How to Travel Internationally With Kids

Even for young children, travel offers many benefits. They remember more than you realize (researchers at Harvard University have shown that children as young as 17 months retain long-term memories), and exposure to different cultures, languages, and even food can influence young minds for a lifetime.

In an age when screen time is increasingly taking the place of outdoor play, travel is the opposite of digital distraction. It’s teaching your children the art of paying attention, finding the novelty in everything, and treating life as a grand adventure. You might be going to look at old churches or ancient rice paddies, but what you’re really showing your children is that being present in the moment has value. Being present is nearly a lost art in our modern lives and carving out that time when they are young will be one of the most important gifts you can give them—even if you travel no farther than your own backyard.

With practice, patience, and perspective, it’s possible to raise happy travelers. 

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Superior Wellness Hotel - Krallerhof

The Krallerhof is a fabulous Wellness & Family Hotel in Salzburg County, Austria, located on a sunny plateau in Leogang.  The hotel offers wellness, ski, and summer holidays of the highest level for the entire family.

Things to Do in Hong Kong With Kids

The Four Season magazine lists the top activities for families traveling to Hong Kong.

Part of Hong Kong’s charm is its extreme contrasts, one of the many reasons why the city is a fantastic family destination. Itineraries that combine visits to ancient temples and world-class theme parks on the same day are the norm, while romps through nature await just minutes from an energetic urban core. Add in mouth-watering cuisine, efficient transportation and shopping that even the kids will adore, and you have an unforgettable holiday.

Hong Kong Science Museum

Discover Theses Luxury Family Vacations

These five retreats around the world prove just how luxe a trip with the kids can be.

Nicaragua: If the country is the next Costa Rica, then the Inn at Rancho Santana ($$) is its next great family getaway. The 2,700 acres along the Pacific coast offer plenty to keep the gang busy, like mountain biking, horseback riding, and surfing.

Kenya: The typical safari gets a reboot at Mara Bush Houses (all-inclusive; $$$$$), in the Masai Mara. Three private houses serviced by guides, cooks, and rangers give families an ideal base for viewing lions, rhinos, and other big game.

Scotland: Alladale Wilderness Lodge & Reserve (three-night minimum; $$$$$) plunks the safari model into the middle of the Highlands. Families of up to 14 have the run of the house and surrounding 23,000-acre reserve, where Highland cattle and wildcats roam.

Venice: Unlike most palazzi, the new JW Marriott Venice Resort & Spa ($$$) is super kidfriendly: there’s a teen club and a family pool, plus classes on everything from traditional maskmaking to steering a gondola.

Florida: The cult classic Naples Grande Beach Resort ($$$$)—formerly a Waldorf Astoria—just emerged from a major overhaul that makes fun a top priority. Along with an upgraded beach, there’s a 100-foot-long waterslide with a serious plunge.

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Three Unforgettable Themed Hotel Experiences

Forbes Travel Guide Editor DeMarco Williams

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All luxury hotels aim to provide escapes from the daily grind for their guests. Some just have a way of whisking the concept to new heights by not only providing brilliant accommodations and spot-on service, but by sprinkling in a bit of whimsy. From pirate-themed packages in Baltimore to shark-infested vacations in Boston, our editors have uncovered three properties that take more than a bit of pride in being playful.

Swashbuckling at Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore

While most folks find pirates pretty fascinating, the reasons behind Baltimore’s affinity for the colorful characters go well beyond Johnny Depp movies. Back in the early 1800s, when the U.S. and Britain weren’t seeing eye to eye on much, some ship owners in Maryland turned their vessels into privateers. With the government’s blessing, they began commandeering British ships, helping Baltimore to earn its “Nest of Pirates” moniker. On your next vacation, pay homage to the city’s plundering past with Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore’s Pirates and Princesses Family Package (running through September 2; requires a 14-day notice). The overflowing booty includes a swashbuckler-themed gift bag for kids, complimentary Internet and parking and Four-Star accommodations in a standard guest room. Still, the biggest treasure in the chest is a voyage for four through the city’s Inner Harbor aboard The Fearless, an authentic-looking ship that appears to have sailed over straight from The Pirates of the Caribbean set.

Shark Hunting at Revere Hotel Boston Common

Even legendary marine conservationist Jacques Cousteau probably couldn’t explain the public’s obsession with Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week.” People can’t help but dive into the network’s weeklong slate of insightful documentaries and campy sci-fi flicks each year. Boston’s Revere Hotel, a smartly decorated, 356-room boutique property in the city’s Theater District, is getting in on the fun with its own shark-themed events from August 4 through 11. For starters, the 2011 Discovery Channel special Jaws Comes Home will be screened for hotel guests at the property’s plush 208-seat venue, Theatre 1, on August 4. Two of the movie’s stars, captains Billy “Cap” Chaprales and Nick “Niko” Chaprales of the shark-awareness crew Cape Cod Shark Hunters, will join marine fisheries biologist John Chisholm for a Q&A and after-party when the film concludes.

If that weren’t enough to sink your teeth into, the new Rooftop at Revere will unleash its “Eat Like a Shark Week” menu on guests at the same time. Tasty bites such as mahi mahi tacos and Nantucket Bay scallop ceviche will be available alongside cocktails such as The Hammerhead (Bombay Sapphire, St. Germain, simple syrup, cucumber, Sprite, lemon) and Sharknado (Bacardi Superior, Bacardi 8, Bacardi Pineapple Fusion, and pineapple, cranberry and orange juices). Proceeds from the shareable drinks will go to the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy, a new nonprofit raising awareness of the feared animal.

Spying at Capella Washington D.C., Georgetown

With popular shows such as Scandal, Homeland and The Americans peering into Washington D.C.’s sinister underbelly, it’s hard not to get wrapped up in the city’s spell of intrigue. But if you were hoping to take things a few steps further than a mere fantasy, Capella Washington D.C. — 49 rooms of dark hardwood flooring, overstuffed lounge chairs and other simple, elegant touches — has just the experience for you. The property’s The Spy Who Loved D.C. package makes sure that you look (Burberry trench coats and Oliver Peoples eyewear from Saks Fifth Avenue) and drink (complimentary martinis and a bottle of champagne) the part of a globetrotting secret agent. But if that’s not enough to stir your inner sleuth, the offer (available through December 31) also includes a visit to the International Spy Museum (in a Ferrari or Lamborghini, no less) and the chance to complete one of two fully engrossing missions — one deals with penetrating and escaping the fortified museum, while the other sends you on a clue- and contraption-filled operation around the city — thus allowing you to see sides of the nation’s capital that you’ll never find on television.


Airport Fun Guide for Kids

        A diversion guide for kids when you're stuck at JFK, ORD, LAX, MCO and many other airports     


Flying with kids can be a challenge, but this Cheapflights guide takes a look at fun activities at some of the domestic and international key connecting airports.

A caveat: while lots of airports are opening new, innovative play areas and museums, don't leave your child there unattended. No matter how secure it seems, supervised play is safe play.

Family Friendly Security Lanes

Did you know that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is starting to group security checkpoints, in hopes of speeding up the process for everyone?

If you're traveling with your family, look for the Green Circle lanes, designated for those who need extra time. You'll get a bit of breathing space, without in-a-hurry, laptop-toting frequent flyers breathing down your necks and demanding that you move faster. (Those folks can go in the Blue Square or Black Diamond lanes.) The TSA says separating its security lanes has already increased efficiency and saved time for family travelers. Next time you travel with kids, it could just save your sanity.


Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL)

As the world's busiest airport, there's plenty of space for art and exhibits, like the awesome model train exhibition near the entrance to Concourse T. And don't miss Yangchuanosaurus! ATL partnered with the Fernbank Museum of Natural History to display the skeleton in the airport's atrium.

Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall (BWI)

Upstairs in the main terminal, in BWI's Observation Gallery, is a one-of-a-kind children's play area. There's an array of airplane parts: a wing, tail, wheels -- even part of a fuselage. Plus some fun equipment meant to be played on (don't fret -- the area is carpeted).

Boston Logan International (BOS)

In Terminal C (the departure level of the main terminal), the Children's Museum of Boston has created Kidport. It offers hands-on, educational exhibits like an airplane sculpture for climbing, a baggage-claim slide, an infant and toddler play area, and a "what's outside" window display. There's another Kidport in Terminal A (designed by Playtime), which sports a replica of the unique Boston control tower.

Charlotte Douglas International (CLT)

If you have a long layover, here's a great diversion that's just a 5-minute drive from the airport: the Carolinas Aviation Museum. There, you'll see more than 50 aircraft on display. Admission is $5 for children, $8 for adults. Hours: Sundays from 1pm-5pm; Tuesdays through Saturdays 10pm-4 p.m. Information: 1-704-359-8442.

Chicago O'Hare International (ORD)

Once you're through security at Terminal 2, head to the Chicago Children's Museum's Kids On the Fly interactive exhibit. Fully accessible to passengers with disabilities, there's tons to see and learn: an air traffic control tower, a tricked-out helicopter, cargo plane, luggage station -- plus a restored F4F-3 Wildcat, the kind that WWII hero, Lt. Commander Edward "Butch" O'Hare (the airport's namesake) flew.

Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International (CVG)

A Kidsport is located in one of the most prominent places in the airport: the top of the escalator on Concourse A. Kids can explore miniature buildings, parents can sit in rocking chairs and supervise, and the Cartoon Network is on in the background. Sweet simplicity.

Dallas/Fort Worth International (DFW)

Look for a trio of Junior Flyer Clubs. The largest one is located in Terminal B, at Gate 12. The 685-square-foot aviation playground has a runway, roadway, car, airplane, and control tower. The Terminal C club is at Gate 14. In International Terminal D, Gate D-30, televisions in the play areas broadcast the Boomerang channel. Need to wander more? Hop on the Skylink. Sure, Skylink can quickly connect passengers between terminals, but kids know better: it's an awesome ride through one of the busiest airports in the country.

Denver International Airport (DEN)

There's a small, unsupervised play area on the mezzanine level of Concourse B, but the coolest attraction is the free underground train. Kids find it fascinating, and it's a safe, easy way to pass the time.

Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW)

Detroit, a large Northwest Airlines hub, sports seven - count 'em - play areas. All are located in the relatively new McNamara Terminal, and are arrayed along the boarding concourses. You'll find four play areas in Concourse A, two in Concourse B, and one in Concourse C. In the check-in lobby of venerable Smith Terminal there's a neat Sturgeon display. Kids love it. These fish have been swimming in the Great Lakes since the days of the dinosaurs.

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Help your kid's reading skills soar


When Kelley Dolling's first-grade students go on summer vacation, they forget a lot of the reading skills they've learned. "I talk to their second-grade teachers, and find out that many children who were doing great in June are struggling in September," says Dolling, who teaches in Cottonwood, California. "We call it the summer slide."

Indeed, studies show that students who read little, if at all, when school's out can lose valuable ground. And since many 7- and 8-year-olds are just becoming competent readers, it's especially important for them to spend time practicing.  Read up on how to make books a fun part of your family's summer routine.


    Say Yes More Often

Chances are, your child will receive a recommended summer reading list from his school, but don't limit him to those books, suggests Richard Allington, Ph.D., past president of the International Reading Association. A review of 28 studies found that students read more and learn best when they're allowed to select their own material. "It isn't that hard to get kids to read during the summer -- it's hard to get them to read the books you want them to read," Dr. Allington says. His advice? Take your child to the library or bookstore once a week and let him decide what he wants to read. That means not objecting if he chooses a Justin Bieber biography, the latest issue of Sports Illustrated Kids, or Captain Underpants, a graphic novel. After all, what you really want is for your child to develop a love of reading, and that's unlikely to happen if you're forcing him to read about things he's not interested in.  If he's having trouble choosing, suggest these teacher favorites: The World According to Humphrey, by Betty G. Birney, the A to Z Mysteries series, by Ron Roy, and Gooney Bird Greene, by Lois Lowry.


    Make It Special

You want your child to be as enthusiastic about reading as she is about splashing around in the neighborhood pool or playing on her Minecraft app. So you've got to sell it a little -- at least until she gets so hooked that you have to pry her away to do something else. You can entice reluctant readers with "drop everything and read" time. You simply shout "DEAR time!" once a day and everyone in the family (including you) grabs a book and reads for at least 15 minutes. (Snag ideas for yourself from our Mom Must Read blog at Make cozy nooks around the house with colorful beanbags, pillows, and a few books or set up a reading tent in the backyard.


    Think Beyond Books

Don't forget about all the other text in your child's world. When you're at the playground, grocery store, or amusement park, encourage him to look carefully at the signs. "New, reluctant readers may get overwhelmed by a book, but if they're just reading about their favorite animal at the zoo, they're more motivated because they really want to understand what the words say," explains Denise Boehm, a second-grade teacher in Weston, Florida.


    Offer a Reward

Many bookstores, public libraries, and elementary schools have summer reading initiatives with prizes. They work! A study at Dominican University, in River Forest, Illinois, found that incoming fourth-graders who took part in a library program significantly improved their reading skills during the summer break. The Barnes & Noble summer reading program ( will give your child a free book for participating, or you can try to tempt her with the 10 tokens given for filling out the Chuck E. Cheese's ( reading rewards calendar.


    Go Digital

If your kid loves screens, consider getting him a tablet or download a few e-books at his level and let him read on yours for a change. Websites can also boost reading skills. Ask your child's teacher if his school has a subscription to an online reading program such as Reading A-Z or  Lexia that you can log on to over the summer. Or try, a free site that offers sight-word games, storybooks, and other activities organized by grade level. Just remember: One of the best strategies for motivating your child to read over the break is to limit overall screen time. "If your child has easy access to electronics that provide fun with little effort, reading is naturally going to be a tougher sell," says Daniel Willingham, Ph.D., a cognitive scientist at the University of Virginia, in Charlottesville. So stash books in the car, and the next time your child says he's bored, leave your smartphone in your purse and ask him to read a story to you instead.

        By Michelle Crouch from Parents Magazine