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I’ve found that traveling can require a significant amount of planning.  When I plan to travel with my children, I’ve discovered that there are a few ways to ensure that they remain safe and have fun while creating new memories.

Pack Activities
I try to make sure my boys have fun and interesting things to do. Of course, these days, many airplanes have in-flight entertainment and my children can download movies and shows ahead of time to have in the car. My older son loves reading, so I make sure he has some books for the trip. My younger one enjoys art, so I have him pack a sketch pad and pens, pencils, and markers. Easily packed small games like a deck of cards or some dice are great to have along for when we have down time.

Find a Hotel with a Pool
These days I prefer to use AirBnB or home exchanges when we travel because, for a cost similar to a hotel or free, we can have room to spread out, a kitchen, and each our own bed. If I go for a hotel, I’ll try to find one with a pool or easy beach access. Many hotels will have lounges with games. We stayed at a place in San Francisco a couple years ago that had a giant connect four set up on a wall outside, a pool table, and shuffleboard.

Find Local Attractions
Finding attractions in the area that your children will enjoy will allow them to have a trip that also caters to their interests. I try to find a mix of activities. For example, on a recent trip to Texas I intentionally mixed historical sites, the outdoors, nature, and fun. We toured the Alamo and the State History Museum, went hiking up Enchanted Rock and tubing down the Camal River, and visited a zoo and the top of a tower with a rotating restaurant. Consider visiting museums, waterparks, and beach destinations. Encouraging them to decide where they want to spend the day can allow them to have input and a better experience.

Beware of Germs
You don’t want your well-planned trip interrupted by illness. It has happened to me! When my older son was a baby he vomited all over my back while we were hiking in Zion National Park. We had to re-route our trip back to the city to get him care. Not fun! Frequently washing the kids’ hands before meals and after using the toilet will reduce the risk of catching a cold or other trip-ruining virus.

Have them Pack
As my boys have grown, I’ve decided packing for three is too much work for me. Each boy has a bag and I will tell them to pack. I’ll give them a list such as “5 underwear, 5 shirts, shorts, pants, and swimsuit.” I’ll check that they’ve thrown in their toiletries. I also try to throw in some snacks, and make sure they have their activities as I discussed above.