what are your best tips for family vacations?


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