Lonely Planet Travel With Children 5th Ed.: 5th Edition Paperback – Jul 2 2009
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About the Author
LONELY PLANET aims to cater for every independent traveller, whatever the destination, whatever the style of travel and whatever the phase of the journey.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
My own personal experience has been flying with kids from NY to Hawaii (10+ hours each way) and from NY to Hong Kong (15+ hours each way). I was hoping for additional tips to make things smoother in flight but there wasn't anything earth shattering here.
The book is broken down into a few key sections:
- Trip Preparation (52 pages, 8 of which is dedicated to air travel specifically)
- On the Road (20 pages on routines while traveling)
- Types of Holidays (21 page overview on camping, resorts, tours, etc)
- Destinations (155 pages on different cities to visit around the world with about 1/2 page dedicated to each city)
- Travel Games (4 pages)
So it's not a "complete resource" as the full book title claims. More than 1/2 of the book is a travel guide of various cities. And each city is only given 1/2 page of coverage. I would suggest buying a few travel books focusing on the cities that you are considering instead. (There are many travel destination books with a focus on kids. And most travel books have at least a small section for kids). I feel this book could have been a lot better if it used the ;ast half of the book for more travel tips rather than an overview of cities around the world.
+ Good overview of air travel with kids (if you've never done it before). Also consider the CARES, Child Aviation Restraint System harness in place of lugging a car seat. You can buy this harness for kids 2+ and it's FAA approved for use in flight. But this wasn't mentioned in the book.
+ Good tips on trip preparation like immunizations, medical kits, etc.
- This book is more of a destination guide and each destination is only covered with 1/2 page of information on average.
- Not really needed if you've traveled with kids (successfully) before
I love Lonely Planet guides and this was not the among the best. It's good for an overview for the inexperienced. It is not the "complete resource" that it claims to be.
I have to admit I was somewhat jaded when I received this book to review from Amazon Vine - My wife and I have taken two toddlers (including a terrible two) to Taiwan and had three kids five and under to the Virgin Islands, Utah, Puerto Rico, Maine, and on planes more times than we could count. What could this book tell me I hadn't already lived?
For one, more than half the book (~185 of 275 pages) is dedicated to telling you which places are good for given activities (Beach, camping, cities, adventure, etc) while being kid friendly. It also gives a few pages on travel games you can play to keep the kids occupied. There is also advice on older children, up to teenagers.
I admit that much of the advice in he first two sections ("Before you go" and "on the road") seemed very basic, but I expected that given my experience with our kids. There are some good tips on how to address issues like schoolwork while you're away. Very little is rocket science, but it's a thorough resource for covering all the bases.
We have several extensive travel checklists - one for overnight road trips, others for week long trips by plane. A sample checklist for different scenarios would have been a good add.
In fact, I'd recommend anyone traveling with kids adopt this approach - it's not like you can easily go get the right kind of pacifier or lovey at 11 am in a foreign country....
Full disclosure: I received this item through the Amazon "Vine" program
If you've found this review helpful, please let me know!
Naturally, I was excited about this one. My husband and I are planning a trip to Europe next summer and we will be taking along a six-year-old and a one-year-old. We have some ideas of things we can do that will be fun for the kids but I was looking for some hidden gems that wouldn't be known to the casual traveler, the kinds of tips that only insiders would know about and that would help us to make this a wonderful trip for the kids.
I eagerly turned to the section on Europe only to find it extremely slim. Apparently, countries like Germany, Belgium, and Switzerland--amongst others--are a total waste of time if you have kids as they are not even covered in the book. Even the countries that are covered--such as France and Italy--consist of little more than some very general information. Thanks to the guidebook, I now know that taking the kids for a gelato in Italy should prove an enjoyable experience for them. I'm sure I would never have thought of this myself. Really, the only thing worthwhile are the hotels named in various regions as that does give me something of an idea of good places to stay with kids. I did also find the bits of information on how people of other cultures respond to kids to be somewhat informative. Still, there is no real insightful information here and I'd venture to say that any parent would deduce that taking their kids to Euro Disney would likely go over well with said children.
The only other part of the book that I found at all useful was the section on travel games. There were some good ideas in there as to games to keep the kids occupied not only while in the car but also while standing in line waiting to enter tourist attractions. I will definitely test some of these suggestions when we are on our trip.
Other than that, there is really nothing to recommend this guide. I'd definitely advise spending your hard-earned dollars on a Frommer's or Fodor's guide. They may not specifically be tailored toward family travel but they offer plenty of insider information that will allow any parent to make a more informed decision about what to see and what to pass up while traveling with the little ones. Not so of this guidebook.
This travel book is a reference guide divided into five main sections with colored tabs on the edges of the pages help assist parents as they search for the correct section of interest. Organization is an important part of any travel guide and this book's organization makes it fairly easy to find exactly what you want. It also helps by indicating web sites, phone numbers, and costs for some of the destinations so that parents can research more and also have an idea of expenses. There are even Traveler's Tales inserted throughout each section (short family vacation stories told by some of the book's contributors) and these serve to give the book a friendlier, more personal dimension.
I like the helpfulness of Travel with Children: Your Complete Resource and it does offer some useful tips on such topics as food and drink, games to play while driving, special considerations when traveling with infants, etc. However, this book is not necessarily the perfect travel companion, like I had hoped. The preparation sections are generally good, even though I question the wisdom of some of the advice, like the recommendation that you use cloth diapers while traveling in order to cut down on environmental waste. What I like least of all is the briefness of two of the sections: Travel Holidays and On the Road; and the great feeling of disappointment after thumbing through the destination part of the book, particularly the section that covers travel in the United States. The section that covers the USA is only ten pages in length and most of the U.S. states are not even mentioned. What is worse is that the attractions highlighted are often not even the best attractions to see. I'm not sure why so little space was dedicated to United States travel. Other destination sections are longer, and that includes places where most people have no travel plans today or likely ever, such as the Middle East.
I agree that traveling with children can present special challenges, and I also agree that these obstacles can easily be prevented or minimized with proper planning. Travel with Children: Your Complete Resource is an acceptable guide for travel with youngsters with some good tips and helpful hints designed to make your vacation as trouble- free as possible. It won't be sufficient for a full vacation experience, due to the briefness of many of its sections, and some of the advice is either questionable or so obvious that many readers will roll their eyes as they read. But this is still a decent guide overall, with some good ideas for vacation travel and some good suggestions for games to play when children get restless.
For those who don't want all the planning and want more spontaneity there is a short 2 page section that lists Adventure Tours that do package deals more focused for children. Pricey but then all the work of planning is pretty much done for you and if you are busy and want to enjoy the ride then this option may be the way for you.
However, if you are looking for a book that is comprehensive in an area you want to visit I don't think this guide is for you. It a general guideline to help you plan and decide where you want to go and warns of pitfalls that many parents forget to prepare for. Once you have made your decision (unless you hire a professional tour guide) you will STILL need to buy a separate book for the area you plan to visit if you want to fully appreciate it. That being said, it still feel it is a useful book that has some fresh ideas that are practical if not long on material.