Navigating the family vacation

Indeed, his "100 Places" include 34 within the United States (Grand Canyon, Big Sur, Great Smoky Mountains, Washington, D.C., and Manhattan, among them). And, as he points out in the introduction, traveling with an open mind and immersing yourself in your adopted culture — domestic or foreign — is more important than identifying the perfect spot.

"I want you to consider how and why to travel with kids — not just where," he writes.

Of course, your grand plans may be met with a collective eye roll when you present them to the portion of the family who's pushing hard for a theme park. But press ahead, Mogel says.

"Parents have a broader view of what makes good memories," she says. "The kids are free to complain, and the parents don't have to do a huge public relations effort to make the kids happy about the idea. You just present it as, 'This is the plan we've made for this trip, and we anticipate and hope you'll enjoy it.'

"And there can be compromise. 'On the third day, we can do x or y, whichever one appeals to you.' Make it as much of a team effort as possible."

Then step aside. "As adults, we all want our kids to see the world through our eyes," Bellows says. "But it's a whole lot more fun if you look at it through theirs. We have to get out of the way of trying to fill their worlds with wonder and allow their own wonder to come forward."

Twitter @heidistevens13

Making memories

In "100 Places That Can Change Your Child's Life: From Your Backyard to the Ends of the Earth," author Keith Bellows offers tips for "planning, packing and preparing for travel with kids." Among them: helping youngsters preserve the memories.

"As young children, my sister and I were encouraged to keep a journal of our travels," Tennessee resident Caroline Lamar tells Bellows. "I'm continuing that with my three daughters. It helps them capture memories of a trip on their own terms ... (and) also helps them remember details they might otherwise forget. A journal is a great place for them to store travel keepsakes such as postcards, dried and pressed flowers, sketches, tickets from climbing to the top of a lighthouse."

— H.S.