Traveling with your kids: Are we there yet?

Allow some distance. Don't spend every minute of your vacation together. There are no rules requiring the family to stay together at all times. Too much togetherness can lead to short tempers. Regroup in the evenings for dinner and share your adventures.

Remain flexible. Its great to make plans ahead of time, but keep an open mind. Travel guides can be a valuable resource, but they fail to take into account your own family's interests. You may miss some of your most memorable vacation experiences if you stick rigidly to a set schedule.

Create memories. You don't have to travel to exotic destinations to have a great time! Fun times are as close as your own home town. Disposable cameras and journals help children to record their special vacation memories.

Car Trips

  • Use soft-sided luggage. It can make packing your car much easier (and you can squeeze more in a tight space). When packing your car, keep items you might need close to the top of the trunk. If stopping for the night, pack a small, separate bag with a change of clothes, swimsuits and pajamas, so you won't need to unpack everything.
  • Consider a turtle-top car carrier.For a long trip think about borrowing or renting a turtle-top carrier for your car. This frees up space in the car and trunk, making for a more comfortable ride for all.
  • Stop for a play-break every two hours. Keep your eyes open for a park, a playground, or a McDonalds with a play space. Even a rest area will do. Carry along a frisbee, a ball, a jump rope and bubbles for play times. Allow your kids to work off their excess energy.
  • Get comfy. Allow the kids to kick off their shoes. Bring pillows and blankies. (To make a multi-purpose pillow, stuff your beach towel in a pillowcase.)
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