Traveling With the Kids Is All Right

Schools in New York City closed for the summer this week and suddenly there was a sea change in the daily routines of millions of people. Memorial Day may be the “unofficial” start of summer, but once the schools close it becomes "official" official.

As a single guy in a city of grown-ups, I suddenly become aware of children again. Here in New York, I’m seeing a lot more signs that they’re out there—ice cream trucks milling about in the middle of the day waiting to pounce, sounds of skateboards careering at me in office building plazas, trying to navigate around double-wide strollers on packed sidewalks. Somebody needs to go away on vacation, and if it can’t be me, let it be the kids.

So I appeal to the travel agents out there to reach out to your clients with kids and sell them on a great deal that will keep them and their kids (and me) happy. Maybe some parents think that taking a trip with the family is no fun at all, but that’s where you come in. Tell them about all the great kids’ clubs available these days at resorts and onboard cruises. (Sometimes they may not even have to see their kids for days!) Show them the great deals that are still out in the marketplace, making travel a financially feasible option. During this economic crisis of the past two years, it’s been family vacations that have been hit hardest and they’re the ones who probably need to  get away the most. (See, I’m not being totally selfish here.)

Some parents are naturally reluctant to travel with the kids, having seen or experienced firsthand the nightmare plane rides, the interrupted dinners, the splashing at the pool. One way to help persuade clients to embark on a family trip is to offer them tips on how to travel with their kids. ASTA has just released its annual summertime list of travel tips for families, and it’s a good resource to include with every family itinerary. Remind your clients, family vacations don’t have to be painful. Forget the memories that we of a certain age have of long car rides, cramped motel rooms and long lines and traffic jams. Those are vacations from a different generation. So call those clients with kids—school’s out and everybody deserves a vacation!

Just do me a favor, don’t send them to New York.