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SanTan Family Fun Calendar


Staycations: Low on cost, high on fun meter


Just 4 Kids Sponsored by

City of Chandler Recreation Division

Travel resources

To learn more about traveling with teens and tots – minus the hassles – check out these listings.



Transportation Security Administration

“Traveling with children” children/index.shtm

Disney family fun:

“Plane Advice about Kids,” by Jeanne Muchnick vacations/plane-advice-about- kids-711537/

Parents magazine

“Travel with Kids” (DVD series)

by Janson Media

“The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World with Kids”

by Bob Sehlinger, Len Testa, Liliane Opsomer


Travel tips

“Are we there yet?”

“Can’t I just stay here with my friends?”

For many parents, family trips are more relocation than vacation. But the good news is parents can tailor their family’s travel experiences to appease teens and tots by doing just a few simple things, says Darlene Schenck of Southern Chandler, who owns CruiseOne travel alongside her husband, Ray.

Destination is the first decision, and the family’s budget and kids’ ages are paramount.

“I think the key is to start with smaller trips like the Grand Canyon. Historical sites like Hoover Dam are also great fun and very informative,” Schenk suggests. However, every other day of the vacation, especially on long road trips, the family should visit places children choose, such as a museum, amusement park or water park. Next comes packing. For car journeys, travelers can pack as much “stuff” as they possibly can, without any weight restrictions. However, those flying to their vacation spots should travel as light as possible.

“When packing for a plane, try to not take a full supply of diapers, for example. Get them as you go. This will make it easier so you’re not handling tons of luggage,” Schenk details.

After packing, it’s time to hit the road, whether traveling to the airport, to a cruise’s starting locale or beginning a road trip. For longer car trips, one idea to thwart tots’ travel woes is to begin the sojourn at bedtime.

“You will have a six to eight hour start before they wake up,” Schenk advises.

iPods, portable gaming systems or DVD players can also keep youth occupied instead of complaining. “If they can’t read, read to them and make this a time to bond,” Schenk recommends.

And, keep palates satisfied by taking one or more favorite edible for each family member.

“Try something they don’t get often. This will make it a real treat.” Being cooped up in a car with teens can turn out to be a real blessing. “Being able to talk to teenagers is a great advantage in the car. They can’t go to their rooms. They are stuck,” Schenk quips.

For times when parents want to catch a few nods, teens can entertain themselves with a laptop computer while commuting on any transportation mode.

Of course, cruising is the travel method closest to Schenk’s heart. “The ships are full of things to do for the entire family,” she explains. Entertainment might include programs

keep family vacations

by Sharon Schnakenburg-Hess

for ages 3 to 18 or even parent- toddler classes that promote bonding. Additionally, some ships run the gamut from movies, bowling alleys and ice- skating rinks, to waterslides, pools and even surfing simulators. “Those are a blast!” Schenk exclaims.

Meanwhile, the sky’s the limit as far as cruise destinations, and SanTan Sun area residents have it easy. “We are lucky to be close to California and can take several ships from there.”

Schenk speaks from experience, having gone on family vacations with her husband and two now-grown children when they were teens. The family’s favorite jaunts were to “amusement parks and definitely Hawaii.”

But Schenk’s first love is still planning the vacation. And she had quite a bit of experience doing so, even prior to opening CruiseOne four years ago.

“I have been planning my friends’ and families’ vacations for years and years. My favorite thing to do is to plan a trip, even if I can’t go on it,” she concludes.

Sharon Schnakenburg-Hess is a freelance writer who can be reached at

What’s Inside

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