Top 5 Family Travel Destinations for 2014 (and Possibly Beyond)

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Winter break just wrapped up–so it’s time to think about what to do when the kids are out of school this summer. Here, the “Wall Street Journal” and Lonely Planet share their top five family travel destinations for 2014. Can’t get to these places this year? Don’t worry, most of them are likely to still be around in 2015.

Top Five Family Travel Destinations for 2014

Gay Marriage Expected to Boost Hawaii Tourism by $217 Million

Gay Marriage-Hawaii
Associated Press

Yesterday Hawaii governor Neil Abercrombie signed a bill legalizing gay marriage in the state. The move means the archipelago should be saying aloha to an influx of tourism dollars.

“Now, the island chain is positioning itself for a boost in tourism as people take advantage of the new law,” according to The Washington Post, which cited an estimate from a University of Hawaii researcher that gay marriage will boost tourism by $217 million over the next three years.The researcher’s rationale: gay couples in other states will travel to Hawaii for ceremonies, receptions and honeymoons. The boost to Hawaii’s tourism industry is expected to level off, however, as more states legalize gay marriage.

Heathrow is Now the Most Family Friendly European Airport . . . After Being the Least

srv007, Flickr

Rethink your travel plans families: if you’re adventuring with children, the best airport you can travel to, from and through in Europe is London Heathrow.

That’s a big deal if you consider the fact that only last year it was ranked as the worst.

The rankings come via Skyscanner, which did a study focusing on families with children under 4 years old and looked at travel from June to September 2013.Thirty five European family travel experts and travel bloggers judged 20 different airports based upon their baby-changing facilities, security levels and food options, as well as the general check-in process. We all know how a long line can affect a tired child.

According to Skift, here are the top 10 family-friendly airports across Europe:

1. London Heathrow
2. Zurich and Vienna
3. Dusseldorf
4. Madrid-Barajas
5. Munich and Frankfurt
6. London Gatwick
7. Moscow Sheremetyevo
8. Paris Charles de Gaulle
9. Oslo
10. Copenhagen

But not everyone loves a child-friendly space. Some airlines are even offering kid-free zones on-board for those trying to avoid the younger crowd. Ultimately, it all goes to show that traveling with children is becoming more and more the norm, whether you like it or not.

How Much Would You Pay to Fly in a Kid-Free ‘Quiet Zone?’

jyri, Flickr

Would you pay to fly without children? Singapore-based budget carrier Scoot thinks passengers will fork over some extra cash in order to sit in a special “quiet zone” where there are no babies on board. For about $14.50 extra, passengers will find themselves in the 41-seat adults-only area, which spans rows 21 to 25 of the fleet’s aircraft.

But sitting outside of earshot of children under 12 isn’t the only benefit. This area also has more legroom than other sections of the plane and a 35-inch seat pitch — about four more inches than in regular economy seats. More room and less noise? This might be a fee that’s actually worth some extra cash.

Last year, Malaysia Airlines banned infants from some first-class planes after receiving complaints about noisy children. Meg Nesterov, Gadling’s resident baby travel expert and Knocked Up Abroad columnist, weighed in on the issue.

What Are The Rules For Breastfeeding On A Plane?

It has happened yet again: a mother breastfeeding on a plane was allegedly treated poorly by an airline staff member. The mother was breastfeeding on an American Airlines flight last month while sitting in a window seat next to her husband. Since American Airlines has publicly stated that breastfeeding is allowed on their flights during all stages of flight and that flight attendants should not place restrictions or requirements on breastfeeding mothers, the mother felt free to breastfeed. However, a disgruntled flight attendant requested that she cover up, citing that there were kids present on the plane at the time.

The couple refused and the flight attendant later returned to their aisle, telling a girl seated in the aisle next to the husband that her seat was going to be changed, projecting that the girl was uncomfortable despite the fact that the girl hadn’t complained about the breastfeeding. According to the couple, the flight attendant did not offer service to the couple for the remainder of the flight.

American Airlines responded to the complaint filed by the mother in a letter that was posted to Facebook by a friend of the mother. American Airlines stated in the letter that they believe it is reasonable to request that a mother cover up and that breastfeeding be conducted with modesty and discretion, despite the fact that the manual states that mothers should be able to breastfeed without restriction or requirement and the fact that 45 states allow mothers to breastfeed in any public or private location.

United Airlines, American Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines and others have stated that breastfeeding is not prohibited while on the plane. Whether a breastfeeding mother should be required to cover up, however, seems more ambiguous. What are your thoughts on requiring or requesting that breastfeeding mothers cover up?

The Issue of Breastfeeding in Public