Pack Heavy
When it comes to packing, forget the old “travel light” mantra of your younger years. Pack lots of extra shirts and underwear for the inevitable accident and a handful of plastic bags to carry damp toothbrushes and dirty clothes. Even a small child can learn to roll clothes to reduce wrinkling.

A small first aid kit — adhesive bandages, alcohol towelettes, as well as sunscreen and other helpers — is a must, as is a selection of easy-to-manage snacks for a long journey. And diapers might take up a lot of room, but, as you use them, you have more room for souvenirs.

Where to Go?
Kids love seeing in person things they recognize from books and movies, according to the people at Fodor’s travel guides. Watching a movie such as “Free Willy” might spur interest in a whale-watching tour in Gloucester, Mass., while a “Little House on the Prairie” book fan might like a trip to the prairie lands.

Once you’ve decided on a destination and a way to get there, savvy travelers say it’s crucial to plan the trip with the children in mind. Toddlers and teens have different needs and all family members should be considered in the trip’s itinerary. If you have a wide range of ages in your family, consider offering each child a day to plan.

And book a good amount of downtime.

“Parents often try to do too much,” Plowright said. “Pacing is especially important with younger children. It’s best to plan just one outing or activity per morning or afternoon. Then, if all is going well, you might add on something extra.”

Though the call of the Mouse is hard to ignore, Plowright said she would put off a trip to Disneyland or Disney World for children 3 and under. And, while others suggest waiting until children are older and can appreciate a European vacation, Plowright believes foreigners get much friendlier treatment in many European hot spots when they have young kids in tow.

“Yes, it’s true they won’t appreciate the Louvre — but when will they?” she said. “When they’re 8? 11? 15? You might have to wait until they’re middle-aged!”