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Travel with Children (Lonely Planet Travel Guides) Paperback – 1 Feb 2002
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...Lonely Planet, the intrepid traveler's bible...' --Los Angeles Times, April 2005
It's a small world after all! This well-researched guide now covers every region of the globe, proving it's actually quite a kid-friendly place. With travel advice that's as heavy on fun as it is on practicalities, the main goal is to ensure kids enjoy their trips as much as grown-ups do. Travel with Children is brimming with tips on tantrum-free travel with toddlers to teens.
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It really didn't give us anything new we hadn't gained from the general Lonely Planet books.
Of course you have to plan, of course you need to make certain some standard facilities are near by and of course you need to think about safety - but a standard trip to London would prepare you for that.
We found all the countries we visited geared up to travelling with kids, hotels/restaurants would go out of their way on portion size / healthy eating and most countries have officially sanctioned tourist offices - these were especially useful in NZ and Malaysia.
I would recommend this if you've never taken your kids on holiday or you suffer from nerves at the thought of getting on public transport with them. Also, it is another book to carry - and that weight needs to be signicantly valuable!
The second two-thirds of the book is a country-by-country guide to travelling with kids. There are three problems here, one inevitable, two not. The first is space - by tackling pretty much every country, few get more than a page which means advice is pretty sketchy and generally limited to a few words about the capital city. There is no advice on specific hotels or accommodations that are well set up for travellers with kids. It was also dispiriting how few local attactions had been sought ought, generally it was a list of the usual zoos, musueums and commercial playparks, amusement parks or water parks. The final gripe was that the tone was unrelentingly positive, almost as if it was propaganda to make people nervous about travel with kids do it. This is fine up to a point, but there was not one story (the country accounts are interspersed with individual traveller stories about their experiences in different places), that was not totally successful. Given that kids get ill/have accidents more often than adults this seemed ridiculously one sided - where were the accounts of trips spent in darkened hotel rooms ferrying the child to and from the toilet after they ate something dodgy on the first day? The long waits in foreign A&E departments, to be treated for a dog bite, after a child petted a stray? To avoid examples of these simply gave the anecdotal notes in the text a rather unreal air.
Having said all this, its not totally useless. The guide is okay in a general way, the stories make quite good reading. But if you have any common sense or empathy with your kids, then you don't need this book - by a good country guide for the place you're travelling too instead.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
If you are going to travel extensively with your kids, this is a nice book to have in your travel library. It does not get too specific about individual places, but then again it does have some interesting specifics you may not find in other books. The first-hand accounts are great. It is rather short, but it does have some good advice and anecdotes pertaining to travel in out-of-the-way places. I was disappointed it does not refer to the extent English is spoken in various foreign countries. However, if you are a little adventurous and are thinking about planning a trip with kids-in-tow, but don't know exactly where you want to go, this is a good book to use in the decision making process.
Much of the content is obvious, like bring some nappies when travelling with a baby (really!),the travel stories are strangely pedestrian ... even in the most exotic locations the stories and the people barely come to life it is so passionless, and single parents are given just a couple of pages.
On the one hand it is not particularly insightful or inspirational, and on the other hand it doesn't really take account of real problems that may arise e.g. a young toddler's illness abroad (my recent experience).
Some of the obvious things it says are, I have to say, truly breathtaking.
but its not so bad, if you can read through all the "filler" you might find a few interesting bits, you could borrow it from the library, but please don't shell out good money for such an unserious book.
one final constant annoyance is the author's constant referral to children (and babies presumably) as "kids". Why journalists do this I don't know. I think something dismissive about the term, and it says alot about the level at which the book is pitched.
While it's probably not the best for parents of older children (try Cynthia Harriman's Take your Kids to Europe), it's incredibly inspirational to those with children 4 and under, even those with multiple children 4 and under (one contributor has such a situation!). It's also *much* better than the previous edition by the same title, which you may still find floating around in used bookstores.
I only wish they had done some sort of "best of" list - i.e. best countries for parents of toddlers, best for parents of babies, best for older-younger kids, etc.