Fast Company

Family Fun

Four options for family-friendly travel.

Like everyone else, you want to reduce the number of days that you spend on the road -- because, when you're away from the office, you're also away from your family. But when traveling less is not an option, you can always travel with more people- - namely, your kids. Here is Fast Company's look at the strengths and weaknesses of several options for family-friendly travel. There's just one question: Are we there yet?

Service What It Is Boredom Buster Educational Quotient
Survive the Drive
www.survivethedrive.com

800-573-6018

Planning to drive to your destination? Then rent a TV-VCR unit designed for car use. The unit rents for $99 a week. For an extra $39, you can have it shipped to your home or hotel. Plug this unit into the cigarette lighter, and let your kids choose from popular family flicks. Don't feel like listening to "The Mighty Ducks" again? Survive the Drive throws in headphones for you. Sure, you can pop in an "educational" movie. But if education is high on your priority list for the kids, nothing beats a good old-fashioned game of road-sign alphabet.
United Airlines
www.ual.com

800-241-6522

If you're flying with kids, be sure to notify the airline in advance. Not only can you order special meals, but you may also be able to get discounted tickets for your children. To supplement your supply of books and games, United will provide a game pack for young passengers. On some international flights, children get a "passport," with stickers that help them record their travels. Children get copies of "Crayola Kids," a magazine that fosters creativity. But kids don't live on brains alone. United partners with McDonald's to provide Friendly Skies Meals on many flights.
Westin Kids Club
www.westin.com

800-westin-1

For adults, business travel usually means all-day meetings. But for kids, it can mean loads of fun. Kids Club services can provide you with peace of mind -- and keep your child entertained and safe. The perks don't stop: children's menus and room service, age-appropriate toys, kids' movies, a sports cap. Outlet covers and bed rails assure parents of their child's safety, just in case boredom leads the child astray. A coloring-book atlas, a newsletter, and a phone line with recorded children's stories keep kids occupied and also encourage reading.
Family.com Travel http://family.go.com/Categories/Travel Plan your itinerary using one of the site's 14 family-friendly city guides, or plan your trip according to type of activity (say, a day trip or an outdoor excursion) or location. If these suggestions don't fit the bill, then nothing will. This site covers the usual activities (such as a theme park) and suggests activities that are off the beaten path (tobogganing in Michigan). The ultimate family curriculum. Given the site's wide variety of museum suggestions, you might find yourself at Dinosaur State Park or at an insect center in California.

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