So youve made up your mind. Youre going to take the kids on a
vacation. Good luck. Actually, you dont need luck. You need tips, ideas
and advice on how to make the trip a great time and a wonderful memory.
But, first, you need a sense of humor. And, for that, I recommend a delightful
book called Travel Tips from Harry: A Guide to Family Vacations in the
Sun by Amy Hest.
Harry, a fourth-grader from New York City, and his family vacation in Florida
with his Gram and Grampa. Three generations trying to have fun in a cramped
condo is tricky, but Harry survives, as does his family.
Be prepared, Harry writes to his cousin, Sam, whose family is
scheduled for a visit to the condo this summer. Your mothers going
to wear a bathing suit a lot around the condo. Apart from that, shes
going to act the way she always does. Boss boss boss. .Even though its
called vacation, she will go by the same old rules. Rules such as, no sweets
before dinners. Rules such as, you have to take a shower every single day,
even though youve spend the last six or nine hours in the pool. . .Well,
Sam, the best thing to do when she puts on that flowered bathing cap is pretend
you dont know her.
Fourth-graders are easy travelers compared to babies. Go Anywhere Games
for Babies by Jackie Silberg is billed as the packable, portable
book of infant development and bonding. The spiral-bound book lists 69
games, songs and exercises that keep babies busy in the car, in the air, waiting
in line or sitting in a restaurant. These are down times for mom
and dad, but for infants, they are experiences that teach them about sound,
light, color, touch and movement.
The Penny Whistle Traveling with Kids Book by Meredith Brokaw
and Annie Gilbar is a virtual encyclopedia, a detailed compendium of extremely
helpful ideas for every age of child.
Place a travel jar in the kitchen earlier in the year and encourage
everyone in the family to drop in loose change or money earned from chores.
Read your child books from the Springfield-Greene County Libraries about your
destination. Give each child a map marked up with the route of your trip. Pack
a miniature toiletry kit of travel-size products for each child.
On a car trip, rotate seats on a regular schedule, so everyone gets a turn
in the passenger seat. Dress the kids in layers; its easier to peel off
than add on. Detachable shades on the car windows make for a more comfortable
ride. Let the kids pass the time with binocularsthey can view the sights
on the way and spot license plates easier.
At the hotel, make rules up-front about the food and beverages in the mini-refrigerator;
better yet, ask management to empty it and stock it with your own treats. And
dont even think about staying at a place without a pool.
When sightseeing, outfit the whole family in matching brightly colored hats.
Kids, as adults, can only take so many jaunts to museums and art galleries;
when they get cranky, its time to stop, relax and find a park for them
to run, play and romp. The bottom line: be sure to slow down and enjoy the
views along the way. Youre on vacation, after all.