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Spring & Summer Hotel Getaways for Families

At times, traveling while parenting can lead to an overwhelming list of questions: On the plane ride over, will my toddler scream his face off? How will the hotel react when he throws his food on the floor at breakfast? Will we be the only ones at the pool with kids? Why doesn’t Elmo soothe her like he does at home?

Let’s face it: Elmo can’t perform miracles.

Here are some tips and suggested destinations that can take the stress out of vacation planning:

Start with the basics: What types of photos are featured on the hotel’s website? If their stock photos prominently feature members of “The Greatest Generation” and there’s not a member of the shorter set in sight, you might want to dig deeper or look elsewhere.

Pick hotels with built-in activities right on the premises: At any moment on any given day, unexpected nap times and meltdowns can strike. Instead of dragging a whiny five-year-old through the Magic Kingdom in 90-degree heat, it can be more relaxing to stick close to home and explore the resort’s on-site activities.

  • Perfect example: For $69, families can stay at Coco Key Water Park near Universal Studios. Even if a full day at Disney or Universal isn’t in the cards, kids can have a blast right on location at the resort’s massive water park.

Park it near the main attraction: Don’t waste a lot of time in transit, messing with car seats, traffic and bathroom breaks. Put as little distance between you and your child’s must-see attraction.

  • On the West Coast, check in to the Dana on Mission Bay for $85 a night, including parking and $20 resort credit. As the closest hotel to SeaWorld in San Diego, families can check out Shamu and the rest of the gang before walking back to the resort for poolside fun.
  • With a prime spot right across the street from the Arch, The Millennium St. Louis is an ideal home base, especially at $79 a night.
  • With nature hikes and mountain views right outside, Wuksachi Lodge is neatly placed within Sequoia National Park – all for $115 a night.

Leave it to the experts: Every year, travel magazines release a list of the nation’s top “family-friendly” hotels. Be sure to mine these lists for potential ideas and suggestions.

  • Earning high marks on Travel + Leisure World’s Best Family Hotels List in 2011, Beaver Creek Lodge is currently offering a $99 rate with a suite and free parking. Not bad for a AAA 4-Diamond resort.

At the end of the day, you have to decide what type of vacation fits your family’s interests, but remember,  it’s your vacation, too. Plan ahead and don’t blame Elmo when his tickle-me charm wears off on a flight halfway to Dallas.     

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Tips by

Deal Expert, Chicago
Monday, April 16, 2012
See more Tips from
Josh Gershenson