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Louise Wasserman

Encino, California Travel Agent

Family Vacations

Family vacations are a wonderful opportunity for bonding, but it is important to plan them with everyone’s interests in mind. I like to find activities that will not bore the adults and will also engage the youngest children in the group. For some families, it is important to provide adult time for parents to reconnect and not feel like the vacation is all about the kids.

My goal is to organize each trip to suit the interests of all the travelers so everyone is pleased. While there may be some compromises, no one should feel left out or like they are being dragged around on a vacation that does not take their preferences into account.

In some cases, especially when there are multiple generations with a big age spread, the best option can be a cruise or resort. Many offer children’s and teen’s programs or excursions that keep younger family members happy while parents and grandparents relax or go off on their own. It is also important to agree on fun ways for everyone to meet up for meals and select shared activities.

Cruising also offers families the advantage of drive-to ports. This not only saves on airfare but makes it easy to pack diapers and everything else a family with young children might need. Plus, families have a wide variety of price points to choose from: Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises and Regent Cruises all do a great job for families with young children.

Family-oriented all-inclusive resorts also offer activities to please all ages. I recently went to the Club Med Ixtapa in Mexico and was impressed at the quality of the food and how family oriented it was.

Another consideration is dietary restrictions, especially when planning for a large extended family reunion. Special diets can be essential and yet, they are often an afterthought. This is not a problem on the major cruise lines, but not all resorts can easily cater to different dietary needs.

I recently arranged for a family reunion in the Caribbean. I learned that some branches of the family were kosher, others were vegan and there were young kids so I made sure I selected a resort with restaurants that could satisfy everyone so they could all eat together.

I also take safety seriously. For families with small children, I advise staterooms with an ocean view, not a balcony. The idea of a young child on a balcony is scary and means parents need to remain on their guard.

Similarly, most small children do not have the ability to follow directions and remain quiet that is necessary on an African safari, and that can put them and their fellow travelers in danger.

While resorts and cruises are an easy way for families to travel together, with good planning, many destinations can offer great experiences for families. London is a wonderful family getaway as there are so many things that children, teenagers and adults all can get excited about, such as the Tower of London, the London Eye, and high tea.

Similarly, Alaska cruising is fabulous for families because there is so much to see and do together. You can go fishing, dog sledding or even sit on deck together and see a glacier calving.

As a family travel expert, I can help you sort through the special interests and needs of everyone in your group to plan a family vacation everyone will love.

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