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Travel Tips for Parents

Family Travel is meant to be fun and relaxing and with a little road trip planning, you can organize your car travel to make this year's road trip your best family vacation ever.

Another summer is fast approaching and families are once again looking at travel opportunities. Whether it is visiting grandparents, playing the tourist, or even taking your family along on business, traveling with the family is not the same experience as traveling alone. Here are some simple tips to keep everyone smiling during your summer excursions.

Pack light, pack complete.

This means don't take it along unless you actually need it. But if you DO need it, don't pretend you can do without it. You will just be miserable or end up purchasing the item on the road.

Buy it there.

The first tip (above) brings up a useful thought. Are there some items that are easily purchased once you reach your destination? It may be simpler to buy some things rather than pack and unpack them. Only you can decide if the convenience outweighs the cost.

Attention spans.

Everyone has one and they can be vastly different within the same family, especially if you are traveling with small children. Little legs and minds cannot possibly keep up with adult ones. Instead of fighting it, plan according to the youngest family member. That's why it is called a FAMILY vacation!

Plan it out.

Decide ahead of time what you hope to accomplish during your travels. Is it six cities in seven days? Unhurried, unscheduled leisure time? Family time by the bucket-load? Make your plans with your focus in mind for a more satisfying, less frustrating trip.

Be practical.

Pack clothes (and shoes) that are comfortable and can last the duration. Remember that wet wipes are your best friend! Aim for making memories, not making a fashion statement. I like to include one personal item per traveler under this heading as well. Whether it's a 'lovey' for a toddler, a paperback for mom, or a small electronic gizmo for the teen, everyone gets tired and needs a little down time. A small personal item from home can do wonders for a grumpy attitude.

Be flexible.

You can almost guarantee that your trip will not go exactly as planned. That's okay. That would be one definition of the word 'adventure'. But your responses to the changes and challenges that will arise while traveling as a family are the real key to how everyone will remember this special time together. It will also be the determining factor in whether anyone in your family wants to do this again.

Look for a different perspective.

A family trip is a great chance to get to know each other a little bit better. What DOES your teen think about the world situation today? Who knew Dad loved trains? What other aspects of your family members could you learn about while outside of your normal routine?

In truth, travel time with the family is really about stepping back...looking ahead...gaining new insights. These are the people you are traveling through LIFE with. Enjoy the ride!

Article by Colleen Langenfeld energizes busy working mothers with career, organizing, meal-planning, parenting ideas and more using the free Working Mothers Great Idea Kit at http://www.paintedgold.com/moms.

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