Nancy Schretter: When you think about travel on your family vacation there are number of points and things that you need to consider. First of all think about your budgetary concerns.
Second of all think about the ages of your kids and how travel will work with them most easily. Flying by plane can be a hassle and you need to figure out how to minimize those hassles.
Think about your child's rhythms. When do they tend to nap, when do they wake up in the morning. Try to plan your plane travel around the time that your child tends to nap that will make things so much easier for you. Look at direct flights if you can. Thirdly, consider it one of the most important secrets in family vacation travel and that's the family travel map set. Give a map set for each child for your plane trip and load it up with cheap fun things for them to do. Get crayons and coloring books, get stickers, get different activates for them to do no that plane trip.
Plan on a couple of extra hours just in case there are delays. These days don't travel without food, drinks, snacks and other things on the plane. Don't count on the fact that you are going to be able to get something on that plane because sometimes you can't. Bring a change of clothes for each child just in case sometimes happens. There is nothing worst than a child sitting in spilled whatever and having a fit while they are on the plane.
In addition bring some kids baby soap type lotion that you can clean your child up in case stuff happens.
Try to travel during kids nap time, try to travel at night or try to travel early in the morning. Traveling at night and early in the morning will also cut out a lot of traffic congestion and will save you money on gas as well.
Second of all, again think about that family travel map set. Pack something special for the kids to do while they are on their car trip. Think about things that you can bring on the car trip like DVDs or other activities that will allow the kids to be doing things, watching movies, doing other activities while they are in the car.
Thirdly, make sure to bring along a first aid kit and keep it in the car while you are traveling. Bring snacks with you, food and drinks. If you have a baby or an infant, think about feeding to your child and changing them right before you go on your family vacation. That will eliminate the need to stop again about 30 to 45 minutes after you get into your trip.
When traveling by cruise ship it makes things a little bit easier because the cruise ship and your transportation becomes part of your vacation. So when you are on a cruise ship getting to the place isn't as painful as it is sometimes in a car or by plane.
While you are on the cruise ship you will be able to do lots of fun activities as a family and have a lot of fun together. Importantly you need to think about things like how much space do we need and what types of view do we want to have while we are on that ship.
Interior cabins tend to be the least expensive, but for families who are claustrophobic they are really not a great choice. Look for newer ships that are available because sometimes they have more activity and amenities for families on their ship.
And then thirdly look for cruise ships that have different sorts of age grouping that are worked best for your family. Traveling by train is a lot of fun for families because for a lot of them the train travel is actually one of the highlights of their trip. Again this is one of those modes where the transportation becomes something that you are looking forward to doing.
You are going to want to talk to the train company to find out what sorts of things they provide for families, do they provide high chairs, do they provide cribs, what's available for your family to see whether that would really work.
Secondly take a look at the accommodations that are available on the train and see whether the sleeping accommodations will really work for your family. If you have a small family, that might be great. But if you have a larger family it might be a bit more difficult.
If you are traveling from city to city, don't overlook the bus. Sometimes the train can be four times as expensive as that bus ticket. It can get you their just as fast. The only exception for that is really think about the bus if you are going to be traveling over a holiday weekend.
You don't want to get stuck in a holiday traffic sitting on the bus if your kids are rambunctious and can't afford to do that kind of thing. Because it often, there is only one stop along the way. If you are making it a usual trip on a weekday or a weekend though, it's a wonderful alternative.