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Stephanie Durst

Westbury, New York Travel Agent

Creating Wonderful Family Memories

My favorite childhood memories were when our family traveled together, so it’s one of the types of travel that I’m most excited to plan. I made sure that my children traveled with us from a very young age and those shared memories are special to us all.

One of the things that I learned first-hand is that having a great family trip isn’t about how much money you spend.  Wherever we went, the kids were happy because we were together. Often, the best part of the day was simply hanging out together at the hotel pool. We didn’t need to have a million things going on—it was having time together where we, as parents, could relax and enjoy time with our kids. 

Often, the trips my clients ask me to plan are for three and sometimes four generations. In many cases, the grandparents are paying for everyone and doing the planning. They are usually trying to please everybody. It can be stressful, but it shouldn’t. For me, it’s a matter of getting to know the interests and abilities of each of the travelers.

I always want to know the ages of the kids and the special interests and preferred activities of all the family members. If the children are little, I make sure they plan to have something engaging for kids to do during long plane or car rides. 

It’s important to arrange shared activities that are fun for everybody, and in many cases, to allow for some separation as well. This could mean finding a resort or cruise with kids programs, hiring a babysitter so adults can go to dinner or a show, or perhaps, just dining or going your separate ways at times.

Especially for extended family groups, the types of accommodations can make a big difference. Private villas are great for some families, but too much togetherness for others. Safaris, resorts, cruises, adventure travel, even a tour of the capitals of Europe can make great family vacations if planned well. 

Every family is different and their needs change over time. Some kids enjoy going into kids programs at resorts; others don’t. Some families prefer to spend most of the time together. In other families, some will play golf while others go into town or do some other activity. Finding the right option for a family depends not only on the ages of the participants, but on their individual interests and personalities.  The key is making sure that everyone’s needs and interests are taking into consideration.