"Nothing kick-starts kids' passion for travel more than when you ask them to contribute. Invite kids to participate in your travel-planning, and give them an active role during your travels. You can have them help with the research about the country, teach them a few phrases in the local language, help you navigate the streets, or find out the hours for certain attractions."
"ALWAYS pack some resealable zipper storage bags. They are light, compact, and easy to store... The freezer-strength press-to-seal ones are the best because they're thicker; just don't go with the slider top kind because they leak. These bags can hold snacks, toys, loose crayons, phones, soiled clothes, and various electronic accessories, and they can catch an unbelievable amount of vomit from an unexpectedly sick child."
"Give your kids a blank journal and a fresh box of colored pencils so they can document your family trip from their very own perspective. This keeps kids busy on the road while also making for a wonderful souvenir you'll treasure for years to come. It's also fun to see the vacation highlights from your kid's eyes — you'll be surprised as to what memories they cherish the most!"
"Road Trip Boredom Buster: Pack window markers! I break them out about midway through a road trip and let the kids turn the windows of the car into a rolling mural. The color washes off, and the kids think some of the looks from other motorists and their passengers are hilarious. Sometimes they will simply play tic-tac-toe on the windows, and other times they make stained glass window–like creations, but it's always fun!"
"A vacation is about escaping everyday routine and spending quality time together. Always keep that in the back of your mind and your vacation will be a success!"
"Wherever we go, we buy postcards to send to Grandma. My kids write about what we're doing, and she saves them all in the scrapbooks she's creating for them. It will be fun for them to look back at all the places they've visited — and to see how their handwriting has improved over the years!"
"Trying out local and unfamiliar foods is a big part of the travel experience... Order a local dish for everyone to try since kids are more open to trying it if they see parents or siblings eating and enjoying it. You can also order something familiar but with local twists such as pasta with a local sauce. Compromise by letting kids pick desserts on the menu."
"Plan your activities carefully. Be realistic about what your kids can do before tired meltdowns kick in. Choose what's best for the whole family and be content with those experiences. Don't forget to factor in some downtime, too!"
"Practice patience and flexibility. Even the best-planned trips can run into glitches such as delayed flights, traffic jams, and illness, to name a few. When this happens, take a deep breath and work through difficulties so you can get back to your perfect trip. Remember, smiles and kind words go a lot further than frowns and outbursts."
"Pack a medical kit. We keep bandages; mini tubes of aloe vera and sunscreen; hand sanitizer; stomach and diarrhea relief; ibuprofen; acetaminophen; motion-sickness remedy; and allergy medicine. I tell the girls I can fix everything except stitches!"
"Arm your kids with a phone, iPod, or old-fashioned point-and-shoot camera and challenge them to an ongoing vacation photo contest. Announce categories before you go: Coolest Selfie, Most Colorful Sunset, Tastiest Food Picture, Silliest Photo. When you return home, compare pictures and relive your vacation through the eyes of each member of your family!"
"If you have a really early-morning flight, do yourself a favor and book a room at an airport hotel...ideally one that is actually connected to the airport terminal. You will be less stressed and better rested for your travels, which is good for the entire family."