Family travel island style

More than fun in the sun

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Lori Seltzer

I spent six weeks in Puerto Rico with an extended family during my turbulent adolescence. I sailed the BVI with a seasick husband and our two prepubescent offspring. I lost my 12-year daughter at a market in St. Martin (She said I was lost, but she was not) And I drove from Montego Bay to Negril Jamaica with mononucleosis, and three reggae-singing teens.

Family vacations, roughly defined as trying to relax and have fun with more than yourself or one significant other, pose their challenges.

But they also offer a one of a kind opportunity to bond in a way you can’t at home. Sharing new people, places and experiences allows us to understand each other’s perspectives too.

Traveling throughout the Caribbean with its many cultures also offers a valuable lesson in diversity.

Resorts throughout the region offer plenty of activities for families, and many geared to children of all ages.

What’s not to love about a beach AND a pool?

But don’t let yourself get totally captured at a resort, and underexpose your family to Caribbean culture.

Discover native foods, seek out local music, and art. And bring home real made in the Caribbean goods.

And while I’m expounding here are a few more suggestions.

• Pack light- Just ONE carry on piece of luggage per family member- no exceptions.

•Remember sunscreen, insect repellent, prescription medicine, comfortable shoes, swimsuit, flip-flops and a hat.

Add a nice easy to wash dress, pants and collared shirt, for dining out. or a special event.

• Make sure you leave Aunt Mindy’s pearls at home. Ditto for any family heirlooms, and the new camera or camcorder you really don’t know how to work yet.

• Decide on each child’s travel budget before you go. If your children are old enough, let them stash their own cash in a safe, but accessible place.

• Work as a democracy. If the children are old enough vote on where to go and what to do.

• Schedule some “ parent time.” Leave the kids with a trusted babysitter or plan a romantic candlelight dinner on the deck after your brood is in bed.

Who says a little romance can’t happen on a family vacation?

The Mikkelsen family on vacation from Denmark vists an art gallery in St. Croix U.S. Virgin Islands. Photographed with friends Winnie Loving and Inglore Westerman from St. Croix. photo by D.B. Bostdorf

After multiple family vacations to the Caribbean, Lori Seltzer now makes her home here.

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