Channeling family travel excitement

The book. By Mommy.

The book. By Mommy.

Ours is a house of artists. I use words to express myself; Powerwoman and our daughters use images. My wife and older daughter in particular turn to drawings and sketches when they wish to express deep and personal thoughts. This means pre-trip excitement often sparks a ton of art time.

Usually L is the queen of this handiwork, cranking out single sheets and books about the things she thinks we’ll experience on the road. (To R’s credit, she’s still working on the whole hold-a-marker-the-right-way trick.)

This week, however, my wife has run point.

The fruits of her labor: A book about our August trip to Walt Disney World. Because we’ve never been there as a family (we’ve only taken the girls to Disneyland), the girls have been pestering us about what it’s like and what they’ll see. Yes, we answer them when they ask. But to sweeten the storyline, Powerwoman started a book (quite literally) to illustrate our replies.

The first page of the book presents a map of Fantasyland, complete with images of the carousel and the iconic Cinderella Castle. A rough strategy for subsequent pages include a rendering of Arandelle (our girls, like all girls, are obsessed with Frozen), Epcot Theme Park, and more.

As of today, the expectations were for Powerwoman to create one new page a week. You better believe the girls intend to hold her to this schedule. The penalty: Incessant nagging.

In all seriousness, the book has been a huge hit. It’s also been a great inspiration—as if L and R weren’t excited already, the book (and discussion about it) has jump-started their interest in a big way. By the time August rolls around, the girls likely will be bursting at the seams for the conclusion of their pre-trip primer. I’m also looking forward to using it as a distraction tool on the six-hour plane ride to Orlando.

This whole process has taught us a valuable lesson: It’s never too early to get your children excited about upcoming family trips. Anything that sparks their imagination, anything that triggers and encourages excitement about travel, is worthwhile. Especially if it involves creativity, too.

How do you get your children excited for upcoming family trips?

All about the storybook(s)


Inside spread, Alaska Airlines magazine

This is shaping up to be the biggest week of the year for those of us here at Wandering Pod, and it’s all about the placements.

First, on Tuesday, the April 2014 issue of Alaska Airlines magazine hit seat-backs with a cover story written by yours truly. The story, which runs nearly 4,000 words, spotlights family travel in Hawaii. In it, I pulled together anecdotes and experiences from five years of visiting the Aloha State with (at least one of) the girls.

Check it out by clicking here (and then scrolling to page 34, where the piece begins).

Next, later this morning, Powerwoman, L, R, and I will hop in the Prius and head out to Yosemite National Park, where we’ll spend the next four days disconnecting from the world and exploring as a family.

This trip is part of a HUGE package of articles I’ll be writing for Expedia’s Expedia Viewfinder blog. The effort is in conjunction with Expedia’s new “Find Your Storybook” advertising campaign; during the promotion, each Viewfinder will create content about a dream trip.

The first of *my* storybook stories is slated to run on the Expedia Viewfinder later this month. I’ll be creating oodles of content for this site, too. Stay tuned!

Conquering fear of potties on the road

For a while, this was the only potty L would use.

For a while, this was the only potty L would use.

We certainly have had our fair share of bathroom dramas away from home. Like the time L realized she was terrified of the “magic eye” automatic toilet flushers. Or the trip that R decided hand dryers are the corporeal manifestation of Lucifer. Or, most recently, the day that L followed a prodigious session on the toilet with a, “Look at my turd!” that echoed in the bathroom for what seemed like an eternity.

The list could go on for pages. And, when you’re traveling with little ones, it usually does. So, when a friend and loyal reader texted me last week asking for advice about how to deal with her daughter’s aversion to public toilets on the road, I sympathized completely.

Sadly, I didn’t have much to offer.

I mean, sure, there are all sorts of web sites (here and here, for instance) with formal advice from doctors—people who say things like “work on decreasing fears” and “model appropriate coping.”

My friend didn’t want any of that gobbledy-gook. She just wanted practical tips. She wanted to know what she could do to get her kid to make a @#!&@ pee without (wasting 30 minutes and) enduring a total meltdown.

I started by directing her to stuff I’ve written about the subject before (here and here). Then I told her the situation sucks but it gets better over time. I held back on my third piece of advice, largely because I didn’t want to discourage her. Instead (and now that this reader is back home), I’ll share it here: Pray for an accident.

Allow me to reiterate: I think an accident is the best way for a kid to overcome fear of using toilets in public. Because suffering the consequences of refusal is a powerful tool.

This opinion was forged out of first-hand experience with L, who grappled with this mortifying lesson during our first solo trip together (to Los Angeles).

I knew she had to go from the moment we arrived at LAX, but she simply refused to go. Then, on the plane, the flight attendant sensed what was up and offered to help; my kid refused again. Finally, at about 30,000 feet, somewhere between the animal crackers and the juice box, she couldn’t hold it any longer. I discovered the accident when I spotted a tiny puddle on her seat cushion. And I sprang into action.

Because I was worried about how she’d do with the whole potty-in-public thing, I was prepared, and had stashed a change of clothes in a Ziploc in the overhead bin, ready to go. As soon as I noticed pee on the seat, I grabbed the clothes, picked up L, and whisked her into the forward lavatory.

Yes, she was upset. No, she didn’t sit on that potty without a fight. But eventually, she did it. Somehow we even managed salvage the pee-soaked skirt for a trip to the dry-cleaner at home.

The rest, as they say, is history; since that day, despite minimal hemming and hawing every now and again, L hasn’t suffered the public toilets too much. She doesn’t necessarily like public potties, but she dislikes the embarrassment (and discomfort) of a public accident more. In the name of poetry, L even has started harassing her sister—who is still in diapers—about how it’s time for *her* to get with the potty program.

The lessons: Be prepared. Be patient. And weather an accident. No, this methodology is not ideal. But from personal experience, the only way to go from that situation is up.

How have your children overcome their issues of using the potty in public when traveling?

Keeping kids healthy on Spring Break vacation

This led to some serious hand-washing.

This led to some serious hand-washing.

In most parts of the country, Spring Break starts up next week. That means tens of thousands of families will be jetting off to faraway places for vacation. With flu season still upon us, it also means families need to be extra-specially careful to make sure youngsters don’t get sick. As part of an ongoing partnership with Bundoo, I recently chatted about this subject with Dr. Sara Connolly, a Bundoo expert and board-certified pediatrician at Pediatric Partners in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. Here are some of Connolly’s most important tips.

It’s not too late to vaccinate. It might be March, but Connolly said kids still can get flu vaccines. “Even though we’re at the tail end of flu season, we’re still seeing flu cases all over the country,” she said. “Considering a flu will sideline the whole family, if you haven’t gotten one yet, why risk it?”

Lots of hand washing. “When you’re sitting in the airport—or on the airplane, for that matter—your child has a knack for finding the dirtiest and grimiest spots,” joked Connolly. By washing hands regularly, however, your little one can make sure the germs he or she picks up don’t have the chance to wreak havoc. Connolly suggested carrying alcohol-free hand sanitizer as well—this comes in handy when you can’t find a sink and it’s not toxic if your littlest one manages to ingest it.

Baby in a bubble. Speaking of the littlest ones, Connolly added that it’s best to keep babies as far as possible from other travelers. Her advice: A sign in the stroller, that reads (something like): MY LITTLE BODY IS TOO SMALL FOR YOUR BIG GERMS; PLEASE DON’T TOUCH. If push comes to shove (literally), she suggested talking down strangers firmly. “You’re the parent,” she noted. “You should have no problem telling people, ‘Babies are adorable but please don’t touch them.’”

Stick to the routine. When families travel, we tend to get out of our routines. We keep the kids up for the 10 p.m. fireworks display at Disneyland. We eat lots of chicken fingers and French fries. Connolly said that while some families see these routine-busters as inevitable, the changes could compromise developing immune systems. “The younger your kids are, the more you should stick to your patterns from home,” she warned. “Even if it seems weird eating at 5:30 p.m. on vacation, doing that will keep their bodies operating normally.”

Fight bugs. Bugs are notorious germ carriers, which means it’s important to put your kids in the best position to avoid bug bites on the road. Connolly’s advice? Lots and lots of bug spray. For older kids, she suggested applying spray at least two or three times a day, and at least once after sundown. For babies, she recommended spraying the outside of the stroller—obviously, when your child is NOT inside. “Anything to keep the bugs away will help,” she said.

Sunscreen. Nothing ruins the mojo of a family trip like a nasty sunburn. To avoid this, Connolly suggested liberal application of sunscreen on everyone in the family, multiple times a day. She noted that sunscreen now is available in stick, spray, cream, lotion. For younger babies, there even are wipes that contain lotion. “The smaller the child is, the easier it is to get them protected,” Connolly said. She added that in addition to good sunscreen, parents should have kids wear sun-protective clothing to minimize the effects of the sun.

Before wrapping up our conversation, I asked Connolly how much of a difference we doting parents can make by wiping down the seat area on an airplane. Her response: In a nutshell, not much. “It certainly makes us feel better, but the reality is that virus particles that have been sneezed or coughed out onto the tray table or armrest likely are still alive and might get you sick,” she said. For parents who insist on doing the wipe-down (FWIW, that would be Powerwoman and me), Connolly noted that baby wipes always are the best approach, and that you do NOT want to use bleach wipes (lest one of your seatmates have an allergy). She also said that airplane bathrooms are the dirtiest places on the entire plane, and that wiping down those surfaces before you use them with your child always is a good idea. Another option that receives Connolly’s endorsement: PottyCover. Check ’em out.

What are your tips for keeping the kids healthy during travel for Spring Break?

Why You Should Travel with Preschoolers

Little R, enjoying downtime in London.

Little R, enjoying downtime in London.

It’s been a busy few weeks here at Wandering Pod headquarters. First we surfaced for another story on the “Have Family Will Travel” blog from Four Seasons. Then, earlier today, we hit the Google Alerts again, this time with a service piece for Scholastic Parent & Child magazine.

The latter story, titled, “Sanity-Saving Tips for Traveling with Preschoolers,” presents eight reasons why parents *should* travel with their kids when their kids are between the ages of 3-5. Some of my tips: Kids actually will remember it, flying with kids is easier than you think, luxury hotels are doing nice stuff for families, and public transportation is your friend.

Originally, the goal of the story was to give parents who are hesitant to travel with their preschoolers reasons to put their minds at ease.

Along the way, however, I learned a lot, too.

This was the story that led me to Michelle Blume, a child psychologist who blew my mind with some of the data she shared about how much 3- and 4-year-olds actually remember. It also was the piece that enabled me to meet Raquel Anderson, a behavioral health specialist affiliated with Bundoo, a great reference site for parents.

For both of these reasons, I’m excited to share the piece. Hope you enjoy!

Red Thumbs Up

Looks funny; packs a punch.

Looks funny; packs a punch.

No matter how many times I read the statistics about the dangers of distracted driving, no matter how many public service announcements I see and hear, I still occasionally am guilty of texting, status-updating, Tweeting and Instagramming behind the wheel of my moving vehicle.

It doesn’t happen often. And it rarely, if ever, happens at home. On the road, however, especially when I’m traveling with my family for work, sometimes I realize I’m that guy who’s staring into his phone with kids in the back seat.

And that’s never, ever OK.

This is precisely why I have embraced a new campaign out of Colorado to get parents to stop distracted driving once and for all. The program, dubbed “Red Thumb Reminder,” is the brainchild of an advertising executive at San Francisco-based Evolution Bureau. The premise is simple: Paint your thumbnail red so every time you pick up your phone while driving, all you see is a big red sign reminding you to STOP.

Steve Babcock, the man behind the campaign says on the program website that he was inspired by his daughter’s technique of tying a piece of yarn around her finger to remember something for school.

Whatever the inspiration, it works.

Maybe it’s the flash of red. Maybe it’s the notion of utilizing a slightly heavier thumb. Maybe it’s all in my head, I don’t know. The bottom line is that during the few hours I’ve spent with a red thumb on the wheel of my truck, I haven’t even had the URGE to pick up my Smartphone.

This campaign is great news for family travelers. Safety is the No. 1 issue on a road trip, and being mindful of avoiding distracted driving will keep us safer. Furthermore, the more we embrace this idea, the more we discuss the dangers of distracted driving with our kids, the more careful (we can hope) they will be when it’s their turn to get behind the wheel later in life.

Another benefit: The less distracted we are when we drive, the more focused we can be on the experience of the journey itself. From a family travel perspective, this is almost as important as being safe. Both are gifts worth protecting at all costs.

To get involved with the Red Thumb Reminder campaign, follow it on Twitter and like it on Facebook. (Just don’t follow or like on your phone while you’re driving, OK?)

Non-Tech Options to Pass a Long Flight

R's window after 10.5 hours in the air.

R’s window after 10.5 hours in the air.

We’ve been home in the U.S. now for almost two weeks, and we’re just about settled back into the swing of things. We’re (almost) all unpacked. The kids have (just about) gotten over their jet lag. The lot of us has rediscovered our love for the true American pastime: Driving cars.

All of this has helped Powerwoman and I glean some healthy perspective on the logistics of our return. In particular, we can’t believe how easy the flight home really was.

Allow me to reiterate: The flight home was 10.5 hours. And our kids rocked it like pros.

Before I share the secrets to our success, it’s worth noting that we are not raising our children to be technology addicts. Yes, we allowed them to watch a few shows on their Kindle Fire devices over the course of the trip home. But this screen time was by far the exception instead of the norm; generally speaking, we used “Doc McStuffins” and “Peppa Pig” as rewards for good behavior at other times on the flight.

For the most part, our strategy comprised three tenets: Arts-and-crafts, story time and geography.

The arts-and-crafts was a no-brainer; both girls exhibited a true passion for creativity during our time in London, so Powerwoman and I made provisions to indulge this interest on the plane. We started with stickerbooks. We moved on to basic coloring (I pre-packaged two Ziploc bags with crayons and markers for each of them so they wouldn’t fight).

At cruising altitude, I broke out the window clings and let each girl decorate her window (we were sitting window-middle, window-middle in two consecutive rows; an intentional effort to divide and conquer).

Later in the flight, when R took the first of her two brief naps, L and I made paper-chain necklaces for each of the flight attendants—gifts that scored us free wing pins, free drinks (Scotch for Dad; milk for daughter) and enough special treatment to make the Big Girl feel like a VIP.

We interspersed art time with story time. This didn’t only comprise books on those aforementioned Kindles; Powerwoman and I took turns telling stories and encouraging both girls to make up their own. Some of this make-your-own-story play was open-ended; we also mined ideas from Rory’s Story Cubes, a product about which I blogged last fall.

Finally, we passed time on our LHR-SFO flight with interactive geography lessons. Using the real-time map feature on the seatback television screens, we prompted the girls to describe what they saw out the window and match it up to where we were in the arc of our flight.

Through this method, L learned once and for all that Greenland isn’t green, and that Nunavut (one of her favorite words to say) is covered in snow. R was able to distinguish mountains from plains.

Looking back on the flight, perhaps the only hiccup was that L didn’t actually nap until about three minutes before we disembarked. With all of these fun activities to keep her occupied in mid-air, perhaps that partially was our fault.

What are your secrets for surviving a long flight when traveling with young kids?

Family Travel Lessons from Life in London

The rest of the pod, running to another adventure.

The rest of the pod, running to another adventure.

By the time this post is published on Monday, our wandering pod will be somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean, well on our way back to California after four months in London.

If you’ve read this blog during our visit, you know we’ve had some pretty spectacular experiences. If you haven’t read it, allow me to summarize: The last four months undoubtedly have changed our lives, and also have given us a new appreciation for a variety of aspects of traveling as a unit.

Here are some of the things we’ve learned:

Family travel isn’t always rainbows and unicorns
So many blogs like this one focus only on the positives. And there are thousands of positives to traveling with kids. That said, allow me to be the first to tell you: Sometimes, traveling with kids REALLY SUCKS. The kids get cranky. You get stressed. You fight with your spouse. The cycle starts again. We had our fair share of miserable moments during our stint overseas. My advice: Focus on the good stuff; keep perspective on the bad stuff and you’ll survive.

Discipline is hard on the road
All parents know that when kids act up, they need to be disciplined. The challenge? Disciplining them is harder when you’re away from home. How do you give a time-out without the time-out corner? How do you roll when the kid throws a temper tantrum in public? How constructive is it to deprive them of their favorite things in a new place? Answers to each of these questions will differ for each family. But the questions themselves prove there is no easy way to tackle these issues.

Sleep is relative
At home, each of our daughters has her own room. At our flat in London, the kids shared a room. This meant that at some point every night, R would cry and wake up her sister, who would come and sleep with us. We always were hesitant to send L back to her bed for fear of further disrupting R. The bottom line: All bets are off when it comes to kids’ sleep schedules on the road. It doesn’t really matter when they sleep or where they get their REM cycles. So long as they do.

‘Eating well’ is subjective
Powerwoman and I consider ourselves proponents of healthy eating. We push vegetables. We try to limit sweets. During our stint in London, where food options were limited and the kids were pickier than they are at home, we lowered our standards. Suddenly slices of raw pepper qualified as “vegetable,” and frankfurters qualified as “protein.” We rationalized these decisions by acknowledging that the moves were only temporary. Our reasoning: On the road, the No. 1 goal should be just making sure your kids eat.

Public transportation is your friend
Buses and trains did much more than shuttle our family from Point A to Point B; on days when one or both of the girls had trouble behaving, public transportation vehicles served as the ultimate distractors, quashing tantrums before they even began. L was mesmerized by the Tube, while R preferred the “double-bus.” In both cases, the girls reacted to the public vehicles as if they were rides at an amusement park. No, this won’t work for every kid. But it certainly is worth a shot.

Overplanning is for amateurs
There were days during our 4-month visit when I had lofty goals of hitting two or three different tourist destinations/attractions in an afternoon. Not surprisingly, I failed to meet my objectives every single time. The reality: Moving around a city with two children takes a lot longer than you think it will. They’re slow. They eat a lot. They like to go off-script and explore things you never suspected they’d want to explore. The best way to prepare for this dillydallying is to resist the urge to over-plan, and focus on one thing for each day.

The last lesson we learned in London pertained to how we parents judge ourselves. The gist: We need to cut ourselves some slack. Yes, there were days when our kids were the loudest kids on public transit. And, yes, there were other days when we were too tired after a week of schlepping to bring the kids to the local playground or museum. Neither case was cause for the suspension of our licenses as mom and dad. We learned that making ourselves crazy about apparent failures as parents only sapped our energy to parent the way we should. Furthermore, in the scheme of things (at least from our experiences), we weren’t failing as badly as we thought.

What practical lessons have you learned about family travel over the years?

How to Find Amazing Family-Friendly Vacation Rentals

Our backyard at Riverain, in England's Lake District.

Our backyard at Riverain, in England’s Lake District.

We’re near the end of an epic week in England’s Lake District. A big part of what has made this visit unforgettable: Where we’re staying.

On paper, we’ve rented a 3-bedroom “cottage” in the tiny town of Blencowe, about five miles outside of Penrith, on the northern edge of Lake District National Park. In reality, however, we are staying in part of a restored and renovated circa-1700 carriage house, one of the structures that flanks a castle-like manor house that dates back to the 1500s itself.

Our rental has heated floors, an incredible wood-burning fireplace and those tiny windows that you find in pretty much all castles and stone buildings from hundreds of years ago. On the grounds: A rushing stream, hundreds of sheep and acres upon acres of rolling hills.

Did I mention the place is costing us less than $225 per night?

In celebration of our find, Powerwoman and I put our heads together last night and came up with a list of tips for how to find killer family-friendly vacation rentals. Here are the highlights.

Tip 1: Book with Experts
In today’s age, many family travelers book on AirBnB and call it a night. If you’re lucky, the place is nice. The problem, of course, is that you might not be so lucky. Instead of winging it, we almost always opt for a vacation rental service. These services require property owners to keep places to a high standard of quality. They also are more than willing to help out if something goes wrong. For this trip—and for other trips to rural England—we used Rural Retreats, which is based in the Cotswolds. When we went to Ireland earlier this year, we went with Elegant Ireland. OneFineStay is another service about which I’ve heard great things.

Tip 2: Confirm there’ll be kid-friendly stuff
Some rental entities prattle on about how their properties are “kid-friendly.” What this means, however, can vary widely depending on where you go. We always like to call or email in advance and make sure the place we’re going has access to a) a crib b) stair gates and c) a high chair. If the place doesn’t offer this stuff—or if they can’t guarantee they’ll get it for us—we look elsewhere.

Tip 3: Follow the hampers
It’s standard operating procedure among the best vacation rental services to provide visitors with food hampers to supplement grocery items they’ll buy for the duration of their stay. The worst of these baskets amount to nothing more than snacks. The best of them provide the ingredients for multiple meals. In our experiences, baskets from Rural Retreats have supplied us with ingredients for the first dinner in the house, as well as a number of days of snacking. The best basket we’ve ever had: The one from Elegant Ireland, which contained freshly-baked bread, and all of the ingredients for multiple Irish breakfasts.

Tip 4: Go off-peak
Busy times at most vacation rentals are like busy times at hotels—if you’re able to find availability, the price points likely are astronomical. Instead, try building your vacation around off-peak times. Over the years (especially in Hawaii), we have saved big bucks scheduling trips around only one weekend instead of two. Another strategy we’ve used: Traveling from Tuesday or Wednesday to the following Tuesday or Wednesday (this was how we rolled this time around). Time of year is huge, too: Check websites for peak seasons, then book around them. Finally, be open to sacrificing location; a few miles away from the tourist hotspots could save you hundreds—if not thousands—down the road.

What are your secrets for finding great family-friendly vacation rentals?

Six Ingredients for a Truly Family-Friendly Resort


These chickens provided entertainment, and eggs.

We’re three-quarters of the way through a Thanksgiving weekend visit to the Four Seasons Hampshire, a luxury resort about one hour southwest of London, in a town called Dogmersfield. To put it simply, this place is the most family-friendly luxury resort we’ve ever experienced, hands down.

What makes it so perfect for adults traveling with young kids? What sorts of stuff should other resorts incorporate into their family-friendly programs? Here, in no particular order, is a rundown.

  1. On-site playground. Yes, you read that right. This is a Four Seasons resort. AND IT HAS A PLAYGROUND. A new-ish one at that. With tunnels. And rock walls. And slides. And swings. Before this trip, we’ve spent portions of just about every vacation searching for play structures close to our respective hotels. At this place, we haven’t even have to think about finding a place to let the kids climb and jump – the playground is a short walk from just about any room at the property.
  2. Resort pet. A growing number of resorts have adopted dogs and/or cats as unofficial mascots, and this resort is one of the bunch. The Dog of the Hour here is a 2-year-old black lab named Oliver. He’s great with kids—he has let mine tug and pull on him and hasn’t really barked or gotten nervous like other doggies might. He also has a cushy doggie bed in the main lobby near the check-in desk, meaning it’s almost impossible to enter or leave the property without at least saying hello. (Also, out back, there are chickens. Lots of chickens.)
  3. Open space. This property comprises 500 acres. To put that in perspective, my family of four could be hiking for the entire time we’re slated to be here and we STILL wouldn’t or couldn’t cover all that space. To this point in the visit, we have taken full advantage of this resource. We’ve hiked (even at night). We’ve biked. We’ve just wandered. Some of the girls’ favorite places to visit have been the equestrian stables, the pond and the canal on the edge of the property. As I write this, they are itching to head out and feed some ducks.
  4. Kid-specific menus. When you’re a kid, grown-up food is boring. That’s why kid-specific menus, with items such as PB&J, penne pasta with butter, and grilled cheese sandwiches are such a hit among the pint-sized set. They have one of those kid-only menus here, and the girls are obsessed. Every meal off the kids’ menu has been served on a special tray with images of Oliver and other resort critters. An added bonus: At least at this resort, kids under the age of 5 eat free.
  5. Kids’ club. Despite what people might tell you, some kids’ clubs definitively are better than others. In the one at Hampshire (named Kids for all Seasons), Powerwoman and I were able to linger and watch as L and R painted and made Christmas ornaments with a special bead set. The teachers were kind, friendly and (most important) patient. We didn’t take advantage of the facility as a childcare option, but I’m sure the kids’ club is a great place to drop the kids for a few hours while you get in a workout or a spa treatment, too. (It also likely is a good option for distracting the kids while Mom and Dad take care of some other business.)
  6. Stuff to make kids feel special. When we checked in on Thursday, the girls got to pick presents out of a treasure chest. When we got to the room, there was a special amenity (in this case, cake pops) waiting for them (literally) with their names on it. These are the kinds of tiny steps that go a long way to making kids feel like rock-stars in a fancy place. Two other treats I have loved seeing here at the resort: kid-sized robes and kid-sized slippers.

There have been other amenities that have made this place great for youngsters: Kid-friendly silverware, child-oriented activities (such as egg-harvesting from that on-site chicken coop), a reliable babysitting service, and eco-conscious soaps and shampoos designed specifically for use in the tub. None of these made my Top 6, but, together, they are perks that have not gone unnoticed.

Next time you’re traveling with the kids, demand this kind of excellence from your resort. If Four Seasons can offer these types of kid-friendly extras, anyone can. And they enhance the experience for everyone involved.

What are some of the most family-friendly resort amenities you’ve experienced over the years?