Friday, May 20, 2016

Got kids? Travel with them! My list of child-friendly trips to fit most any budget

I love nothing more than traveling. (Have I said this already?) And now that my daughters are heading into summer break (hooray!) it's time to start making plans. In the meantime, here are some of my favorite trips to take with your kids. My latest via Divorced Moms.

10 Fabulous Trips To Take With Your Children
by Lizzy Smith                    
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May 20, 2016
switzerland.jpg
Here we are in Lugano, Switzerland! It was so beautiful.

When I received a cancer diagnosis in January 2012, it was a life changing moment. In an instant, things were never the same for me. In many respects, this was good. Pre-diagnosis, my life was a disaster and I was desperately unhappy. I spent way too much time commuting to work, buying stuff I didn’t want or need, putting up with an extremely abusive spouse, and focusing on the inconsequential. Fast forward a year later. I had survived treatment and it was time to rebuild my life and live it with passion. I decided to live BIG and GRAND, create memories, and have fun. As part of that new mantra, I became obsessed with traveling and taking my daughters with me.

To shake things up, I try to plan four trips per year: 1) somewhere in our state (Utah), 2) a state we have never visited, 3) a national park, and 4) a foreign country. On these trips, it is imperative that we learn something new, eat a different food, and have fun. Oh, right-- and get some rest. So far, my favorite cities in the world are Moscow, London and Buenos Aires. My favorite state to explore is Utah. The most awesome fashion and shopping is Milan. The best food is in New Orleans. A place I’ve never wanted to leave was Lake Como (Italy). The best snorkeling is Belize. The most incredible museum is The Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Russia. But this could all change because I’m not done exploring.

When it comes to traveling with children, though, there are some really terrific kid-friendly options that I highly recommend. So if a trip is in your budget, here are my favorites to take children of most any age:

1. A cruise

Pretty much any cruise is a terrific option for kids. The ships all have kid’s clubs where you can drop your children off for large chunks of the day. I never let my kids go to their clubs while the ship was in port, but you could. Plus, with unending food 24 hours per day, you never need to worry about feeding them. You can find a cruise to fit almost any budget. I personally love Europe and exploring via a cruise ship made this possible and easy with kids in tow.

2. Jackson, Wyoming and Yellowstone National Park
Jackson is an amazingly fun and beautiful place to visit. The town is charming, and there are endless things to do, like rafting, horseback riding, and hiking. Plus you’re not far from the entrance to Yellowstone National Park, a place that should be on everyone’s Bucket List. I took my kids on this road trip when they were ages four and nine and they absolutely loved everything about it. We saw tons of wildlife, Old Faithful, drank Mulberry Milkshakes, and took trams up the mountains for the best hiking trails. Depending on the time of year you go, hotels super expensive and sell-out quickly. So either plan ahead or consider staying in nearby Victor or Grand Targhee (Idaho).

3. Washington, DC
What makes Washington, DC rock is that many of the attractions, museums and monuments are FREE. This makes a visit to our nation’s capital somewhat affordable. I took my daughters when they were ages seven and 12 and they also learned a lot. My youngest daughter still talks about visiting the place where President Lincoln was shot and where he died. We visited all the main monuments, Mt Vernon (Washington’s home), the U.S Capitol and Supreme Court, Library of Congress, Arlington National Cemetery, the National Archives and several of the museums that make up the Smithsonian. Nearly all of them were free or just a few dollars. We sat outside at the Iwo Jima Memorial and watched spectacular 4th of July fireworks. We also rented a car and drove to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania (a very quaint town) for a private tour of the battlefield. We stayed in a hotel near Georgetown where we could walk to many sites or take the metro. Washington, DC is definitely a “must visit.”

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