Those of us who travel with kids know that travel is educational. We also know that family travel gets much more affordable after Labor Day, once kids are back in the classroom. That's why we so often take our kids out of school for family travel.
You can, too. Here are six tips for taking kids out of school to travel:
• Check with your local district. Some are very strict about the number of days a child can be absent and may consider travel to be an unexcused absence.
• Talk with the teacher before you buy the plane tickets. Is your child doing OK in class? Would missing a few days of school really hurt that much? If so, think about whether traveling during school is the right thing to do. If you would miss your brother's wedding, it's one thing. If you would miss a deal on a trip to Disney, it might not be worth it.
• Don't ask the teacher to give your child assignments to complete during the trip. Lesson plans change according to the needs of the class, so the teacher may not know exactly what she'll be teaching during your child's absence.
• Offer to have your child do a report or presentation on the trip once you return. This can be the "educational" part of the trip. Depending on the grade level, a child can draw pictures, take photos, write a report or create a PowerPoint presentation.
• Start early. It's much easier for a kindergartner to miss a week of school than it is for a junior in high school.
• Start small. Go for a long weekend that includes a Friday or Monday (or both) off school and see how that goes for your child and the teacher. If that first trip goes OK, next time you may be able to take a longer trip that includes several days off school.
• Cindy Richards, editor-in-chief for TravelingMom.com, has been taking her kids out of school to travel since they were preschoolers. Follow her on Twitter @CindyRichards for more tips and ideas about traveling with kids.