All aboard!

If your kids are little and your budget is tight, the idea of traveling may seem like a joke: How can your family afford Disney World when you can barely scrape together enough to cover daycare and a holiday trip to visit your in-laws? And what’s so romantic about taking kids in diapers on the road, anyway?

I feel you.

But travel is important — not just for kids (who need to learn about the world to become well-rounded, global citizens), but also for us as families. We need bonding time away from home: We need vacation!

And scheduled trips, though they take planning and money you may not have, help us reset (and often connect with family), even if we’re exhausted when we come back.

In this edition of Minnesota Parent, our annual Travel Issue, we hope to inspire you with a variety of stories that will take you someplace new — no matter what your budget is (yes, including zero).

We’ve got a kid-lit-themed cruise to the West Indies (Seuss at Sea), a whirlwind tour of Hogwarts (the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando, Fla.), and three travel itineraries for exploring the northern reaches of Northeastern Minnesota (Duluth, the North Shore and Ely).

But what if you’re craving something a little more exotic (and on the cheap)?

No problem. You needn’t look even outside the Twin Cities to find a global adventure.

Take the kids, virtually, to China, Japan, Poland, Sweden, Ireland, Germany, India, Nigeria and beyond!

We’re talking music, dancing, crafts, costumes, food, drink and even live animals, plus bouncy houses and other attractions kids love.

And, finally, for those long car trips to the cabin (or perhaps that non-direct flight to your sister’s place in Colorado), we have a great selection of activity-oriented books to pass the time.

Bon voyage!