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The Philosophy of Family Travel

Thank you for visiting This site has developed a loyal group of readers and we value your time and welcome your ideas! This site not only considers how traveling with your young children can be a wonderfully satisfying adventure for everyone in your family, but also discusses a more European philosophy of travel which we believe allows for deeper and longer-lasting benefits than most Americans are accustomed to experiencing from vacation. Many of us inadvertently plan our trips around budget hotels and budget restaurants, trying to pack in as many activities and visits to area attractions as possible. We wonder why we end up more fatigued afterwards than before we left, not realizing that the surly service and treatment dished out in such hotels, as well as all of the running around destroys our sense of serenity. Vacationing can be an invigorating and powerful personal experience, where we recapture what we need emotionally, and regain that which has been depleted from us during our everyday ruts. We delineate in this site a type of vacationing which will allow you to return home with a feeling of transcendence and clarity that you can then carry into your particular avenue of life.

In order to put this philosophy into practical operation requires knowing the most suitable destinations. You will need a luxurious and restful place to go that accommodates your young child and simultaneously creates a relaxing ambiance for the adults. We have done all of the leg-work necessary so you don't have to waste your precious vacation time trying out places which may or may not possess both or even one of these two critical characteristics. If you have already attempted upscale traveling with a young child or children, we don't need to tell you that a great many luxury resorts discourage and some even restrict young children from the premises. These resorts have developed for themselves their own subcategory, not openly advertised, as "adult-only" hotels. However, on this site we reveal California's most child/baby-friendly luxury resorts, hotels, and restaurants. Our second criteria list focuses on the locale's conduciveness to romance. Both sets of criteria as well as my scoring system key (not necessarily corresponding with Triple A's Diamond system or Mobil's Star system) are blueprinted here. If the particular locale did not rank well on both counts, it did not go into this site.

The ones that did make it in, however, are fabulous. Ernest Hemingway had said that when he pictured his afterlife, it always took place at the Ritz (qtd. in Resorts and Great Hotels 1). We have included three Ritz-Carltons, and the other resorts listed are every bit as sensational. The masses do not know about most of these places because these resorts are not catering to the masses. These are unique places that promote spectacular memories, the kinds with which we want to fill our photo albums and our lives, and where we may also happen to espy a celebrity breakfasting at the next table from us or quietly leaving the spa. Yes, you can go to these places without earning a celebrity's salary, and we will show you how.

Let's return now to the initial question posed by this page. One of the most reassuring thoughts to realize when deciding to travel with your child is that you will be undertaking this quest within a vast infrastructure of support. Modes of travel, like everything else, adapt and change according to the trends of the times. Our generation, which is more child-centered than ever, also happens to be a very consumer-oriented one, and, consequently, many avenues of industry are racing to anticipate and meet our needs. The travel and tourism industry is no exception.

The direction of travel in the twenty-first century is that more and more couples and single parents are opting to take their children and babies along on vacations that might previously have been designated exclusively as "romantic" or "business" travel. The lines between business/romantic/family travelers, once well defined, is blurring. H. James Holroyd, M.D. asserts: "Probably never before now has vacation time and travel with young families been so common. Certainly even more is expected in the coming years." (qtd. in Tristam 2) More substantially, the Travel Industry Association has reported that between 1988 and 1998, the number of people traveling with children has increased 68 percent. As a result, savvy resorts, hotels, restaurants, rent-a-car dealers, and cruise lines are learning to cater towards this widening group, striving to simultaneously satisfy the romantic yearnings of the parents, the technological needs of the mom and/or dad on business, and yet at the same time, the interests of their children or babies, as it may be.

For instance, certain four and five-star hotels and resorts, viewed throughout this site, besides offering ocean views and in-room fax machines, will also baby-proof the rooms and provide children's menus, activities, and programs. Particular rent-a-car dealers will install their own child and baby seats in the car, so parents no longer need to drag theirs along throughout the vacation. Some individual cruise lines offer bonded baby-sitting services so parents can enjoy a night of dining or dancing on board without ever being more than 10 minutes away from their baby. In the course of our research for this site, we have found that a great many parents, especially new ones, are not aware of all of the amenities and services such as these within the travel world that are available to them. One purpose of this site, among others, is to introduce you to the many new options waiting to be used, and to point you in the direction of the specific pre-tested places and services that rank highest in terms of baby and child-friendliness, which will make traveling with your kids most amenable.

Resorts and Great Hotels. 2000 Edition, pg 247.

Tristam, Claire. Have Kid, Will Travel. Andrews McMeel Publishing: Kansas City, 1997, pg 1.

FEATURED RESORT: Meadowood Napa Valley

The Meadowood, in lovely Napa Valley, is characterized by gracious wine country hospitality and a brimming menu of resort amenities: two croquet lawns, seven tennis courts, a 9-hole walking golf course, a 25-yard lap pool, a family swimming pool and a complete health spa providing fitness services such as personal training and luxury treatments. The Meadowood is also a private club and a wine center with two restaurants, The Restaurant, for formal fare, and The Grill, for a more casual atmosphere. Read the full review. More>>