Surviving Your Next Family Vacation

´╗┐Surviving Your Next Family Vacation

With a little bit of preparation and an open mind, you can travel with your family this summer-and survive to do it again. Here are a few helpful hints to consider before hitting the road:

• Survive the drive. Take time to plot out a trip that includes preplanned rest stops, a cooler of refreshments (to avoid high-priced rest stop and fast food prices), music and books on tape and lots of activities for the kids in the back.

• It’s in the bag. To eliminate frayed nerves on your journey, pack a travel knapsack for your kids. Make sure you have a separate bag for each child to avoid arguments. Some suggestions for items to include are: spiral notebook, colored pencils, washable markers, storybooks, activity books, magnetic games, card games, travel-size board games, a portable DVD player, handheld electronic games, sticker books, invisible ink books, small cars, small dolls or action figures, blunt scissors, puzzles, pipe cleaners and a tape or CD player with headphones.

• Camping with kids. To help ensure that your family has a safe, enjoyable excursion to the lake, campsite or other outdoor location: Teach young children to stay within eyesight, and older children within earshot. Children over the age of 4 can carry a simple survival kit or at least a whistle around their neck to call for help when lost. Provide each child with a flashlight. Bring along a game you all like to play at home. Playing it outdoors with a lantern or flashlights will add to the fun. And finally, teach your kids to treat the outdoors kindly. Make sure all waste is disposed of properly when camping or hiking along the trails.

Fun family film

Two people who could probably use some of these tips are Tom and Kate Baker (Steve Martin and Bonnie Hunt), the parents in the hilarious sequel “Cheaper By The Dozen 2,” available on DVD from Fox Home Entertainment. In this super-sized family comedy, the Bakers bring their clan together for a memorable summer getaway. But their dream vacation turns into an outrageous competition with the overachieving, overzealous family of Tom’s long-time rival, Jimmy Murtaugh (Eugene Levy).

The DVD includes a “Camp Chaos” featurette, “A Comedic Trio” featurette, commentary by the film’s director and more.

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