Top Ten Travel Tips for Traveling with Kids

Top Ten Travel Tips for Traveling with Kids

by Elaine Sosa Labalme

Traveling with kids certainly requires a lot of planning - and even more patience. Seeing as how you've got your hands full already (and are still out for a good time), you're well advised to take advantage of any shortcuts, tricks and travel wisdom that comes your way. With that in mind, we offer our top ten travel tips from the trenches. These pointers were collected from parents all over the country, experienced travelers as well as those just getting out on the road with their kids. Take heed, take off and have a great time!

Our list begins with tips for traveling with infants and toddlers and proceeds to advice geared toward traveling with toddlers, mid-kids (ages 5-12) and teens.

1. A portable high chair. A compact, easy-to-pack high chair is invaluable on the road. You can't count on a restaurant having a high chair available (grandma doesn't always have a high chair, either), and the last thing you need is junior falling off a stack of phone books. The chair made by Me Too Products ( clamps onto most tables, weighs less than two pounds and folds to about an inch thick. Its nylon fabric wipes clean and the chair's frame is a lightweight, sturdy aluminum. We've used this chair extensively for well over a year now and it's still like new. At under $50, it's well priced and an essential part of our travel gear.

2. A new bag of toys for the car or plane. You can't underestimate the value of new loot for the car or plane ride. One mom from San Diego brings a small bag filled with new toys for each trip and pulls them out one by one. Handled deftly, this exercise takes her the entire plane (or car) ride. At our house, we hoard the giveaways my husband collects at computer conferences. These squeeze-y balls, rubber snakes and twisty shapes are usually soft, colorful and, best of all, free. They're only pulled out for road trips or plane rides, and our two-year-old, Steven, is forever dazzled at the opportunity to play with this stash.

3. A combination stroller/car seat. When traveling with small kids, every inch and pound of gear counts. The "Sit 'n' Stroll" made by Safeline Kids (available at is a combination stroller, car seat and booster seat. A full-sized car seat, it holds a youngster weighing up to 40 pounds and can also be used on a plane. Once at your destination, simply slide out the wheels tucked underneath, pull out the handle and you're ready to roll. "It's been great not to have to take a separate car seat and stroller every time we go anywhere," says a San Francisco mother who swears by this inventive piece of gear.

4. Don't go to Disney World until your child is (almost) three. Have you ever noticed the parents who've brought their really young children to Disney World? I mean, have you really looked at them? They're EXHAUSTED. Disney World, even with its emphasis on service and ease, is not the best place to muddle through endless crying jags and dirty diapers - and is a one-year-old really going to remember this visit with Mickey and friends in the years to come? Save your money (and retain your sanity) and make the pilgrimage to the Magic Kingdom right before your kid turns three. Why is this the magical moment? Because kids are FREE at Walt Disney World until they turn three. Not only will you give your toddler time to develop some endurance for the marathon that is Disney, you'll also save over $150 by not having to buy junior a Park Hopper 4-Day ticket of his own. Plan your visit to Disney for the week before your child's third birthday and let his favorite "character" croon him a birthday tune.

5. Books of all kinds. A mom from Atlanta, determined to read her own book on plane rides, invested in a $5 tape recorder from Target and checks out children's books on tape from her local library before a trip. Her four-year-old gets to "read" (quietly at that) and so does she. Again, newness counts for a lot, so bring along books your child has yet to read. The same principle can be applied to older kids. Find out what's on their reading list and pick up a copy before the trip. Bring out your surprise just before takeoff.

6. Bring the meds. No matter how hale and hearty everyone looks before the trip, things can change very quickly - and do you really want to figure out where to get cough medicine at 3 AM in Yosemite? Bring a small supply of the medicines you might well need on every trip. We have a pre-packed baggie with just these things, and pop it into the suitcase as a matter of course. Ours includes cough medicine, fever reducer, Benadryl, Tylenol and syrup of Ipecac. Sunscreen and calamine lotion are also musts for summer/hot weather trips.

7. Pack less…and less. Your ten-year-old daughter won't need eighteen blouses for a two-week trip, despite her protestations to the contrary. For that matter, neither will you. Someone is going to be carrying the bags, and overstuffed, overweight bags are an argument waiting to happen. Pack once, as lightly as possible and with an eye to items (especially clothing and shoes) that can do double or triple duty (and toiletries in travel sizes only). Once you've closed your bags, open them up again and take out even more stuff. Do this a third time and you're bound to have a good time.

8. Split up. Did someone once say that the family that plays together stays together? True, perhaps, but we could all use a little time of our own every now and then. Parents should consider splitting up a few times while on vacation. Mom can do a museum or a spa while dad takes the kids to the swimming pool. Conversely, dad can go golfing (or to a museum or spa, it's equal opportunity here) while mom takes the kids hiking, biking or picnicking. Or consider staying at a full service resort where baby sitting services are available. At most Four Seasons, Ritz Carlton and Loews properties offer this perk. Parents should get as much out of a vacation as their kids, so be sure to include some time for yourself and your mate (separately or together) as part of your itinerary.

9. Down time. Admit it, how many times have you had the temptation to fit it all in while on vacation? This strategy may seem like a lot of fun at the time (it almost always is), but then everyone gets home exhausted and that's no fun at all. Plan for some down time every day of your trip. This could mean a leisurely bike ride, an afternoon matinee or a swim in the hotel pool. Need something more relaxing? Read a book in a park or play a game of cards. Tops on the down time list has to be an afternoon nap. My husband and I (and our son, too) seem to nap (and sleep) best when we're on the road. Hmm, maybe that's due to all the activity…

10. Involve the kids. Planning a trip carefully is the first step in insuring its success. A friend in Santa Fe ascribes to the following model: "group decision making that considers everyone's time as equal but respects those who are paying." This particular friend has been traveling with his twin teenagers since they were two months old and his kids are some of the happiest travelers I've ever met. Do yourself a favor and talk to your kids before you hit the road. Better yet, listen to them. Get a sense of the things they enjoy and those they'd rather not do. Do they like action and adventure or museums and historical attractions more their thing? Close to home or far away? Big hotel or not? Eat in or eat out? Armed with a better sense of what everyone's likes and dislikes are, you can craft a travel agenda suited to all, with the parents getting the last word. Bear in mind, though, it's not just the big picture you're trying to create here - if you keep your kids in the loop along the way, the journey will most likely be a smooth one.

Tips for Tourism

Tips for Tourism

Tips for Tourism:

Simple Tips for Boosting Tourism. . .

For Appreciating Your Community

* Be aware of your community, its attractions, and resources.
* Create a warm atmosphere of hospitality. Encourage travelers to visit as many attractions as possible.eep up with local special events.
* Learn your community’s history.
* Work together with other sites and businesses as a network

For Giving Good Directions

* Be Patient.
* If a map or brochure is available, use it.
* Give an estimate of distance in terms of driving time or number of miles.
* Mention landmarks along the way.
* Encourage travelers to explore the National Road.
* If you are not certain of directions, send the visitor to someone who can help

For Handling Complaints

* Be attentive to the situation
* Try to see the world through the eyes of your visitors
* Attend to their physical needs to get them to relax
* React calmly
* Determine how the situation can be resolved

For When the Telephone Rings

* Answer promptly
* Identify yourself, your site, or business
* Give a pleasant greeting
* Treat every call as important
* Be a good listener
* Take time to express a polite and inviting ending. . . “Thank you” for calling and offer a simple “goodbye”

Remember the acronym: SERVICE

* Smiles for everyone
* Eye contact that shows that you care
* Reach out to every tourist with hospitality
* View each visitor as special
* Invite tourists to return with a thank you
* Create a warm atmosphere of hospitality
* Excellence in everything that you do

And Don’t Forget. . .

The moments of truth throughout a visitor’s stay form a chain of events that builds value. That chain will influence the visitor’s decision to return to your town. it is the key to their experience and repeat visits.

Source: Illinois Bureau of Tourism

Photo Tourism Of Sumer at Lumajang,Indonesia

Travel Tips

Travel Tips

It's always important to take care of your health, whether you're at home or on the road, but there are some additional concerns that are important to keep in mind when you're traveling.

Whether you're taking a trip with your family or plan to live abroad for several months for a study program, it's easier to get sick when you're in a new place because your body hasn't had a chance to adjust to the food, water, and air in a new environment. Traveling can bring you in contact with things that your body isn't used to. Continue reading for tips on keeping your travel experience as healthy as possible.
Don't Take a Vacation From Health

The stress and excitement of travel can make you more likely to get sick, but if you follow a few simple tips, you're more likely to stay healthy throughout your trip - and your trip will definitely be more enjoyable. The good news is that as a teen, your immune system is as strong as an adult's, but lack of sleep and a poor diet can make it easier for you to become sick.

The first thing you should do if you're heading overseas is to find out what kinds of vaccinations you'll need in advance because different countries have different requirements. In the United States, contact your doctor or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for a list of necessary vaccinations. You'll want to allow plenty of time for this step in case you need to get vaccines that require more than one dose.
Common Travel Troubles

Three of the most common health problems that you may experience when traveling are jet lag, altitude sickness, and diarrhea. When you fly across time zones, the differing amounts of light can change your internal body clock, resulting in a condition known as jet lag. Jet lag may cause some symptoms that are bummers on a fun trip, including upset stomach, insomnia, and tiredness.

There are some things you can do to combat jet lag; for example, if you're traveling from west to east, you should stay out of the sun until the day after your arrival. If you're flying from east to west, go for a brisk walk as soon as possible after you arrive.

Altitude sickness is caused by dry air, a decrease in oxygen, and low barometric pressure when you travel to a higher altitude than you're used to. As a result, you may have problems, such as headaches, dehydration, and shortness of breath. Some people are affected at 5,000 feet (1,524 meters), but others aren't affected until they reach altitudes of 10,000 feet (3,048 meters) or more. Find out what altitude you're traveling to before you go to see if altitude sickness could be a problem.

The best prevention for altitude sickness is to gradually increase your altitude every day to get used to it. If that isn't possible, a drug known as acetazolamide can help relieve and even prevent symptoms of altitude sickness. If you think that you might get altitude sickness, talk with your doctor before you leave home.

The topic of diarrhea may seem gross, but it can be a serious problem. Traveler's diarrhea, known as turista, often occurs when a foreign type of bacteria enters your digestive tract, usually when you eat contaminated food or water. The best way to prevent turista is to be very careful of the food you eat and the water you drink on the road.
Safe Eats and Drinks

So what foods are safe to eat? Any foods that have been boiled are generally safe, as well as fruits and vegetables that have to be peeled before eating. Avoid eating uncooked or undercooked meat or meat that is not cooked just prior to serving.

Stay away from foods that require a lot of handling before serving. Here's an example: Nine friends ate at a restaurant when on a school trip overseas; eight had diarrhea the next day. The one who didn't get sick was the only one who had ordered a dish that didn't need to be touched by human hands right before serving.

One of your favorite foods at home is on the safe list on the road - pizza! Pizza dough, sauce, and cheese are foods that are less likely to spoil than others, and the high heat of a pizza oven tends to kill any harmful bacteria in the food.

You've probably heard that you shouldn't drink the water in some countries overseas, but did you know why? Water supplies in many developing countries are not treated in the same way as water supplies in developed countries; various bacteria, viruses, and parasites are commonly found in the water. Many experts suggest you drink only bottled water when traveling. If you need to use tap water, you should boil it first or purify it with an iodine tablet. Even if you're brushing your teeth, rinsing contact lenses, drinking a small glass of water to wash down pills, or adding ice to your drink, first take precautions to ensure the water is safe.
You Can Take It With You

When you're packing, you'll want to include any medications and other medical supplies you use on a daily basis because they may be hard to find in another country if you run out. Even if you can find them, there's a good chance the formulations will be stronger or weaker than the ones you're used to. These may include any prescriptions you already take, such as inhalers, allergy medication, and insulin, as well as contact lens cleaners and vitamins.

Packing an over-the-counter pain medication like acetaminophen and diarrhea medication is also a good idea. It's a good idea to pack some over-the-counter allergy medication even if you don't take it at home. People sometimes unexpectedly develop allergic reactions to the pollens and other allergens found in a new environment. Those with asthma or other allergies can unexpectedly react to these new substances.
Write It All Down

Even if you watch what you eat and drink and get enough rest while you're traveling, you may still get sick. The good news is that you'll probably be able to find competent medical care. The key is knowing where to go. Most travel guides suggest you go to a hospital where English is spoken or U.S.-trained doctors can be found. For this reason, it's a good idea to always carry a written copy of your medical history with you.

Having such important information available in one place can help health care workers make appropriate decisions, and you won't have to worry about forgetting important information at a time when you're likely to be upset and not thinking clearly.

Before you leave your home sweet home, create a medical history form that includes the following information:

* your name, address, and home phone number as well as a parent's daytime phone number
* your blood type
* immunizations
* your doctor's name, address, and office and emergency phone numbers
* the name, address, and phone number of your health insurance carrier, including your policy number
* a list of any ongoing health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, or AIDS
* a list of current medications you are taking and pharmacy name and phone number
* a list of allergies to medications, food, insects, and animals
* a prescription for glasses or contact lenses
* the name, address, and phone number of a relative other than your parent

It also helps if you have some basic emergency medical knowledge, not only for yourself but for helping others you may be traveling with. A great way to prepare for your trip is to take a first-aid or basic life support course before you go; if you're traveling with a group, you should know where the first-aid kit is and what's in it.
Basic Safety

It's easy to let your guard down when you travel. After all, you're more relaxed and there are so many new sights to focus on. In addition to paying attention to your personal safety (avoiding secluded places and not walking alone after dark), you'll need to reset your thinking when it comes to traffic safety, too. The rules of the road aren't the same overseas as they are at home. In some countries, people drive on the opposite side of the road and you'll need to be aware of this before you cross the street - look in the opposite direction from the one you're used to. Pedestrians don't always have the right of way overseas, either. Be sure there are no cars coming when you step into the street: If there are, they may not stop for you!

If you practice these healthy hints you can focus on the scenery - not medical emergencies - and return home with nothing more troubling than some tacky souvenirs!

Updated and reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD
Date reviewed: April 2007

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