Maylasia is the family travel location for the Bunga Raya Island Resort & Spa Photo courtesy Preferred Family collection

Maylasia is the family travel location for the Bunga Raya Island Resort & Spa Photo courtesy Preferred Family collection

That checklist swirling incessantly in my head seems to be settling down since discovering a host of family-friendly hotels and resorts paying the same kind of attention to family adventure detail that I do.

When the places I’m considering for family travel ask me first if I need a highchair or specific activities for teens and do I want children’s menus with room service or connecting rooms, I trust my planning load just lightened.

TMOM disclosure graphicPreferred Hotel Group is the overarching umbrella, and I drilled down to the collection of family lodging options they consider certifiably outstanding.

iPrefer Family-Friendly Hotels

Offering up their own checklist suggesting what my family, or yours, might want to consider before deciding to book gave me the same confident feeling I’ve had when visiting a trustworthy soul in a far away destination.

Boots-on-the-ground advice from a family perspective. That means I don’t have to figure out all the questions, just the answers.

I’m more skilled at getting details right if we’re only crossing the state line, but changing continents for journeys with my multi-gen family is tougher.

Family learning adventures in Africa including Gondwana Game Preserve. Photo courtesy Preferred Family collection.

Family learning adventures in Africa including Gondwana Game Preserve. Photo courtesy Preferred Family collection.

Since Preferred Family has certified 270 hotels and resorts in 49 countries, I might breathe easier proposing a journey as exotic as the Middle East or Africa. Somebody already thought it through before I started.

I’ll definitely assign all the age groups in my circle to hang out with based Preferred Hotel web-based maps. They’re fun and instructive in a playful way. Different designs within the different kinds of property groups.

Mapping as Family Activity

Try this anytime: With the kids, pull up the simple, stylized world map on Preferred Family. Click a location dot and drill down to more maps. Simply enjoying the language of place names is delightful.

If a family trip is imminent, this a grand launching pad for understanding the journey. If you’re only dreaming about the future, these maps give geography know-how to bucket list building.

Kenzi Menara Palace in Morocco possible for family travel. Photo courtesy Preferred Family collection.

Kenzi Menara Palace in Morocco possible for family travel. Photo courtesy Preferred Family collection.

Different mapping appears on iPrefer, the loyalty points program launched in late 2013. Start here with a list of USA states complete with certified family hotels, resorts and serviced homes, and then reach worldwide.

Every choice is independent, properties owned by somebody because they want to. No massive corporate chains controlling these lodging experiences. No cookie cutter repetition seems to me.

That intrigues me because discovering characters with passion for the place they are fuels my desire to travel.

Rewards Points

I also appreciate some bonuses—discounts, reductions, rewards when I return. iPrefer came up with something way different from the two water bottles at check-in, or the cookies in my room: Points which turn into cash that my family could use in at least 500 hotels and resorts for room payment and other amenities.

One point equals one dollar as soon as 2,500 are accumulated. That could buy a villa resort in Switzerland, hotels in Paris plus the Grande dame in Washington, D. C. known as The Jefferson.

Children desired a The Jefferson in Washington, D.C. Photo courtesy Preferred Family collection.

Children desired a The Jefferson in Washington, D.C. Photo courtesy Preferred Family collection.

Musing with the list of iPrefer full-immersion experiences struck me as a family game as fine as the geography pursuits with the website maps.

Travel Now, Influences Later

My grown children make some snazzy travel decisions for themselves and their children and I like to think they draw on what we did as a family when they were young.

No telling where they’d be going now had they played my version of I Spy with the iPrefer and Preferred Hotels web tools.

I’d like to eavesdrop on the teens searching the 150 boutique hotels; that means 100 rooms or less. Hip and urban locations? Tent camps, none primitive? Private islands?

Contemplate options in Middle East at Habtoor Grand Resort. Photo courtesy Preferred Family collection.

Contemplate options in Middle East at Habtoor Grand Resort. Photo courtesy Preferred Family collection.

Then I’d set them off contemplating spring break next year. Guided thinking and budgeting possible with details ranging from Blue Ridge mountain tree climbing classes, astronomy and GPS treasure hunts or further afield learning holidays with marine ecology in Malaysia.

Yes indeed we can all stay home and perhaps climb a tree but this family certified class in Virginia goes up 60 feet.

What a Traveling Family Knows

Do you think it’s possible the Preferred team figured all this out because they’re a family? Strikes me as possible.

Lindsey Ueberroth Photo credit: iPrefer

Lindsey Ueberroth Photo credit: iPrefer

Who but a traveling family would know our just-born to 2-year-olds need different hotel options than our preschoolers or our 5- to 8-year-olds. Ditto for the tweens and teens.

Ueberroth is the name of this iPrefer family. Daughter Lindsey is at the helm; I’m inclined to believe a 38-year-old woman knows what families need.

She’s the CEO who added 20 countries to the collection. Brother Casey focuses on golf experiences. Parents John and Gail started it all in 2004.

For more on how Preferred Hotels helps families vacation better, check out these posts on taking a family road trip, visiting Europe with kids and Spas and Family Vacations: The Perfect Combination from The Mother of All Trips.