Family Travel: Staring down expenses and stress

Summertime means new opportunities to take the family on an adventure.  Whether you prefer a road-trip or plan to fly, it’s not going to get less expensive anytime soon.
The US Energy Information administration has revised its outlook for this summer’s gasoline prices.  The good news is that, given current conditions, their projections are now 15 cents less than they were earlier this year.  The bad news is that they are forecasting an average price of $3.71 per gallon nationwide for the summer of 2012.  In 2013, that average is expected to drop to $3.53.  In short, gasoline is not going to get seriously less expensive anytime soon.
Airlines aren’t much better.  Airline travel is expected to be 3 percent higher than it was last year, excluding all the special fees.  The is not all because of fuel price increases, though they certainly do play a part.
First, more and more airlines are allowing passengers to pay extra to reserve certain seats. These tend to be seats with more legroom or on the aisle or by the window. That means on a crowded flight, a family might have the choice of sitting railroad style in a series of middle seats, or pay extra — in the range of $25 per seat, one way — for the luxury of sitting beside one another.  Some smaller airlines, such as Spirit, are even charging passengers extra to make an advancement seat reservation. If a passenger doesn’t want to pay the extra charge, he and his family will be assigned random seats at check-in, according to AP.  (Source: Washington Post)
So if you can’t fly and you can’t drive, then perhaps a stay-cation is in order.  However, should you be determined to try and tough out the airport this year, might we recommend a few tips?
Top Five Family Travel Tips (Source: travelwithyourkids.com):
  1. Attitude is everything: expect problems, go with the flow and everything will work out great.
  2. Don’t forget anything: bring medicine, wipes, and everything else your child will need.
  3. Leave at the right time. If your kids nap, use their schedules to your advantage.
  4. Get the most out of your flight/road-trip. Children’s airline food, pick your seats carefully (if you can), and keep the kids off the plane for as long as possible by boarding separately.  Periodic rest-stops are a good idea as well.
  5. Choose your toys and books wisely.  Think less moving parts that will fly everywhere, and think things that can keep kids entertained for hours.

Source : http://familynews.com/

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