Sunday, November 11, 2007

Traveling With Tots: A Survival Guide

Whether flying or driving with a young one, a little preparation can go a long way toward saving you money -- and keeping your cool
By Cameron Huddleston

About 300 miles into an 800-mile road trip to Florida this summer, I decided to tell my 3-year-old daughter -- in a daze from watching hours of Dora the Explorer -- it was time to turn off the DVD and try to sleep. That's when the meltdown began.

It was 11 p.m., we'd been in the car seven hours (thanks to unexpected traffic jams and numerous pit stops) and we still had about 100 miles to go to the town where we had reserved a hotel room.

But the 3-year-old's crying woke up the 1-year-old, and there was no choice but to stop. We drove from hotel to hotel until we finally found one with a vacant room -- a honeymoon suite with a king-size bed. On the bright side, the in-room hot tub and glow-in-the-dark planets on the ceiling were a big hit with my toddler.

Maybe you've been there, too -- not the cheesy hotel, but in a car or plane with small children, clinging to the last threads of your sanity. And you shudder at the thought of going through it again this holiday travel season. Or maybe you're planning to travel with baby for the first time this year and you're lying awake at night in terror at the thought.

Photo from More4Kids

Preparation is key
Your first step is to relax! If you're stressed, the kids will pick up on it and things will only go downhill. As a mother of two, I'll admit that no amount of planning can prevent every mishap or meltdown. But you can minimize the damage -- and even save money --if you are properly prepared. So here's an early gift from me to you: Ten things I've learned from traveling with small children.

Visit Kiplinger to read the rest of the article and to see the 10 ways to survive a trip with children.

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