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5 tips for traveling with children.

You've double checked the backpack for a phone charger, first aid kit, and emergency supplies. You grabbed the extra binkie in case the other one decides to disappear. The zip top canvas tote has your laptop and a book you've been meaning to read, but you know the likelihood that you get to check those depends on a perfect concoction of activity for your children.

You're prepared for a fun, kid-centric trip and you somehow still feel like you can do more. What else do you need to know for a journey with your little one?

Here's a few tips for you to make that journey bearable.

1. Distractions are key.

A toddler backpack is your secret here. Pack it with your child's favorite things: a blanket, no-mess markers and crayons, coloring books, stickers and soft toys. You can even stash a few favorite treats. Have them choose their favorite toys and blankets and put them in that bag. Travelling can be tough for kids and if they bring a piece of home with them they may not even notice how quickly time and distance fly by.

2. Packed lunches.

Bring along a lunch box to avoid making extra stops on your drive. Or so you don't spend way too much money for a dry, boring airport sandwich. Plus, if it's an easy clean lunch box, you can clean it up at the hotel and do the same thing for the trip back home. That's savings you can put directly into the college fund.

3. Summarize the trip.

It's a good idea to see if your child has questions about vacation. Where are you going? What are you going to see along the way? What is the best way to behave? Are planes scary? These are all questions that can be discussed before the trip. This might curtail some of those "are we there yet" questions along the way.

4. Globe-trotting games.

The classic "I Spy" is a good start but it might get stale if that's all you have for a long trip. "I Spy…a tablet in my cinch bag that has a thousand games on it." Before hopping over to screen time, you can give a few of these games a try:

  • Look for the letters of the alphabet from A to Z on license plates, storefronts, and billboards as you're passing by. You have to do it in order though! Whoever gets to Z first wins.
  • Category game: choose a topic like movies and try to name movie titles from A to Z.
  • Count the cows. Exactly what it sounds like. It's udderly exciting.

5. Sit back and enjoy the ride.

You might have it all planned out, but if you get too caught up in the planning and building, you won't get to enjoy the ride. Remember that you're also on vacation and it's okay to open up your canvas tote to finally get to that book you've been wanting to dive into.

There. Feel better? You're ready to head out on that ten-hour road trip to catch up with friends and family. Or maybe you're zipping up your travel bag for a cross-country flight. The only thing between you and that destination is a bit of patience and excitement. You got it.

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