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Simple steps to hassle-free family vacationing

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Posted: Monday, February 10, 2014 4:00 pm | Updated: 1:33 am, Wed Feb 12, 2014.

Was your last family vacation a spectacle that would have made Clark Griswold proud? While Clark’s heart was always in the right place, his family vacations often suffered from less-than-stellar planning and unrealistic expectations. Fortunately, your family never again has to live their own version of a Griswold holiday.

A hassle-free family vacation can be had by following a few simple steps:

1. Make a list – Have everyone in the family make a list of “must-haves” for their dream vacation, “would-like-to-haves” and “couldn’t stand it.” Then, compare lists and look for common themes. For example, perhaps Mom wants great shopping, the kids need beach time and Dad wants to play some golf. A beach resort town is likely to have something for everyone.

2. Do your homework – Once you’ve narrowed your list of possible destinations, use online resources to learn more about what each location has to offer. Be sure to consider lodging availability and pricing, dining options, activities and entertainment. Whatever destination you choose, it should have something of interest for every family member.

3. Let professionals do the heavy lifting – Planning a beach trip can be easy, but if your dream family vacation is more complex – say a three-city tour of Italy – it makes sense to turn to an all-inclusive tour company like Tauck. With decades of planning experience and destination knowledge, the tour company takes care of all the details, from lodging and sightseeing to on-tour transportation and special entertainment. Traveling with a tour group can give your family access to unique experiences and entertainment, help you avoid long lines and scheduling conflicts, and get you into must-see attractions that often must be booked months or even years in advance. With everything included in the cost, the only thing you’ll have to think about is airfare.

It’s also important to choose tours designed with families in mind, such as Tauck’s Bridges itineraries. Lodging, locations and activities are all chosen to appeal to multi-generational travelers, so that each tour offers fun and adventure for everyone in the family. Professionals like the team at Tauck Bridges have extensive experience in family travel planning, and they know how to arrange schedules so that everyone stays excited and engaged, while allowing for downtime and relaxation.

If you’re planning a family vacation abroad – be it Europe, Africa or Latin America – traveling with a tour company can help ensure you make the most of your investment. Tour guides know the best locations and sights to see, and how to help you maximize your time in a never-before-visited location. Instead of spending time coordinating the trip yourself, you can focus on enjoying what – for many families – is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Finally, set realistic expectations. Poor Clark often found himself disappointed when things didn’t go exactly as he’d planned, but the reality is that even the best-planned family vacation will have surprises. Traveling with a tour company like Tauck Bridges can ensure your family enjoys more pleasant ones than the Griswolds did!

To learn more about Tauck Bridges Family Travel and to view itineraries, visit www.tauck.com/family-travel.

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Should graduations return to the Grape Bowl?

Lodi Unified leaders are moving Lodi and Tokay high school graduations from the Grape Bowl to the Spanos Center at UOP in Stockton. They cite limited seating, costs and unpredictable weather at the Grape Bowl. But others say graduations at the Grape Bowl are an important Lodi tradition, and one reason many supported renovating the stadium. What do you think?

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