AAA urges parents who need or want to schedule family travel during the school year to do so responsibly. Following are some tips for parents traveling with their children this fall:
- At least two weeks before the trip, meet with your child's teachers to determine the impact of missing some school days and develop a plan for managing school work during the trip. Schedule your trip so that your child misses as few school days as possible, and avoid days when your child will be taking a test.
- Plan time for homework, either before or each day during the trip.
- Have your child keep a journal with pictures, clippings from local newspapers, menus from restaurants, brochures from places they visited, and then bring them into school for show and tell.
- Use maps for more than just directions. Make a game out of finding cities, states, national parks, and major highways on a road atlas to help children learn more about geography and the sights that they are seeing.
- Pace yourself. Don't pack too much into every day. Consider your child's attention span and energy level.
- For security reasons, always carry recent, high-quality photos of every child on the trip.
- Teach your child how to lock hotel room doors and proper procedures for answering the door and not opening it to strangers.
- If feasible, equip everyone with a cell phone preprogrammed with each other's numbers. At the very least, have your child carry a piece of paper bearing your cell number and other local contact information. Have a plan for what to do if you get separated.
- Check daily schedules for museums, cultural and historic sites, and national parks in advance. Some change their hours during fall and winter. However, incorporate some playful activities to provide balance and, as some experts believe, to stimulate creativity.
As North America's largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 49 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. Visited AAA on the web.