Road trips were the easiest and cheapest for us. We traveled during different week long summer trips to Colorado, Utah, Alabama, Canada, and many trips in Michigan.
Our trips involved family interaction all day long. This was before electronic everything and movies on the TV in the backseat. After a few years of traveling, we did get a TV which showed only 3 channels and only while traveling through cities! So we depended on toys...I glued Velcro on the toys so the boys could stick them to the carpeted walls of the van...worked for a while:) We sang silly songs together and spotted the alphabet along the roadways. Of course we had sleeping and snacking when in the car. There were puzzles, coloring books, books to read, and always a "surprise bag" for each boy to be opened on a certain day of the trip.
We usually didn't plan where we were going to spend the night, but we did have to plan stops along the way...you know, the potty break! We often stopped at rest areas for a picnic lunch and to let the boys run around, chase each other, and release some of that steam!!
Remember, as a part of a family vacation, you should be open to stopping at some of those "tourist traps" that the kids want to see. It doesn't matter if you don't want to...it's not about you!! You might actually enjoy the Mystery Spot, The Dinosaur Store, Shell City, or Wall Drugs. We did!! Agreeing to go to these kid places needs to be after they show good behavior, never after you've already said "No". So decide to say "Maybe" until after you can think about it. Once that 'no' comes out of your mouth--NOTHING should change it, especially whining, pouting, or crying...unless you want that behavior to continue every time you say "No":)
This was just a start....ideas to help with family vacations...more to come in the future!
D and C