From left to right, Michael Geoffrion, Ajia Geoffrion, 9, Olivia Geoffrion, 5, and Janna Geoffrion as they visit Epcot center while on vacation at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla. Divorced in 2006, Mike and Janna have since vacationed together twice with their daughters.
updated 3/17/2011 10:42:55 AM ET 2011-03-17T14:42:55

Actor Bruce Willis has done it. So has Britain's Prince Andrew and media mogul Arianna Huffington.

They've all vacationed with their ex-spouses and kids.

While such post-marital closeness is inconceivable to some divorced couples, others say it's a great way to save money and to foster good memories, for the children — and even the parents.

"If you get along with your ex it can be very easy to do," said Mike Geoffrion, 39, who has vacationed with his ex-wife, Janna, and kids, including a trip to Disneyland.

Geoffrion, who manages a bike store in Fort Collins, Colo., divorced in 2006 after six years of marriage but thinks the joint vacations have been nice for the kids as well as the adults. Supervising and entertaining children is less stressful with two parents, he said, and he enjoyed the adult interaction. "You get tired of talking to an 8-year-old over nice, expensive dinners," he said.

Story: Parents plan playdates for kids while on the road

Vacationing together has also worked well for Meredith Morton, 39, an actress in Los Angeles, and her ex-husband, Shane Edelman. When they first divorced in 2004, they took vacations with their infant son, Ace, because they both wanted to enjoy his "firsts." Since then they have each remarried, yet continue to vacation en masse with their new spouses, Ace, and his three half-siblings.

Most recently, they rented a large house in Palm Springs, Calif., and spent three days relaxing by the pool, playing with the children and making fun of golfers.

"It wasn't just like we were just sharing rent. We went to be with them," Morton explained.

It helps that her husband, Scott Cutler, a music producer, gets along with Edelman. For one thing, Cutler likes to eat, and Edelman likes to cook.

Blended family trips
"Die Hard" actor Willis has vacationed with his former wife, Demi Moore, their three daughters, and her current husband, Ashton Kutcher. "It's hard to understand, but we go on holidays together," he told Vanity Fair in a 2007 interview. "We still raise our kids together — we still have that bond."

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Fran Walfish, a psychologist in Beverly Hills, Calif., and author of "The Self-Aware Parent," said divorced couples vacationing amicably with their kids "gets my complete endorsement."

But she cautioned, children of divorce often fantasize that their parents will reunite, and vacationing together might feed that. Parents need to be clear that the trip is a special event, like a Disney visit or a birthday trip, "and say, 'We really just wanted to both be with you.' "

Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson, both 51, have made a ski trip with their two daughters a nearly annual event since their divorce in 1996.

Huffington, 60, waited 12 years after her divorce to vacation with her ex-husband, former Republican Congressman Michael Huffington, and their teen daughters.

But the 2009 trip to Greece was so successful that she blogged: "I only hope that, for the sake of the over one million children a year whose parents get divorced, it's a journey more and more families take."

'The mood is a lot lighter'
Warren Gardner, 24, of Vancouver, British Columbia, offers the child's perspective. He and his two younger sisters have vacationed with both their parents since their separation three years ago. They've taken several trips around British Columbia and Alberta, most recently to Calgary for Christmas and to mark his grandmother's 90th birthday.

"To be honest, vacations all together since they split are less stressful than when they were together," he said. "The mood is a lot lighter."

What advice do divorced travel veterans have for those who might consider giving it a try?

Geoffrion said it has only worked for him when neither he nor his ex-wife were in a serious relationship. And, he said, although he paid for the previous trips, he's at a point where he'd expect to split the expenses.

Karen Stewart, founder and chief executive of Fairway Divorce Solutions, a Calgary-based divorce mediation company with franchises throughout North America, recommends exes vacationing together negotiate the ground rules before the trip.

Differences in parenting style become even more apparent when couples live apart, says Stewart, author of the book, "How to Divorce with Dignity and Move on with Your Life." Pre-trip agreement needs to be reached about finances, chores and sleeping arrangements.

She recommends parents consider planning some separate time during the trip, though Geoffrion said he and his ex-wife tried to behave like a family and did activities only as a group. They even stayed in the same hotel room, though different beds.

Morton said the biggest factor for her when she's with Edelman is watching her behavior.

"When I want to be short or get irritated or whatever I can't because Ace is standing right there," she said.

"It's not like it's a huge sacrifice," she added. "Honestly, the gift that I give Ace by having us both in the same place" is worth it.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Explainer: Stuck at the airport? 10 best diversions for kids

  • Image: Kids play area, McCarran International Airport
    Courtesy McCarran International Airport
    McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas offers kids an aviation-themed play area.

    Adults who are stuck at the airport can spend their time shopping, getting a massage or having a drink at the bar. Kids waiting for flights are usually told to sit still with a book or an electronic game. But the amenities and activities at these family-friendly airports can make a long delay downright desirable.

    Story: Parents plan playdates for kids while on the road

  • Orlando International Airport

    Image: Snow White, Orlando International Airport
    Courtesy Orlando International Airport
    At Orlando International Airport, passengers can get their photos taken with Snow White, Mickey Mouse and other celebrities.

    Like the nearby theme parks, Orlando International Airport was designed with kids in mind. The first clue: There’s both adult and pint-sized seating in the main terminal. Then there’s the brand-new game arcade, the Kennedy Space Center shop with its video wall showing films of NASA launches and the statues offering photo-ops with celebrities such as Mickey Mouse and Snow White. Even the food court is entertaining: Inside the 3,000-gallon saltwater aquarium, kids will spot fish made famous by the Disney film "Finding Nemo."

  • San Francisco International Airport

    Image: San Francisco International Airport art exhibit
    Courtesy San Francisco International Airport
    "Second Chances," at SFO, features folk art made from recycled scrap materials.

    In addition to an AirTrain people-mover, which offers free train rides circling the airport, San Francisco International Airport has a trio of aquariums (Terminal 1), a weather-themed play area (by Gate 87A) and a series of family-oriented, self-guided tours. Best of all, many of the more than 40 exhibits offered annually by the airport’s accredited museum program are sure to appeal to kids. For example, through the end of March, the "Second Chances" exhibit in Terminal 3 displays a dress made from Tootsie Pop wrappers, a dustpan made from license plates and more than 200 other creative and whimsical works of folk art from tires, soda cans and other recycled scrap

  • McCarran International Airport

    Image: Kids play area, McCarran International Airport
    Courtesy McCarran International Airport
    McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas offers kids an aviation-themed play area.

    While adults are playing on some of the airport’s 1,300 slot machines, kids at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas can play in the aviation-themed play area that includes a miniature control tower and a mock jet engine. There’s also a 24-hour museum (on the walkway over the baggage claim, with display cases around the airport) that tells the colorful history of aviation in Southern Nevada.

  • O’Hare International Airport

    Image: The Kids on the Fly play area at O'Hare International Airport
    Courtesy O'Hare International Airport
    The Kids on the Fly play area is one of two play areas at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport.

    There are two official play areas at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. The airport-themed “Kids on the Fly” play area (Terminal 2) offers kids the opportunity to tag and weigh baggage, load cargo, fly planes and direct air traffic. The "Play It Safe" area (Terminal 5) offers lessons about fire and home safety. In Terminal 1, it’s hard to miss the four-story model of a brachiosaurus in front of the Field Museum store or, in Terminal 2, the restored WWII F3F-4 fighter plane that’s just like the one flown by the airport's namesake, Butch O’Hare. And kids of all ages will find themselves mesmerized by the 744-foot-long light sculpture racing along the ceiling of the tunnel connecting Concourses B and C.

  • Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport

    Image: Junior Flyers Club, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport
    Courtesy Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport
    DFW's Junior Flyer's Club is just for kids.

    Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport has two Junior Flyer’s Clubs (Terminal B, gate 12 and Terminal C, gate 14) filled with aviation-themed toy structures. Two of the airport’s interactive sculptures in Terminal D are much larger and just as entertaining: Dennis Oppenheim’s Crystal Mountain includes an arched tunnel wide enough for two people and the sounds, glass walls and labyrinth-like floor pattern of "Circling," by Christopher Janney, form a walk-in game that needs no instructions.

  • Denver International Airport

    Image: Conestoga-themed playhouse
    Courtesy Denver International Airport
    The Conestoga-themed playhouse at Denver International Airport is on display through March 2011.

    At Denver International Airport, kids will enjoy riding on the automated transit system and looking for the floating steel “paper” airlines, the gargoyles and some of the other light-hearted pieces in the airport’s extensive permanent art collection. Through March 2011, kids are also invited to play with the miniature saloon, the Conestoga wagon and the other Colorado-themed playhouses that are part of a temporary art exhibition in the main terminal.

  • Pittsburgh International Airport

    Image: Mister Rogers shrine, Pittsburgh International Airport
    Harriet Baskas
    Pittsburgh International Airport is home to a shrine to the world's most famous neighbor: Mister Rogers.

    A nearly life-size plaster cast of a Tyrannosaurus rex dinosaur greets kids getting on or off the people mover at Pittsburgh International Airport, while on Concourse C there’s a well-padded play area located next to a memorabilia-filled shrine to Fred Rogers and the “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” TV show, which was filmed in town. Look for Mister Rogers’ signature sweater, his sneakers, a miniature Neighborhood of Make Believe and clay models of the show’s characters, including King Friday and Henrietta Pussycat.

  • Seattle-Tacoma International Airport

    Image: Play area, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport
    Courtesy Seattle-Tacoma International Airport
    Aviation-themed toys welcome kids at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

    “Talking” drinking fountains that gurgle loudly, quilts made from strips of recycled soda cans, and a two-part, 80-foot long “contraption” filled with found objects that move and play sounds are among the giggle-inspiring art installations at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. For young kids with energy to spare, there’s a 1,400-square-foot play area filled with aviation-themed soft foam play equipment, including an airplane, a control tower and a baggage cart.

  • Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport

    Image: The "Corncorde," Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport
    Courtesy Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport
    Craig Nutt's flying ear of corn, the "Corncorde," is one of the fun art pieces at the Atlanta airport.

    At Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, there’s a 33-foot-long cast of a yangchuanosaurus dinosaur (on loan from Atlanta’s Fernbank Museum of Natural History) in the Main Terminal Atrium. Giant ants — not real; they’re part of an art sculpture — march over the ductwork in the north and south terminal baggage claim areas. Elsewhere in the airport, kids will spot a flying ear of corn (the “Corncorde”) and other entertaining installations that are part of the airport’s permanent and temporary art collection.

  • Elsewhere

    Image: Slide at Singapore's Changi Airport
    Courtesy Singapore's Changi Airport
    The slide at Singapore's Changi Airport.

    There are plenty of airports outside the United States that are kid-friendly as well. Top among them: Changi Airport in Singapore , which has a butterfly garden, seven children’s play areas, free movie theaters, an arcade, interactive art stations, a jam studio and loads of other entertaining activities. Since September, 2010, there’s also been a twisty four-story tall slide at Changi, with a milder, one-and-a-half-story tall “preview” slide beside it.


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