Survey: Families traveling with grandparents

By Sean O'Neill
October 3, 2012

About 44 percent of families take at least one trip a year with their grandparents, according to a new survey.

Here's where that statistic comes from: People who visited the hotel-review site TripAdvisor were invited to fill out a survey. One of the questions was:

How many trips in a 12 month period that you typically take that involve not only the kids but also their grandparents?

Among U.S. parents with kids living in their household, 44 percent said that they take at least one trip a year with grandma and grandpa. TripAdvisor says the results are statistically representative of the U.S.

Do you travel with kids and grandparents in tow? If so, feel free to suggest your travel ideas, tips, and strategies...

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I hate Las Vegas

There—I said it. As the editor of a travel magazine I’m not supposed to hate any place, or so I’ve always assumed. If nothing else, it seems unkind to slag on a place that obviously other people enjoy. And honestly, I can usually find something fun and great and wonderful about anywhere. But as I was eating dinner tonight, I was flipping through Bon Appetit (looking good, by the way!), and I came across an ad for Wynn, the newish hotel from Steve Wynn. And every restaurant in the ad just seemed so awful. At this point, it’s old hat to complain about Vegas being fake, but I looked at the photos in the ad, and I just thought, They look like they’re from a computer game—maybe Grand Theft Auto: Country Club. I don’t want to be anywhere near these places. And I realized that if I never went to Vegas again, I’d be just fine. It’s a shame, because I grew up adoring the place; we’d drive there in our RV from Southern California, getting up very early in the morning, and we’d watch the city lights from across the desert floor. There was just nothing--nothing!--quite so amazing as pulling into town and seeing the lights of Las Vegas. The Wynn, however, looked as far from glamorous as you can get. I mean, I like tacky, but this was tacky in all the wrong ways. And it sure as hell didn’t look fun. But I didn’t want to just vent about Vegas; I actually wanted to ask those of you who really do enjoy it: Why? What is it that floats your boat about this place? What am I missing? Is it the feeling that anything can happen? (Personally, I can’t think of a place with more security cameras--you so much as pull out a camera in a casino and you’ll be face to face with the front door.)

Travel Tips

Airlines: A fresh seat design from Delta

Delta has announced plans for a revolutionary new seat design to be used on its international Boeing 777 and 767 fleet, beginning in 2010. The seat design first needs to receive regulatory approval for safety, says Delta spokeswoman Katie Connell. The unusual seat layout ensures that each passenger has two armrests. Delta and the seat manufacturer, Thompson Solutions, offered the following illustration: The manufacturer says that its seats will make it easier to get in and out of window seats when the other passengers stand up. It has a tip-up seat pan, like a movie theater seat that folds up, only with the seat flipping up from the inverse direction. The following images from the manufacturer's website illustrate this "tip-up" feature: hat tip to the blog One Mile at a Time

Security: Should pilots pack heat?

About 9,500 commercial pilots have legal permission to carry .40 caliber semi-automatic pistols in-flight. The Transportation Safety Administration says that pilots must past a week-long training course to have permission to carry a firearm in a cockpit. The agency expects to expand the program, allowing about 16 percent of pilots to carry firearms. The statistic was dug up by USA Today. About 40 readers commented on our earlier report about armed air marshals being added to transatlantic flights. Here are some of the comments: As a flight attendant I say HECK YES to air marshal's and to personal information being accessed. The public doesn't hear 1/4 of the stuff that happens on airplanes. Remember it is for your safety!—A Fletche I spent 26 years as a Federal Law Enforcement Agent flying around the country armed. I've flown on numerous flights with multiple armed Federal Agents (and Air Marshals) and I can assure you that the Captain and Crew WELCOME us with open arms. If THEY feel more secure, why shouldn't you, a traveler who logs much LESS time in the air than them? There are also armed cockpit members on several flights each and every day now. If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear from "your" government. Get a grip on reality and realize that the world has changed! As a whole we HAVE to provide greater security for the public who should be CLAMORING to demand it.—Dave Clark I would rather be armed myself -- I KNOW what I can do with a weapon, but I'm not convinced of what the U.S. Marshall can/could do with his should terrorists attempt to take over the aircraft. Oh, did I mention I'm an armed (and qualified) Security Officer, ex-Deputy Sheriff and retired U.S. Army?—R.L. Prasuhn, SSG, USA (Ret.) I don't feel secure with an armed and gung ho loose cannon with me in a sealed and pressurized box 40000 feet above the ground. Having the right to shoot they will shoot first and 9 out of 10 times find out later that they had shot an innocent and that their trained and augmented suspicion and paranoia had deceived them. ...Security begins and ends on the ground. if nothing gets on the plane then the passengers are safe.—Edmund Worrell Of course we are safer when an Air Marshal is on board a flight. Don't stop with transatlantic flights. Any double aisle aircraft presents a greater danger as a misssile than the smaller plans. They should be everywhere and nowhere so we can all sleep sounder. The diversity and blending techniques used by the air marshals mean they could be anywhere on the plane, even next to you.—John B Do you feel safer if your pilot is armed?


Freebie: Photoshop hits the Web

The Internet lets you touch up your digital photos with several free programs. But no Web tool offers you the power and speed of the desktop software Adobe Photoshop—used by professional graphic designers. Thankfully, Adobe debuted online last week a scaled-down version of its software: Photoshop Express, which is great for everyday touch-ups. Signing up is fast, uploading photos is painless, and instructions are easy to find. Store up to two gigabytes of photos for free. (That works out to about 500 to 1,000 photos, depending on the size of your images.) The program is similar to other photo storing sites, such as Flickr and Shutterfly, in offering basic functions like photo-cropping and red-eye removal. But Photoshop Express stands out with features like "White Balance," which fixes the light setting your camera used. "Tuning" tools allow you to fix what your camera might have missed, thus making the picture sharper and more balanced. Things get really fun with the "Effects" tools, which allow you to brighten up certain colors (among other tricks). For example, compare my original photo and my touched up version here: Whenever you choose a tool, a thumbnail bar appears at the top of your screen, so you can pick how far you want to go with each change. And it's easy to revert back to what you had before (should you make some unsightly mistakes). The site still has a few quirks to work out. It runs slowly, first of all. It also needs to improve its save system. The "save" button saves and then immediately takes you back to your library, when really I only wanted it to save my work so far and stay on the current screen. I'm an obsessive saver, so this was annoying for me. Yet, overall, Adobe gets a thumbs up. Try it at EARLIER Freebie: Get 1,000 prints digitized. Before you buy a camera, click here. How to store digital photos while traveling.