Our family travels a lot over summer break. I love the idea of family travel, but find myself dreading the reality. Anyone who travels with kids knows how stressful it can be. With that in mind, I asked moms I know for their best traveling-with-children hacks. Here are my some of my favorites:

In Transit:

  • “Bring snacks! It doesn’t matter whether you have a teen or a toddler, snacks make them happy.  Bring snacks on the plane, in the car, and in your day pack when you’re touring a new city.”
  • “We give each kid their own roll of scotch tape. How often do they get to use a whole roll only on silliness? It keeps my kids busy for at least an hour. They tape their faces, their clothes, and nearly everything around them.”
  • “We let the kids pick out a new book for each long flight. It’s exciting—and quiet—entertainment!”
  • “I discovered triangle crayons a few years ago. They make it much easier for the kids to color in the car with a lap board.”
  •  “I’m not a huge fan of screen time, but I’ll take whatever I can get when we’re on a long trip. YouTube Red lets you download videos for 30 days. We subscribe for a month so the kids can watch videos without Wi-Fi.”

When You Get There:

  • “Bring a removable and adjustable blackout curtain to block the sun coming in the hotel window, so the kids will sleep later. This has saved our sanity so many times!”
  • “I get tired of my kids asking for things at every stop we make. Last year I decided to give them a budget. They each got $20—but only $20—that they could spend however they wanted. Whatever they didn’t spend on the trip, they got to keep. It was amazing! They didn’t buy a lot of junk, and got a lesson in the value of saving.”
  • “Mornings are our nemesis when we are not at home. We end up taking so long to get out of the hotel that half the day is gone. We solved that by letting our kids pick out a sugary cereal they would never get to eat at home. A bowl, spoon, and a bit of milk makes the kids extremely happy and gets them going in the morning.”
  • “I’ve learned that I need to always plan a down day when we’re traveling. Even if the kids are excited about the trip, they burn out if we spend every day on the go. Now I make sure to spend one day at a park or at a swimming pool, or let everyone sleep as long as they want. After the down day, everyone is happier and enjoys themselves more.

Traveling with kids can be both amazing and exhausting. Hopefully, these tips will help tip the balance toward the amazing side of the equation!