I just discovered a site called BabyCenter with loads of good family and parenting articles. One of the best articles I've read in a long time about family travel is called Family Vacation Disasters and How to Avoid Them. Classic.
Parents who are pregnant, who have infants, toddlers, or older kids will all gain some wisdom from this sage advice. There are numerous real stories from parents that teach good lessons. And anyone who travels with friends or family members who have kids, you'll also get a kick out of these stories. But overall, my favorite part was the 7 Ways to Avoid Vacation Hell. Here are my favorite excerpts:
- Call ahead: A sure sign the hotel is kid-friendly is if you inquire about how friendly they feel toward kids and they say, "We've got a camp run by an art teacher." Bad sign: "I think there might be some crayons around here."
- Think outside of the box: Travelwise, faster or cheaper is not always better. Your whole life you've probably sought nonstop flights, but now it might actually be easier to get out and run around halfway through. Or you might want to invest in a seat for the baby, even though you don't have to. For a short trip, you might consider taking a train — so you can cuddle and nurse the baby — instead of driving.
- Do your driving at night: Plan car trips after bedtime. The kids will sleep, there will be less traffic, and you may even get to have your first adult conversation in months! Also, you can snack uninterrupted on the good chocolates you've been hiding from the children.
- Have a bathroom plan: If you're traveling by car, consider bringing a potty with you so your new toilet-trainer has a familiar place to sit. Bring emergency diapers on the plane. Plan plenty of bathroom stops for any trip longer than ten minutes.
- Do less: It sounds simple, and it is. You'll have years of vacations with your kids: Do less now, and enjoy your time with them. It's the one week of the year when you don't need to rush everyone — so don't. One good rule of thumb: While you're planning your itinerary, plan for half of every day to be free, unscheduled time.