I'm getting that question a lot recently.  It's a lot of fun exploring your options for where to take the family next Spring.  My first thought, however, is that you should have been asking me this question a few months ago.  At this point of the year, all the type-A planners, me included, have snatched up their favorite units in the best condos and the best family accommodations in the most popular resorts.  Don't despair.  I am still finding availability at my clients' #1 choice resorts and condos.

Unless you are driving or using frequent flyer points, your first place to look is at airfare. Airfare from one location to the next can vary dramatically.  With a family, you are talking about $1000-2000 difference in airfare.  Also, don't assume international airfare will always be higher.  Right now, it is cheaper to fly to Cayman Islands than to fly into Miami on certain dates next March.  I have also found that First-Class on American to the Caribbean can be cheaper than the coach tickets on the same flight;  I flew my family to Nassau last Spring Break in First-Class for almost half the cost of the coach seats on the same flight!

Next, the number of resorts and condominiums can be overwhelming.  Don't just rely on the statement that a place is "kid-friendly".  That usually means your kids ages 5-11 will have a blast.  If all your kids are younger than 5, go for the resort that is small and quiet. You will relax more and kids that age need little to be entertained.  Kid-friendly also usually means that you are going to be exhausted from the waterslides, noise and crowds.  What we do for our kids...At a small resort, you can leave the diaper bag in the room and the mountain of other kid-gear, because your ground floor room will be only steps from your spot in the sun.  If you prefer a higher room with a view, make sure there is an elevator,  or you will be lugging the stroller up and down the steps.

Once your kids are teenagers, adventure trips are awesome.  You have spent years on the beach, since it is easier on mom and dad and more fun for the kids.  Now that they are older, it is time to see new places, meet interesting people and try new things.  Costa Rica is a great place to start.  You fly to the Caribbean to hang on the beach with some of the best snorkeling.  You then head into the interior of the country for ziplining fun, ancient volcanoes and amazing animal and bird sightings.  Then you head to the Pacific side of the country for more relaxation and watching the sunset at fabulous resorts.  For urban adventures, I think Los Angeles, Washington D.C or New York are fantastic vacations with the family.  

Skiiers are much easier...they tend to return to the same mountain every Spring.  If you want to try somewhere new this year, I love to recommend Steamboat Springs.  It is my all-time favorite ski town!  It also has one of the very best youth ski programs available.

If you have kids at all ages traveling with you, from infants to grandparents, what should you do?  Take a cruise.  A cruise is the best way to make sure everyone in your group has a fantastic time.  Which cruise company and cruise ship to book is a much more complicated story that depends on your family's personality, how deep your pockets are and availability.  Cruises sell out a year in advance, because the cost only increases as departure date approaches.  When you check out the prices for last minute cruise bookings, you may very likely turn into the type-A planner and book the cruise for 2015 while booking a nice roomy condo for 2014.

I'm happy to help you sort through your many options to assure you choose the right vacation for your family and get the most value for your Dollar at 314-608-4553 or julie@topflighttravels.com.  Also, visit www.topflighttravels.com.

Happy Spring Break planning!

Spring BreakJulie Jones