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What to Expect from Family Travel in 2013

Matt Villano

As 2013 approaches, it’s high time to spotlight the good and the bad of what to expect from family travel in the New Year.

First, the good.

According to Travel & Leisure, a number of the “most important travel trends” for 2013 relate to families. Among them: The increased prevalence (and increased affordability) of cruising, further expansion of the green movement in travel, a growing number of tourists renting villas, the widespread use of electronic  travel documents, and a general move to make airports more fun.

There are a handful of other trends, as well—some of which I’ve chronicled for AOL Travel here.

Another big one is a spate of new-and-improved children’s museums across the country. To wit: the National Children’s Museum opened near Washington, D.C., earlier this month; the children’s museum in Las Vegas is moving into new digs in February, and the Exploratorium, in San Francisco, reopens in a new home this summer.

Then, of course, there’s the bad—namely a) a growing sentiment for kid-free cabins on domestic flights in the U.S., and b) a growing number of domestic airlines charging families fees to guarantee seats together.

On this latter point, one reader recently noted that the Families Flying Together Act aims to protect families from being split on commercial flights. Still, at least according to one reputable source, this bill stands very little chance of becoming law, and nobody even knows when the bill will be dealt with in committee next.

Whatever the industry throws at us families in 2013, it’s important to get out there with the kiddos and explore.

If possible, go far and go often. If not, make an effort to pile in the car and travel to the nearest big city. At the very least, the experience undoubtedly will open your children’s minds and force them to start thinking about the world in different ways.

Above all else, IMHO, that’s what makes family travel so great.