1) Get free lodging. This takes a network and a lot of luck or love, but so far we have managed to do it on every vacation. This is the first step.
2) Book tickets early, and try to get either low prices or frequent flier tickets.
3) Set modest expectations about what you will see or do. We usually have one planned activity each day.
4) Choose destinations where you know families with kids the same ages as yours.
5) Try to take advantage of free museum days. We know our kids have only a limited attention span for most museums, and it is a lot less troubling if the admission is free.
6) Someone WILL get sick or have an accident. You will get lost. And it's okay!
7) Stick to the routines of home, as much as possible. We usually try to stay in the same spot the whole trip and take little day trips, rather than moving the gang from place to place.
8) Review high points of each day after dinner or at bedtime. Hearing the children's thoughts can help you plan the subsequent days of the trip. You can model this ritual for your kids to help them learn how it works.
9) Let each kid choose a souvenir of the trip to take home, preferably one that takes of a small amount of space in your luggage.
10) Spending money is not what makes the vacation fun. Your time together--playing, talking, laughing, connecting--these will make your travels memorable.
Please share your travel tips with us. Pretty please?