Top summer vacation tips from the 'Travel Mom'

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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

The kids are wrapping up the last few weeks of school, and parents are busy planning the family's summer vacations.

On Tuesday's Good Morning Arizonan, we talked to Travel Mom Emily Kaufman to find out some ways to make the most of your summer travel plans. Kaufman offered us advice on cruises, national parks and family friendly museums.

CRUISES:

-Book your shore excursions through the cruise line ahead of time. Space is limited on these and they do sell out.

-Complete as many forms on line as possible before you get to the cruise terminal. This will save you time once you arrive so you can get on the ship and start having fun.

-Consider purchasing a beverage package at the start of your cruise. Most ships offer these on all kinds of drinks from soft drinks or coffee to alcoholic beverages. Don't pay for even one drink before buying the plan.

-If you want to experience a spa treatment, plan it for a port day because there are discounts and incentives to get one when most people are off the ship.

-Make your dinner arrangements so you can enjoy the evening activities on board whether they are shows, kid's clubs or special events.

NATIONAL PARKS:

-Not all campgrounds require reservations however many do. Check with the NPS.GOV site to make sure you know about your specific park you are visited.

-There is an America the Beautiful land pass available for $80 a year with unlimited access to as many parks as you wish to visit. This saves you time and money by not stopping to pay an entrance fee.

-Arrive early if you are hoping for a campground at parks that don't take reservations because spots are allocated on a first come, first served basis.

-Always enter the park with a full tank of gas.

-Many National Parks are on everyone's "bucket list" so summer is packed for them. Consider visiting them off season and taking it the lesser known yet still beautiful other parks during peak season.

CHILDREN'S MUSEUMS:

-Many camp groups visit children's museums on field trips. In order to avoid the crowds, arrive right when the museum opens, or mid-afternoon when the groups are about to leave.

-Take a look at a great free resource, the local visitor and convention center website to keep abreast of the specific activities, special events and exhibits.

-Print your ticket ahead of time to avoid waiting in line once you arrive.

-Consider taking public transportation when visiting popular museums as it will make your whole experience faster and less of a hassle.

-Plan your schedule around specific show times and hands on demonstrations.

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