Archive for March 20th, 2007

Tips for Family Travel in NYC

I’m back from a whirlwind jaunt to New York City – feeling like I spent more time in buses and planes than I did in Manhattan. Nevertheless, I had an absolute blast (it’s hard not to in New York), and I’ve come back with some lessons for family travel.

This trip was about spending time with family – my girlfriend’s, that is. Now, almost everyone I know been on a family trip, both dedicated travelers and homesteaders, and stories about these vacations are almost always peppered with tales of familial tension. But I hope these tips will help readers relax, and get the most out of their next family travel experience:

1. Leave your plans at home

When the real goal is just to spend time with loved ones, don’t get bogged down with wanting to go see a bunch of sites or wanting to go eat at particular restaruants – just go with the flow. Keeping this in mind, we were taken to an absolutely amazing Broadway show and noshed on some unexpectedly delicious food. So unless you’re all strapped for ideas, ditch the guidebook – you’ll have a better time, and this way you’re more likely to have an experience that you didn’t expect. Which brings me to…

2. Be Open

Be ready to do things that you normally wouldn’t – in my case, this was going to Sunday Mass. Now, I’m not Catholic and I’ve never been a churchgoer, but that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate the stunning architecture of St. Patrick’s Cathedral or the serene Latin chanting of the priest. If you’re open, you’ll just enjoy the experience instead of wishing you were doing something else.

3. Be a decider

Playing the host is hard – especially with family, it’s difficult to find something that everyone will enjoy doing. And so when your host offers suggestions, don’t get caught in the “Well I dunno, what do you want to do?” trap – just make a decision. The other side of the coin is not to always be the decider, but if everyone else seems passive, go ahead and assert that strolling around SoHo sounds like a splendid idea.

4. Take it in

We live in a mobile society, and opportunities to gather with friends and family are increasingly rare. So take in the moment and appreciate the fact that you have time to spend with your loved ones. Savor the communal slurping of soup dumplings, and share the beer – because the trip will always end too soon.

Happy travels ~

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March 2007