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Traveling with Kids


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*** Consult with your kids. One of the biggest mistakes that parents make when they're planning a vacation is not getting enough feedback on the destination, accommodations or activities from their children. The best family vacations are usually the result of a collaborative planning process because it makes everyone feel like a valued participant.

*** Don't go alone. Consider taking your children and parents on your next family vacation. Multigenerational vacations are a hot trend today. And don't just do it for the free babysitting! A lot of resorts offer special multigenerational packages, with room discounts for the kids and grandparents.

*** Stay close to home and splurge on something fun. By driving to a nearby destination instead of flying, you can save a bundle -- and spend those hard-earned vacation dollars on something fun like a helicopter ride, boat tour or admission to a theme park. People are often surprised at the recreational activities that are available in their own backyard.

*** Check out of your hotel. You can save even more money by visiting a national park and camping instead of staying at a hotel. In two episodes of "What You Get For The Money: Vacations" we feature families that saved serious money by camping on visits to Key West, Fla., and South Dakota. How much money can you save? In most cases, you can cut your lodging bill in half by pitching a tent or sleeping in your RV.

*** Do lunch with your family. You can save serious money on your food bills by eating lunch at a restaurant with your family instead of dinner. Many restaurants have two menus ? an inexpensive lunch menu and a pricier dinner menu. However, the portions are similar, if not identical. Have lunch at a restaurant and buy groceries or order pizza for dinner, and you can save a bundle. And here's a tip for families with more than one child: Stay away from the kids' menus. Instead, order one adult entree and ask your server to split it up -- it could save you a few more bucks.

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