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Are We There Yet? Family Travel Tips

“In a perfect world, every family trip goes smoothly and, years later, your memories center on where you went—Disneyworld or the Grand Canyon—rather than little Joey getting sick on the plane or on his sister in the car. But we all know the world is not perfect,” said Peter Hans, president of Discovery Map International. “There are some things you can do to prepare for the mini ‘disasters’ that happen on your journey, so they don’t impact the rest of your trip.” 

Follow these tips, courtesy of Discovery Map International—the leading provider of curated guides to top tourist attractions, cities, and towns throughout North America—to optimize the pleasure of summer vacas and minimize the pain.

Attitude is a key component of a successful trip. You have to expect a few snags and glitches—both in packing and getting to and from your destination. By adopting a roll-with-the-punches approach, you really can keep the molehills from becoming mountains.

There’s also a travel clause to Murphy’s law when it comes to traveling that states: You can never find what you need when you need it. Drug stores are a good example and you want to keep this in mind when packing. Make sure to pack some travel-size containers of cough syrup and cold or allergy medicines. Benadryl, in particular, is very helpful in getting sick children to rest comfortably on a flight or long car ride.

Another thing you should pack on your road trips are baby wipes and Ziploc bags. Even if the kids are out of diapers, wipes come in handy for a variety of quick cleanups. Ziploc bags have numerous uses and the oversized ones come in very handy for packing wet clothes.

If you’re sharing a hotel room with your children, don’t forget to pack a night light. A bad night for one of your kids means no sleep for the entire family and that certainly can impact fun activities.

“Your children’s need for rest is a key part to successful family travel,” said Hans. “If your kids are younger, leave around the time they usually nap. This might buy you some extra quiet time for the drive. If flying, you may want to weigh the pros and cons of flying overnight. Sure, it will impact your zzz’s, but it may beat entertaining a preschooler for six hours on a daytime flight.”

Ultimately, the key to traveling with children means keeping them occupied. Whether it’s playing their favorite DVD in the car, a deck of cards for the car or plane, or finding some fun travel games (the Discovery Map website has an “Are We There Yet” Survival Guide at, keeping your children entertained for as long as possible is the real difference maker in a good or bad trip.

“For many people, the memories of trips they took with their families last a lifetime. You’d be amazed at how a little bit of pre-planning, including having the right map of the town or city where you’ll be staying, can go a long way toward ensuring that the memories of your family trips center on the fun you had and the places and things you saw,” said Hans.

For more information about Discovery Map International and their colorful, hand-drawn maps that have become a favorite of travelers for navigating local dining, attractions, businesses, cultural experiences, and tourist destinations, visit

By Discovery Map International President Peter Hans