Vacation Time!

It's August, which means it's one last hurrah for family vacation before the little ones head back to school. Here are some tips to ensure the family maintains its manners (and its sanity) during this time of travel.

CAR TRIPS

Keeping the peace on long rides means giving everyone a shot at the radio station periodically, stopping for food, drinks or bathroom breaks (within reason)--and not insisting on driving the entire way without stopping. Also....compromising on car temperature and not being afraid to ask for directions--particularly if even the GPS is confused!

JETIQUETTE

Better passenger behavior during check-in and boarding, in-flight and disembarking. (Not yelling when one doesn't get one's way, not hogging the armrest, not pushing the flight attendant call button too many times, saying please and thank-you, not blocking the aisles, not rushing to get off the plane, letting others step out ahead of you, and so forth.) This one's especially apropos in light of the Steven Slater (JetBlue) incident.

VACATION HOUSE

How to act when sharing a rental with other friends and extended family members. (Remembering to chip in with the groceries--and the work, too.) Splitting cooking responsibilities. Not being a penny-pincher when it comes to sharing expenses. Being considerate with television-watching late at night. Allowing for some "alone time" so that the whole group doesn't start to get on one another's nerves.

CAMPING

Remembering to be considerate of other campers in the vicinity. Sharing food items with your neighbors. Being cautious with campfires and (as with the vacation house) mindful of others who may be trying to sleep even though you're wide awake and in a guitar-playing mood. Also, not forgetting to leave the campsite as clean (if not cleaner) than it was when you arrived.

POST CARDS

Don't forget to send them! They're still a nice touch, even in a digital age. And if you can, try to unplug from the Web. You owe it to yourself--and to your family--to take a true vacation, which means not Tweeting every five minutes.

Happy trails, everyone!