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The family vacation is a rite of passage for many households, one that in a split second can devolve into a National Lampoon farce. But as any veteran family vacationer will assure you, a family trip can be among the most pleasurable and rewarding times of your life.

Most Norwegian hoteliers will let children 12 and under stay in a room with their parents for free; others will not. Sometimes this requires a little negotiation at the reception desk.

Norwegians like kids but don't offer a lot of special amenities for them. For example, a kiddies' menu in a restaurant is a rarity. However, you can order a half portion, and most waiters will oblige. At attractions -- even if it isn't specifically posted -- inquire if a kids' discount is available. European Union citizens under 18 are admitted free to all state-run museums.

Babysitting services are available through most hotel desks or by applying at the Tourist Information Office in the town where you're staying. Many hotels have children's game rooms and playgrounds.

Recommended family travel Internet sites include Family Travel Forum (www.familytravelforum.com), a comprehensive site that offers customized trip planning; Family Travel Network (www.familytravelnetwork.com), an award-winning site that offers travel features, deals, and tips; Traveling Internationally with Your Kids (www.travelwithyourkids.com), a comprehensive site offering sound advice for long-distance and international travel with children; and Family Travel Files (www.thefamilytravelfiles.com), which offers an online magazine and a directory of off-the-beaten-path tours and tour operators for families.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.