Busy parents, take heart! If you’ve got kids, we know you’ve got better things to do with your time than spend hours planning a family vacation. So we’ve done some of the work for you, searching out the most useful Web sites for family travel and compiling them all in one convenient place. From itinerary ideas and family-friendly city guides to the best games for long road trips, we’ve got your next trip covered.
Family Vacation Critic
Our new sister site, Family Vacation Critic, is a comprehensive resource for family travel deals, tips and itineraries for globetrotting families, and reviews of kid-friendly hotels and resorts. Here’s a survey of what you’ll find there:
Family Vacation Destinations
Family Resorts and Hotels
Family Travel Deals
Family Trip Planning and Ideas
Family Travel Forums
Resources on IndependentTraveler.com
Another great source of info is our very own Family Travel section, which includes features, tips and great ideas for vacations with the kids. Here’s a sample of what’s there:
Discount Family Travel Deals
Family Car Travel
Family Travel Message Board
Getting Your Child a Passport
Destination Information on IndependentTraveler.com
Our “Taking the Kids” series provides fun, educational three-day sightseeing itineraries for families in big cities around the U.S. and Canada.
To find a family travel specialist, use the “Find a Travel Agent” feature at TravelSense.org, the Web site of the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA).
Packing and Family Travel Supplies
Though we’re proponents of packing light, we realize that traveling with kids often means traveling with lots and lots of stuff! But if that pile next to your suitcase looks overwhelming, you may want to consider having some of these items shipped to you instead. BabiesTravelLite.com will send diapers, formula and other baby supplies to vacation destinations around the world.
For help deciding what to pack, check out our Interactive Packing List, which you can customize to suit your family’s needs.
Other Web Sites
We scoured the Internet to find the most useful sites for family travelers, and these seven stood out for their useful content and functional design.
FamilyFun.com is a Disney site and has a plethora of travel advice and kid-friendly links. The site offers a vacation finder feature that allows you to enter a region (say, the Midwest) and a type of travel (like “hiking/backpacking” or “factory tours”), and get customized results. There’s also useful information on beach vacations, camping trips and (of course!) theme park getaways.
WeJustGotBack.com provides detailed reviews of family-friendly hotels and resorts in the U.S., the Caribbean, Canada, Mexico and Europe. You’ll also find reader tips, city guides and even a member photo gallery. Free registration is required to access parts of the site.
BabyCenter.com is a comprehensive parenting site with a great section on traveling with younger kids (up to age 8). Features include expert advice, emergency checklists, itinerary ideas and survival tips. We like the way the information is geared toward specific age groups.
TravelWithYourKids.com has information on all aspects of family travel, including things to consider while planning a trip, how to keep the kids entertained on the plane and even how to find the places in the U.K. where the Harry Potter movies were filmed.
Ciao Bambino offers a searchable database of family-friendly hotels and resorts around the world, including ratings by age group (Baby Ready, Toddler Fun, School Age Action and Cool for Teens). Properties are reviewed by Ciao Bambino experts and by its community of parents. Also on the site are family travel tips, sightseeing recommendations and a blog.
Family Cruising: If you’re considering a cruise for your next vacation, don’t miss this resource page from our sister site, CruiseCritic.com. Find out which ships and cruise lines are the most family-friendly, read up on onboard kids’ programs, and learn how to choose shore excursions your children will love.
Care.com is for parents who love to travel with their kids but could use a day or night to themselves once in a while. The site offers a searchable database of nannies and baby sitters, sorted by zip code, so that parents can find reliable childcare in any U.S. destination. Profiles of each provider include qualifications, certifications and years of experience. Parents can also request free background checks and video references.