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Disaster-Proof Your Family Vacation With These Tips _ Philip BernaboThe excitement of planning that family trip can often obscure the harsher realities that set in once you’ve finally hit the road. Too often, the vacation is no match for the expectations that have been building during the brainstorming process. Fortunately, those who keep a solid head on their shoulders–and a keen sense of humor–can maneuver around the worst scenarios, and enjoy a vacation worth remembering. Read on for ideas on how to manage this for your own upcoming journey.

  1. Remember that this is a vacation, not work.

The number one key to avoiding meltdowns–for Mom and Dad as much as the kids–is simple: Don’t try to do too much. Keep the plans to a minimum, and leave room for plenty of down time. This will keep tempers running on an even keel, no matter where you go.

  1. Make sure the hotel has a pool.

Visiting a tropical paradise? This is a no-brainer. Is there bound to be snow on the ground? Research nearby hotels with indoor swimming facilities, and choose the best one. For generations, preschoolers and grade school children have had one-track minds when it comes to vacations–and that track leads directly to the nearest swimming pool. This is not a joke.

  1. Stay close to civilization.

If there’s an emergency with one of the little ones, the last place you’ll want to be is a remote island with no electricity or cell phone service. Save the rugged vacations for a later date. The smaller they are, the less they’ll remember about this one, anyway.

  1. Do the research.

While a quaint mountainside resort town might sound like an ideal getaway for a couple, children are likely to be bored, especially if the accommodations are too stuffy or fancy. The swimming pool could very well turn out to be the only place they’ll want to spend time, but it’s best to have a few alternatives, just in case.

  1. When in doubt, go for the beach.

While there are probably plenty of people out there who don’t enjoy beach vacations, toddlers and preschoolers aren’t likely to fall into that category. Beach trips are relaxing, fun, inexpensive, and rejuvenating–who could ask for more? Just be certain to keep everyone lathered up with sunscreen; painful burns will ruin your vacation faster than you can say Solarcaine.

Best of luck, and happy trails!