Tips for making family vacations fun for everyone

Creating a family vacation that's fun for everyone is a balancing act. Teenagers want independence. Younger kids want hands-on activities that require supervision. Toddlers and babies -- when they aren't sleeping -- want constant attention. And parents want a little privacy and romance. Here are tips for making it come together:

Don't overestimate everyone's stamina. If driving, take a short break every two hours. Stretch your legs. Get some fresh air.

Be flexible. It might rain on a day you planned to be outside. Or the kids might tire more quickly than you expected. Let them settle in with a movie.

Visit a state park. Kids under 12 receive free entrance to Texas state parks.

Invest in headphones or earbuds. On the road or in the air, adults will soon tire of the dings and blips and battle sounds of children's cartoons or games, particularly if there is more than one playing at the same time.

Consider a separate hotel room for the kids. Depending on the kid, children as young as 13 or 14 will do fine in their own room, particularly if it is an adjoining room.

Let your child bring a friend. Inviting a friend is a great option for children 8 to 18 and is particularly recommended for families with only one child. It builds camaraderie and helps your child stay occupied.