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Leanne Kocsis, Vice President of Site Operations, MilitaryAvenue.com
I’ll never forget the first road trip with my newborn son. My usual four and a half-hour trip to my folks’ house took me seven. Welcome to parenthood! Young traveling companions add a whole new dimension to your travel experiences.  Be sure you dial down your expectations, set realistic goals, and take it nice 'n' easy. Here are some parent-tested suggestions for traveling with a young child:

Let the good times roll: Make a CD or cassette full of your kid’s favorite songs. If they are old enough have them help pick out the songs before you leave. Don’t forget yourself too – make a few CDs, a cd with quiet music for when you need some peace and a cd with peppy music to stimulate your brain when you are feeling a little road weary. Books on tape are great for the whole family too!
Bring drinks and snacks: For your infant make sure to bring along a supply of water, breast milk, or formula — and a bag of snacks, if your baby's eating solids. Your best bet for older babies includes easy-to-pack snacks like baggies of whole grain cereal, small cartons of fruit juice, teething crackers or animal crackers, and other age-appropriate nibblers. Avoid giving children candy, chocolate, pop or sugary food before or during travel. The wipes you keep in your diaper bag will come in handy for easy cleanups while driving.
 
Plan your stops: Feed your children before they get hungry and plan your travel times around napping and normal eating times. Look for a restaurant about half an hour before you want to eat the food is being served before everyone is hungry
 
Count on frequent rest stops: If you're driving, break up your trip so your baby can stretch his limbs and move around to blow off some pent-up energy.  Pack a rubber or foam ball for your baby to crawl after and some simple board books for quiet time, bubbles for toddlers and preschoolers and maybe a mitt and baseball for your older children.  Parks and picnic areas on your route will be your best bet for space to play. A little planning ahead and you will know just where to stop. End your driving day early so all of you have time to unwind after a long day on the road.
 
I’m sure I don’t need to say it but a note on traveling with children would not be complete without: At every stop you make supervise your children. With more then one child employ a “buddy-system.”
 
Think safety: It goes without saying but, make sure your baby's car seat is properly secured.  According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, up to 85% of car seats aren't installed correctly. Use removable window shades to keep the sun off your baby. Pack a first aid kit with children’s Tylenol, a thermometer, bandaids, motion sickness meds and other misc. so that you won't have to search for an open drug store if your child gets sick.
 
If the children start to get restless or the baby is screaming pull over to the side of the road. In a split second of looking back to grab a bottle or retrieve a favorite toy you can  
 
Pack a goody bag: A good way to keep kids content on a trip is to take along a goody bag filled with more toys and doodads than you think you'll need.  Your baby might like an array of shiny new objects, baby-proof mirrors, rattles, musical toys, soft animals, pop-up toys, plastic keys, teething rings, board books, and favorite toys.  Wrap some of them before you leave and present your child with a surprise every once in a while. Start building your toy cache a few weeks before the trip. I remember as a child traveling across the country (literally) and my mom had bought a little something for each state-line we crossed. It gave us something to look forward to and kept things moving. You can find simple gifts for car travel at your local dollar store.
 
There are many resources for car games in order to keep the kids entertained. Check out:
When to hit the road: Getting up at 4am to leave on a car trip may be saner then you think. Pack the car as much as possible the night before, get gas, have the coffee pot ready to go.  The morning of the trip, wake the kids up gently and buckle them in the car in their pajamas.  This way you will get a few hours of non-stop driving in and they get in a few hours more sleep.  When they wake up for breakfast it doesn't seem that far to go.
If you plan on being in the car during the night little light sticks that you can pick up in camping sections in different stores can bring on another great diversion.  
Most importantly try to maintain a sense of humor, because the calmer you are and the less stressed you are the happier your whole family will be.

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