ARUBA - For parents with children, the idea of going away on vacation can be beyond imaginable. Aside from all the packing and organization, keeping the kids and parents happy is just as difficult.

"Vacationing with kids is messy, aggravating and amazing, all at the same time," said Matthew Smillie, owner of Aruba Villa Vacation Rentals. "Parents take their kids on vacation with them to show them the world, but sometimes it can be more stressful than educational."

Smillie suggests with a little planning and an easygoing attitude, a family trip to Aruba can be a dream vacation from start to finish.

  1. Pack for the plane or car ride. A fully charged DVD player with movies, a handheld gaming system, coloring books and MP3 player are just a few ways to keep kids entertained on the flight. Be sure to bring a change of clothes, juice boxes, snacks, wipes and extra diapers in your carry-on.
  1. Rent a villa or a house, as hotels are not very kid friendly. Noises on the other side of the wall greatly interfere with naptime and kids tend to make a lot of noise, which can cause complaints from the neighbors. A mini fridge and elevators do not provide the comforts of home. Opt for am beach rentalthat has a full kitchen, large bathrooms and separate bedrooms to provide your family with the privacy it needs.

  2. Don't waste time over-paying to check cribs, strollers and toys on your flight. Many luxury vacation villasare equipped for young children and even infants. Look for homes that feature kids' rooms with toys, high chairs, cribs and plenty of entertainment for your children.

  3. Bring along snorkel gear, but leave the beach gear at home. Snorkeling will keep your kids busy and buying something for them before the trip will ensure proper fit. As for beach gear, many homes will supply your family with chairs, umbrellas, coolers and even sand castle building supplies.

  4. Let your kids pick at least one activity they want to do. Aruba has a lot of excursions for kids such as museums, aquariums, submarine tours and horseback riding adventures.

  5. Give your kids the camera or buy one just for them. Kids who are allowed to take pictures are more engaged in the activity and not demanding to go back to the house or beach. Plus it's fun to see the trip from their perspective.

  6. Don't forget about the parents' entertainment. Find a home that is kid and parent friendly. Opt for a large bathtub, a king size bed and even a private pool or hot tub. Everyone needs a little time alone, so splurge on the in-home spa day offered by many property management companies.

"Vacationing with the family is a great way to reunite and share memories that will last a lifetime," the Aruba vacation rental specialist said. "There is no better place than the island of Aruba because it is perfect for kids and couples."

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Posted on Mar 10, 2012