I saw this story on Fodors.com
about preparing your kids to go to Europe and it occurred to me it
contains great advice about preparing your kids to travel just
For example. the writer recommends choosing your destination
wisely (i.e., Switzerland promotes itself as family friendly). But
you don't have to cross the pond to know that is good advice.
Yes, Disney is always a
safe (if expensive) choice. But there are plenty of great
kid-friendly destinations close to Chicago. Three of my faves: Milwaukee, St. Louis and the Quad Cities. But wherever you plan to go,
it's worth taking a few minutes to check the Web and see whether
the tourism folks there have a list of cool things to do with
Equally important, whether you're flying to France or driving to
Detroit is to build plenty of downtime and flexibility into the
schedule. Kids just wanna have fun and if the trip is scheduled
from one minute to the next, where's the fun in that?
I can remember many trips to Brookfield Zoo when the kids were
little where I would spend the first two hours studiously avoiding
that playground in the middle. Once the kids saw it, they didn't
want to leave. Our first few visits, I pouted, wondering why I
bothered to drive all the way to the zoo when they could much more
easily have played at the neighborhood park. Once I figured it out,
the zoo trips worked better for both of us--I got to show off the
animals and they got to play.
Among the other recommendations: prep the kids for the trip. If
you're headed to France, that might include reading (or re-reading)
the Madeline books. If you're headed to Springfield, Ill.,
and the terrific Lincoln Museum, head to the library and
check out a couple of Abe Lincoln books or a video before you
And my personal favorite tip for any kind of travel: Do the free
stuff. It's key to making family travel affordable. At TravelingMom.com, the Web site where I
am the editor, we're compiling listings of free things to do in the
50 states. Take a look.
Cindy Richards is the mom of two who gets her muse from traveling the world, usually with kids in tow. She also writes for TravelingMom.com, where she also serves as editor.
See more of Cindy's stories here.
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