Real Solutions: 20 Smart Ways to Make Traveling with Kids Enjoyable

4. Prepare for messes and mishaps
"Travel with a Ziploc bag full of spoons, forks, napkins and straws in case the drive-thru forgets. Also travel with a bath towel or two; these can mop up almost any mess and also serve as an emergency car seat cover if the original gets dirty (yes, accidents do happen). Don't forget a couple of trash bags for car clean-ups, dirty laundry, just about anything. Have a roll of paper towels for napkins and window cleaning just in case."

5. Pack snacks
"When we drive seven hours to the shore, I keep a small cooler with drinks and snacks (usually grapes, crackers, cheese, fruit snacks)."

6. Let kids choose on-the-road activities
"When we take a road trip, my 12- and 14-year-old each get one backpack to fill. Inside the backpack they put books, magazines, Mad Lib fun pads, word search and crossword puzzle books along with colored pencils, markers and pens. They also bring a portable CD player and their favorite CDs, hand-held computer and video games, small unrefrigerated snacks, travel games such as Battleship, Yahtzee and Parcheesi and small pillows to nap on."

7. Offer simple surprises
"When I traveled with my very young children, I brought along small novelty toys wrapped as gifts. The toys themselves were the kind of inexpensive items one would purchase as party favors (small hand-held puzzle games, activity books, crayons and paper, etc.). I handed them to my kids about once every half hour, and it always kept them occupied. The fact that the items were gift-wrapped seemed to make them more special to the children."

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