The above photo was taken during a recent trip to Puerto Rico.

Over the years, I’ve traveled with my family countless times.  The above photo was taken on a spur of the moment trip to Puerto Rico. We’ve also gone on several road trips with the dogs. Being prepared saved my sanity and also allowed me to enjoy our time together. Through those experiences, I’ve learned what works and what doesn’t.

The tips below are universal. Regardless if you are traveling with toddlers, tweens or teens, or going on an adventure with your mate or friends these tips will make you more efficient and your travel more enjoyable. And isn’t that what travel is all about?

Prepare yourself and I’m sure you’ll have a smooth, and enjoyable, trip as well!    


Pre-trip strategies

  • Map your route. Don’t just think about how to get to your destination, but also pin-point scenic routes to keep the kids entertained or an area where you can enjoy a meal at a classic diner or during a lakeside picnic. Suggested resources: Google, Mapquest, or Freetrip.com
  • Don’t forget to print out your itineraries (and map)! We’ve all had those moments where our cell phone battery dies or we lose Internet or GSP connection because we’re caught in a dead zone. Print two copies of everything; keep one for yourself and hand the other to your co-pilot. Suggested resource: HP Photosmart
  • Get there early. Not being stressed about time is a rare luxury but in this case it is a variable you can control. Make sure everyone’s ready to go ahead of time so you’re not rushing and forgetting things.
  • Don’t forget to make lists! Print out a list of all the items you bring with you so you don’t lose track of anything. Each family member should have a personal packing list as well as a list of tasks to complete before leaving. Leaving a list behind for a house sitter is also a good idea. Suggested resource: Busy Moms Weekly printer app

On-the-road tactics

  • Don’t underestimate the power of a lunch box. Turn it into a “fun pack” stuffed with snacks and printables from your kids favorite Disney and Nickelodeon cartoon characters. This is your secret weapon to keeping them busy and their mouths closed. Suggested resources: Coloring pages and other activities from HP Creative Studio
  • Do keep an extra blanket in the backseat. On short and long road trips, everyone’s body temperature will be different. Remember to bring a blanket or two that you or the kids can quickly use to deflect the A/C or snuggle up as the sun sets. Suggested resources: Collage woven blanket or fleece blanket from Snapfish
  • Bring entertainment for the kids. A laptop in the car/plane provides kids with endless entertainment opportunities. Whether it’s watching a DVD or playing a game the kids will remain occupied thus making the trip run much smoother. Suggested resource: HP ENVY Sleekbook


Once you have arrived

  • Document the adventure. Use your digital camera to snap a photo, take some video and store it on memory card that doesn’t fill up quickly. Reduce your chances of having to delete your favorite memories just to accommodate new ones. Suggested resources: Camera memory card from SanDisk
  • Don’t forget to RELAX. You’re on vacation. Put away the cell phone and give your family your full attention. Family vacations run much smoother if everybody’s happy. 

Let’s talk! Have you used any of these ideas in your family travels? Or, do you another sure fire tip that would help us all? Share it in a comment!


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