In a recent survey commissioned by the Orlando/Orange County Convention & Visitors Bureau, kids were asked about their favorite part of family vacations.  Here’s what they said:
* going to new places (27%)
* spending more time with parents (18%)
* staying in a hotel (14%)
* playing in a swimming pool (11%)
* not going to school (11%)

family vacation Moms surveyed said that they want to take the kids on a nice vacation to:
* provide new experiences (79%)
* relax and have fun (66%)
* get away from the stress of work, school and home (63%)
* spend one-on-one time with them (44%)

Grand sights or theme parks are only part of the vacation experience. As this survey shows, what happens around the main events is often the stuff of the best family memories.

For a trip that gives kids and parents happy memories, get everyone in on the planning and keep these tips in mind.

Getting there. Consider renting a car to get you to your destination. It saves wear and tear on your car and you can rent vehicles with DVD players for games and movies, and on-board GPS to help navigate.

If you decide to fly, book early to get seats together, and pay attention to connection times. Missing a connection or having luggage not make the transition can make it a vacation everyone would like to forget.

Eating out. Fast food three times a day might be cheap, but there are affordable alternatives to keep the whole gang happy.
* Stay at a hotel that has a free breakfast buffet. There’s something for everyone and it doesn’t cost extra.
* Many family chain restaurants have a “Kids Eat Free” night for children under 12 accompanied by an adult. A great way to get a good meal for less.
* Picnic at a local park. Grab some picnic food at a nearby grocery store, spread out a blanket and enjoy a leisurely lunch. The kids can also run around and play while the adults relax.

Finding a hotel. The hotel should be close to where you’ll be exploring, and should have family-friendly amenities. Look for things like:
* Swimming pools: free fun for everyone.
* Suites: a little extra room to spread out makes staying together more fun.
* Exercise facilities: mom and dad can give each other a break by taking turns working out.

With the rising cost of gasoline adding to trip expenses, it’s important to find the best values possible, including your hotel choice. Look for hotels that offer additional family-friendly perks. A popular program from Country Inns & Suites by Carlson is the Read It & Return Lending Library. Guests of all ages can borrow a book and return it on their next visit. Books are a great way to unwind at the end of the day and on the ride home.

They are also offering families a special Travel Values coupon book from May through September. The coupon book provides valuable family travel offers from a number of companies including: Dollar Rent A Car, Thrifty Car Rental, Sylvan Learning, Scholastic, Creative Memories, and Papa John’s.

A family trip can go from good to great when you consider all the trip details, not just the main attractions. Consider bike rentals for a family sightseeing day. Or better yet, bring your own bike with yakima bike racks and save the rental fees.

For more about Read It & Return or the Travel Values coupon book visit

With more than 990 locations in 71 countries and five hotel brands, including Radisson Hotels & Resorts and Country Inns & Suites By Carlson, Carlson Hotels Worldwide is a leading authority in leisure and business travel.

Courtesy of Family Features – Smart Travel July 08
Source: Carlson Hotels Worldwide