I’ve heard the horror stories: Hours on end spent in a stuffy car desperately trying to get to some specific event (a wedding, a theme park) on time with a constant chorus of “Are we there yet?” emanating from the backseat. It doesn’t have to be that way. There are some key things you can do to make your next family road trip your best ever. Here are five to get you started.

I recently did something parents dream about; I took a vacation. With my kids. I travel with my children frequently, and I love it, but I categorize most of these as trips rather than rejuvenating getaways. This time, though, I flew to Mexico, checked into the Rosewood Mayakoba in Playa del Carmen, and didn’t leave until…

Endless Winter: Utah

A good rule of thumb for the best spring skiing is to “head high.” The altitude of the Rockies makes the western U.S. especially attractive this time of year. While Colorado might be more popular, Utah can be just the place to go, particularly if you want to do more than just ski!

Recreational vehicles sit somewhere between hotels and tents. The upside: RV life is autonomous—your quarters travel with you—and allows for spontaneous stops. But then again, RVs need loads of gas and can be tricky to park. In any case, they represent a truly unique mode of transport that’s tailor-made for road tripping. Here’s your guide to getting started.

Over the years I’ve done most everything 
with my sons—jumped in puddles, ridden roller coasters, skied black-diamond slopes. I’ve always thought of myself as a “fun” mom. However, they’re becoming young men, and it’s harder for me to do what they do. As they continue to grow, my husband, Robb, and I know we don’t have much time left to travel with our boys before they head out into the world. Time for a classic American road trip, RV style.

Venice Carnival With Kids

I wanted to introduce my two sons to the concept of Carnival. But was there a way to do it without subjecting them to the lewd drunkenness and nudity that often accompany such celebrations? And with so many world-class cities hosting bucket-list worthy festivities, where would we go? Venice.

Traveler Editor at Large Christopher Elliott is the magazine’s consumer advocate and ombudsman. Over the past 15 years he has helped countless readers fix their trips. Here’s his latest advice…

Reader Question: Can kids still travel on a parent’s lap for free?

For the past three years, we’ve driven north to Quebec, where the locals not only embrace the cold, they celebrate it. We’ve partied at the city’s Winter Carnival, gone dog sledding through winding forest trails, ice-climbed at Montmorency Falls, and even stayed at the famous Hôtel de Glace. This year’s adventure? Cross-country skiing.

Five Family Travel Resolutions

I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions. But as winter continues its march (at least where I live in New York City), I’ve been dreaming up a few travel goals for 2014. Some are places, some are new services, all are experiences that will make this year of travel the best one yet.

My husband Ish and I thought we were adventurous people, but once our sons came into the picture, things felt a lot more risky. What if something happened to us out there? Or worse, what if some horrible parenting decision we made led to harm coming to one of our kids? Then we learned to let go–and it was the best thing for all of us.

Typical winter foods just aren’t my thing. I respect the fervor with which fans baste their roasts, whip their potatoes, and twirl their pasta. When the weather turns cold, I think about one thing: Tulum. This winter will be my fourth trip there, and each time I pull into this groovy Mexican beach town on the edge of the Riviera Maya, I find another restaurant that makes me swoon. Here are five musts.

Marco Polo observed early versions of dogsledding during his travels through Asia in the 13th century. Today, the activity endures as an ideal way to experience untouched winter landscapes. Start planning your first dogsledding–or skijoring–adventure with these quick tips from National Geographic Young Explorer Sarah McNair-Landry.

South Carolina’s Charleston offers a kid-pleasing combination of history and fun. Here’s a look at four ways to enjoy some quality family time in this charming Southern city.

Father-Son Bonding on Grand Teton

I’ve always wanted to give mountain climbing a try. But then I’d start thinking about how risky it was, and how much suffering seemed to go with the sport. There was always a reason to put it off. But when my eldest son became old enough to start looking at colleges, I realized that this was the perfect chance to try something new together. And what better place to give it a go than Grand Teton?

My family and I decided to go on a last minute trip at the end of this summer, and North Carolina met our criteria of minimal crowds and no flying. We drove south from NYC to the Outer Banks, then headed west all the way to the Appalachian Mountains. There, we found the highlight of our trip: Pisgah National Forest. Here’s why this wooded paradise provided the perfect backdrop to a classic family adventure.

Planning a family trip to the City by the Bay in the near future? Here’s a short-list of kid-friendly places and experiences in San Francisco.

My Guide to Napa With Niños

There are few places that evoke romance more than Napa Valley. Spectacular scenery, romantic inns, excellent dining, and, of course, plenty of wine combine to create something nearing the ultimate couples retreat. But, as I recently discovered, this viticultural wonderland doubles as an ideal escape for families.

Years ago, my husband and I drove the Pacific Coast Highway and quickly realized that we were passing through some of the most exotic and romantic landscapes in the world. Since then we’ve had a couple of kids, and we recently took them for their own California experience. This time we explored the valleys instead of the seaside — but we fell in love just the same. Here’s a download on the best of Silicon Valley.

Wild and Wonderful: Estes Park

Last weekend, I would witness the effect two recent front-page events are having on travel: The flooding in Colorado and the shutdown of the U.S. government.

The U.S. is a great country to explore, but if you don’t have the proper paperwork, popular family-friendly destinations like Mexico, Canada, Costa Rica, and most of the islands in the Caribbean are off limits. With or without a passport, however, there exists a place where American families can go to experience a culture much different from their own: Puerto Rico.

A Royal Weekend in London

Whether by luck or deft maneuvering, I’ve avoided a Disney vacation thus far. I have not had the same luck with the princess phase, which commandeered my daughter’s imagination somewhere around age two and hasn’t let up since. Recently, I decided to give into the royal impulses and take a trip to the magic kingdom — the British one, that is.

San Diego’s Balboa Park is a veritable universe unto itself. While everyone knows about the famous zoo tucked away in the 1,200-acre urban oasis, oodles of other attractions combine to make this a truly world-class destination. Here are 10 ways you can make the most of this natural and cultural wonderland with your kids.

Traveler of the Year Booker Mitchell was close to celebrating his fourth birthday when 9/11 happened. “Millions call New York City home, and while no one personally knows even a percentage of the population, we unite at times when it matters most and act locally like any other small town in the country or world,” he…

Mount Rushmore was conceived in the early 1920s by historian Doane Robinson to draw tourists to South Dakota. Today, nearly three million visitors come each year to ogle the massive busts, each as tall as a six-story building. Here are some fun facts about the national masterpiece.

Is Jamaica Kid-Friendly?

Plenty of my friends have traveled to Jamaica for romantic getaways, some R&R, and yes, to party and have a good time. But is this a place I could visit with my children without trepidation?