Whether you’re going by plane, train or automobile, traveling with kids can be an adventure – or a nightmare! It depends on how prepared you are. Your children are going to take their cues from you. If you are unprepared for events that happened and get frazzled your children will read your mood and be frazzled as well. Considering traveling is an event that families like to enjoy, frazzled is not what anyone wants to be. Use the travel with kids tips below to help you be prepared for your next family adventure.

Stick to your family routines. Routines are an important part of your child’s life. Whether it’s a sleep or a meal schedule, it’s best to try and stick to the times you would do these things at home on a normal basis. Of course, when you are away from home you can’t always do this. But try your best as it will help your children be fed and rested, therefore in a good mood.

Talk about the trip before you go. Try to steer clear of unwelcome surprises. For instance, if you’re going to be on a ten-hour road trip, you need to try and help your child understand what that means. Tell them that it’s a long time in the car, be very clear when you explain. They will need things to do. Ask them what they would like to do and have them give you suggestions. You can even role-play this out using some kitchen chairs. Bring the things that they would like to do in the car along on the trip.

Prepare activities for the kids that they can do independently. Pay special attention to the fact that you may sit around waiting at times. This tip is for your older kids as well. When I would take a group of Girl Scouts away on a trip, I would always prepare something that they could do while waiting. This could be weaving bracelets or making up silly columns to share later. They would keep it with them and any time they would be sitting and waiting for a bus – or just waiting for the adults to figure things out – they would pull it out and work on it. I can’t tell you how grateful I was for these activities.

Have snacks available – at all times. When you’re traveling, you never know when your schedule is going to get a little messed up. You don’t want to have to deal with hungry children. And they don’t want to have to deal with hungry mommies and daddies.

Use a fun surprise when needed. Download a new movie that your children want to see to your mobile device. Use this as a ‘get out of jail free card’. In other words, when you most need it. If you don’t have a mobile device think about some other little surprise that your child’s will really enjoy and keep until it is most needed. I want to take a side note here and explain an important point. Some parents feel that this tip is rewarding child for bad behavior. Not so! This tip is meant for preventative purposes, use the surprise before the bad behavior shows up.

Deal with motion sickness by preventing it. If your child gets motion sickness, be prepared with medication or other preventative methods. The sick child does not make for happy family travel.

Plan out a schedule for the days you will be away Then follow that schedule when you can. Use family travel books to help you plan. Knowing what you’re going to do helps the family to get there. But, when you have a family can’t follow a schedule without making some concessions.

Play travel games together. Jot down all the family travel games you played as a child in any you would like to add to your family adventures. I spy, 20 questions and finding the alphabet are three of our family’s favorite. We also like to find different state license plates when we are traveling in the car.

Audio books are godsend. I feel that way just for me, but my kids like them as well. Interactive books on a mobile device are also tons of fun and keep kids busy when traveling.

Use the old standbys. Plain old-fashioned paper, coloring books and crayons can keep your kids busy for hours in the backseat of a car. Back a backpack full of different activity books. Do yourself a favor and leave the markers and scissors at home.

Keep everybody hydrated when traveling. While you don’t want to go to the bathroom 1 million times because your kids drink too much, you also don’t want anyone to get a headache or to be cranky because they are not hydrated. While visiting the facilities can be an inconvenience, dehydration can ruin your entire trip. So, be sure your kids are drinking a lot of water.

Be prepared for any misadventures or sicknesses. Bring medications for yourself and for your kids. While you can’t bring your whole medicine cabinet, a first aid kit and child medications.

I hope these tips will help you the next time your family is traveling. Do you have some tips for traveling with your kids? Please share your advice and experiences in the comments section below.