In the 1950s, the baby boom began, as soldiers returning from World War II?started their families. The federal highway system was created. And most standard labor agreements began including paid vacations. As a result, the growing middle class in America began to travel more often, and the family vacation was born.
Most families typically begin traveling by visiting out-of-town relatives.
For Katrina Brill of Howland, her husband, Steven and their four sons, 13-year-old twins, Nolan and Ethan, and 10-year-old twins, Lucas and Zachary, family travel began when the oldest boys were quite young.
Kameron Boser of Niles is shown getting ready to go on a family trip.
"We lived in Cleveland when we had our first set of twins,"?Brill said. "We would travel the hour ... almost every weekend to see family for birthdays, reunions, holidays, graduations, etc."
Niles residents, Ashley and Brandon Boser have already started traveling with their young family. Kameron is 3 years old and Kinsley is 1 and a half.
"Their first trip was when Kameron was 2 and Kinsley was just a few weeks old," Ashley Boser said. "We went to West Virginia to visit my mother-in-law. That was a three-hour trip by car."
Even an hour excursion can seem excruciatingly long if accompanied by a fussy toddler or an older child wondering if they have arrived at their destination. Luckily, the Brills and the Bosers have found ways to entertain their children during their trips.
"While traveling by car, we have movies playing and they listen to music or play handheld video games,"?Brill said. "While traveling by plane, it is music and video games. Steve also likes to play the license plate game."
Ashley Boser's children are too young to play video games for entertainment, but she still uses technology to keep them busy. Besides packing toys and snacks, she makes sure their cell phones are charged since the children like to play with them.
As children grow older, travel destinations change.
"When they were younger, we had a national zoo pass and visited San Diego, Columbus, Tampa, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Detroit and Akron zoos,"?Brill said. "We have been to Disneyland and Disney World, also Sea World and Universal Studios, water parks, and science centers. We have taken ski vacations in the winter, but our favorite vacation is the beach, and we travel to Hilton Head frequently."
When packing for a trip, parents must consider making their children feel comfortable at their "home away from home" with familiar items and plenty of clothing for different weather situations, and when clothes get dirty.
"We bring everything from toys to snacks, and they each have to have their 'baba,'"?Boser said. "For Kinsley it is her bottle and Kameron, it is a sippy cup. Kinsley is still in diapers, and if its summer, sunscreen and sun hats are a must."
Brill has seen what she packs change as the boys aged.
"When the children were little, we couldn't travel without certain blankies, one special stuffed animal and a special wolfie,"?she said. " We would have pack and plays, double strollers' diapers and everything imaginable. As they grew older, their needs grew smaller or we got smarter."
Even the best laid plans can end up with a hitch. Children lose things, or they can become ill during a highly anticipated trip.
When her children were very young, Brill experienced episodes of queasy stomachs, but for the most part her sons are hardy tourists.
"My children are good travelers, but one gets carsick, and he gets to sit in the front seat the majority of the time," she said. She also has a plastic bag and paper towels ready. The other three do not get motion sickness.
Despite the occasional travel mishap, Brill looks forward to traveling with her husband and sons because she sees it as a bonding experience. She also thinks that travel allows her sons to learn about other cultures and religions.
Both families aspire to future trips.
"We plan on taking many more trips the older they get. I'm sure many more trips to West Virginia and hopefully a trip to Disney World," Boser said.
Brill and her family are contemplating international travel.
"The children have gotten to feed dolphins at San Diego zoo and see a baby panda and touch manta rays at Cleveland zoo,"?Brill said. "They have gotten to see many animals from all over the world. Some day we hope to visit different countries where all the animals we have grown to know at the zoos are from."
Both families see many benefits of traveling with their children, but they advise parents to pack wisely, be prepared for any situation, but most of all enjoy your time together and create wonderful family memories.