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6 Words of Wisdom on Traveling Safely with Kids in Chicago
The easiest way to stay safe in Chicago
is to hold hands with your kids. It's
safe and fun, without being overly
protective. Keep your kids close and
within eyeshot, and be extra careful
around busy intersections. Cabs will
not slow down for anyone—even fam-
ilies with kids. Do not cross anywhere
but at traffic lights (it sounds obvious,
but I've seen parents with strollers
crossing in the middle of busy streets).
Again, drivers won't stop for you in
the city just because you have a
stroller. Stay on major streets and
avoid construction sites.
Visitors should steer clear of situa-
tions where kids could get lost in a
crowd. At the ballpark, at the end of
the game, wait until most of the crowd
files out so kids can go at their own
pace. Remember, Michigan Avenue
and major attractions can get crowded
in the summer. Make contingency
plans for reuniting, even in the most
ordinary situations. Start at the infor-
mation desk at whatever attraction
you're visiting, and make a plan to
meet there in case you and your kids
get split up.
Another tip is to use public trans-
portation. If you are driving in to the
city, park in a central location and
walk or take the El or bus. Don't plan
on taking a cab with small children
unless you want to carry a car seat
with you. Some parents find trains to
be easier with children than the buses
because you can roll strollers right
onto trains, and you don't have to
stand on a busy street corner like you
would if waiting for the bus.
Finally, travel light and avoid being
overburdened or distracted by too
much gear. Carry water, juice, and
snacks (downtown, you will pay a ton
to buy these items). Also, be prepared
for a lack of chain fast-food outlets.
When visiting major attractions, you
may be able to avoid taking a stroller
because most places rent them. If you
do feel the need to bring a stroller,
make sure it's light and narrow—some
of the sturdy but wide strollers are
hard to maneuver through city crowds
and narrow store aisles.
Several topics on the market offer
additional tips to help you travel with
kids. How to Take Great Trips with
Your Kids (The Harvard Common
Press; $9.95), is full of good general
advice that can apply to travel any-
where. Family Travel Times ( & 888/
822-4FTT; www.familytraveltimes.
com) is an excellent online newsletter
updated twice monthly. Subscriptions
are $39 a year, $49 for 2 years. Sample
articles are available on the newsletter's
website. Other recommended family
travel Internet sites include Family
Travel Forum (www.familytravel, a comprehensive site that
offers customized trip planning; Fam-
ily Travel Network (www.familytravel, an award-winning site
that offers travel features, deals, and
tips; and Family Travel Files (www., which offers
an online magazine and a directory of
off-the-beaten-path tours and tour
operators for families.
7 Planning Your Trip Online
The “big three” online travel agencies,,, and sell most of the air tickets
bought on the Internet. (Canadian
travelers should try and; U.K. residents can go
for and
Each has different business deals with
the airlines and may offer different
fares on the same flights, so it's wise to
shop around. Expedia and Travelocity
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