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Back To School Doesn’t Mean “No More Vacations.”

I know it’s hard to think about family travel when your kids have just started school….mine went back about a week ago and I’m still drowning in all of the forms and “please-fill-this-out” paperwork. Some of us may have had time to take a nice, long family vacation this summer, but most Americans don’t seem to get around to it (unlike Europeans, who go on summer holidays for weeks at a time, and look at you with pity if you don’t do the same.)

Me, I was orchestrating a move this summer from one state to another and trying to find a home. There were a few bumps, and we are just today closing on a house and moving out of our hotel.

Remember, though; there are going to be 3-day weekends coming up (Labor Day, Columbus Day, etc.) plus no-school teacher workdays. Those are always great opportunities to take a quick, fun trip.

One of those many papers that came home from school is a calendar with all of those dates, plus it will be on your school’s Web site. Get a jump on things by putting all of those dates, right now, on your family calendar for the whole academic year. You can be making hotel reservations for a New Year’s getaway while everyone else is just discovering that it’s Labor Day next week.

Now that air travel is exponentially more difficult, I wouldn’t recommend flying unless you have older kids who can amuse themselves; it’s too far into the Just Too Hard category. Make it a road trip, about 2-3 hours from your house at the most.

Here are some links to get you in the planning mood:

** From the New York Times, here are practical and focused family travel sites with a wealth of information.

** Want info from real parents who “just got back” from somewhere? Take a look at the reports on WeJustGotBack.com, currently featuring insights on Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

** As always, Frommer’s has a comprehensive list of trip planning resources for families.

** From Canada’s Globe & Mail, some ideas for house-swapping as a way to really get local with your kids in some pretty cool places.

** The Web site for the magazine Transitions Abroad has a great list of travel and culture-related Web sites.

** If you do have time for more world-wide destinations, there’s Kids Can Travel, plus Inside Out magazine has an amazing list as well.

Thanks to the Work at Home Mom bloggers for the chance to write about their question of the week.

Note:  This is a 22 September 2006 re-post of a 25 August 2006 previously published item, from a Google cache. I am re-creating some recent posts that disappeared in a BootsnAll server crash.  The original comments were unfortunately lost.