My parents never booked an all-inclusive

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Family travel was one of the hot topics discussed at a panel here in New York City yesterday. Seems the trend among families is for vacations that offer "one-stop shopping." Two of the panelists (Emily Kaufman, aka The Travel Mom; and Dorothy Dowling, the senior vice president of marketing and sales for Best Western) explained that families are more and more likely to look for hotels or cruises that will take care of everything: lodging, meals, entertainment, tours, outdoor activities, and so on. The other panelists from AAA and Southwest Airlines agreed.

All-inclusive vacations are a far cry from the family vacations of my childhood, where my parents would spend months before each trip piecing together every last detail, from hotel reservations and train tickets right down to which trail we would hike at Yosemite and what snacks we'd bring along the way.

I guess the new approach shouldn't come as much of a surprise--no country has embraced the notion of one-stop shopping quite like ours. Still, I have to wonder if there isn't something to be said for creating your own trip, specifically tailored to your family's needs. After all, even the best trip coordinator wouldn't have known that I preferred Reese's Peanut Butter Cups for a snack and my sister wanted a Kit Kat.

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