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Surviving Family Vacations
- Sit down with the family and discuss what type of vacation you are looking for. Relaxation? Culture? Adventure? Beach? Maybe a combination of all of them?
- Enlist the help of a seasoned travel agent. They usually know the ins and outs of a particular destination and will think of things you will not.
- Starting early will give you wider options for airline, hotel, and car rental deals.
- Get everyone involved. You may not accept all ideas, but it will give you a good start in knowing what members of the family are thinking about.
- Decide on land, air, or sea? How are you getting to where you are going?
- If you fly, familiarize yourself with the US Transportation Security Administration regulations. They can be numerous and you will avoid a lot of problems if you know what to expect.
- Get your car serviced before you leave the driveway.
- Map out your trip and highlight the attractions along the way.
- Wear comfortable, but seasonally appropriate clothing.
- Make your car a home on wheels. Pillows, blankets, games, and music can help keep your non-drivers comfortable and occupied.
- Involve everyone by giving them a job. There is plenty to do before you go, so divide up the chores and make a game out of it.
- Take breaks. Moving around helps keep you alert. This is where flexibility comes in, especially if someone needs to stop for a restroom frequently.
- Know your airline's baggage rules. You may be charged extra fees for bags if you do not know their policy.
- Avoid peak times, especially during the holidays.
- Book seat assignments as far in advance as you can so you can all sit together.
- Print your boarding passes at home to save time at the ticket counter.
- Get to the airport early. It's better to have too much time than not enough.
When You Get There
- Make a list, modify it if necessary, but stick with it.
- Check the weather and plan accordingly. There are many online weather services that can give you an estimate of what the weather may be during your stay.
- Bring clothes that are comfortable for traveling.
Make Wise Food Choices
- Know in advance about the safety of food and water
- Know about food handling at your destination
- Avoid the hotel mini bar
- Eat only when you are hungry
- Try to eat smaller meals throughout the day
- Eat healthy snacks to curb hunger and cravings
Deal With Health Issues
- Allergies—Healthy traveling with allergies
- Cancer—Traveling with cancer
- Diabetes—Taking care of your diabetes when you are away from home
- Heart disease—Traveling with heart disease
- Pack your medications in your carry-on so you have them if your luggage gets lost. Get them refilled before you leave so you will not run out. Find more information here.
American Society of Travel Agents http://www.asta.org
Traveler's Health Center for Disease Control and Prevention http://www.cdc.gov
Public Health Agency of Canada http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca
Service Canada http://www.servicecanada.gc.ca
Travel advice and travel tips. Travel Sense website. Available at: http://www.travelsense.org/tips/index.cfm. Accessed October 27, 2014.
Traveler information. Transportation Security Administration website. Available at: http://www.tsa.gov/traveler-information. Accessed October 27, 2014.
Family. Travel Channel website. Available at: http://www.travelchannel.com/interests/family. Accessed October 27, 2014.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 10/2014
- Update Date: 10/27/2014