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RISMEDIA, December 31, 2010—(MCT)—As we get ready to ring in 2011, Americans are already busy planning family getaways and vacations for the new year. If you are in the process of considering how travel will mix into your family’s plans and priorities, the following ideas will help you set a course for adventure in 2011.

1. Embrace the arts
Consider giving art, music and theater a front seat in your travel planning. Introduce your children to the tunes from your youth or that of your parents. Choose an art gallery or festival in a neighboring city or state and make it the cornerstone of a long weekend. Plan a trip to see a great play or performance in another region. Organize a visit with friends or family and ask them to recommend art events in their community and then be sure to attend the performance together. Including art in your travels will enrich the memories for all.

2. Seek adventure
Talk with your family about what adventure means to them. For some, pitching a tent in a nearby campground will be pushing the envelope. Others will want to explore Alaska’s backcountry. Have a look at the Traveler’s Century Club list of countries and set a goal for visiting a faraway place. As you plan your 2011 vacations, try to do something different and change your routine. Whichever adventure style suits your crew, explore your country and beyond.

3. Find the deals
Don’t let prices keep you at home. Plenty of deal websites list two-for-one offers or percentage discounts, and don’t forget to check last-minute travel sites. Don’t be shy about asking hotels and resorts for their best rate either. Use AAA, AARP and other memberships for additional discounts. Cruises continue to offer value at reasonable prices for families of varying interests and ages.

4. Take a bite of the Big Apple
This will be a special year to visit New York City. As always, there are scores of ways for a family to plan a visit to the city. Focus on art, music, historic sites, theater, shopping, dining or nature. This year, the Statue of Liberty marks its 125th birthday, and the nation and world will share in recognizing the 10th anniversary of one life- altering event: the National September 11 Memorial at Ground Zero will open on that day.

5. Share
Consider a volunteer vacation or add a giving component to any itinerary. Share your experience online through a blog or photo-sharing site. Include a friend, your child’s schoolmate or a family member in your travels. Choose someone who might not otherwise have the money, the planning skills or the gumption to go. You just might change a life.

(c) 2010, The Dallas Morning News.

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.