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BY LYNN O'ROURKE HAYES
The Dallas Morning News
Just because you've become a parent doesn't mean you have to stay put. Five ways to travel with wee ones:
1. Consider all-inclusives: At Beaches Resorts in Jamaica and Turks & Caicos, young travelers are cared for by certified nannies with more than 2,000 hours of experience and training in child safety. Toddlers enjoy beach and pool activities, puppet shows, face painting and more. Parents of newborns to 2-year-olds can enjoy uninterrupted beach time or a quiet dinner knowing babies are cared for in a nursery where child development specialists look after every need. A nurse is available 24 hours.
Contact: 888/232-2437; Beaches.com
2. Flight time: Book flights off-peak for less crowded conditions and book early for best choice of seats. Children under age 2 are safest buckled into a car seat, so plan accordingly. Family pre-boarding may sound appealing but settling in early can mean extra time in tight quarters. Consider sending one family member onboard early to organize seating and board with baby closer to departure. Take time to research TSA restrictions. Its site offers videos regarding travel with kids.
3. Cruise: A cruise ship provides a wide range of options for parents with young children. Many offer comprehensive children's programs, providing parents a chance to enjoy their own activities. On Disney's Wonder and Magic ships, tykes 3 months to 3 years can check into Flounder's Reef Nursery, a Little Mermaid-theme day care center. Character visits, shows, pools and arcade centers offer family fun.
Contact: 800/951-3532; Disney
4. Visit friends, family: Do you have cousins, siblings or pals with children the same ages as yours? Plan a visit to their town or invite them to yours. Peruse convention and visitor's bureau sites for outings and deals. Venturing out with folks who share similar interests, restrictions and nap requirements can provide a sense of well-being for all. But too many tots under the same roof might be overwhelming. Consider spending the night in accommodations that will support various sleep schedules and meal times.
5. Visit the zoo: Build a trip around an outing to a well-known establishment such as the San Diego Zoo, or visit one near your home. Investigate educational programs and tours, including animal encounters, overnights and backstage passes.
Contact: 619/231-1515; sandiego