Deb Geigis Berry, one of the country's leading experts on family planning and activities and mind behind Family Adventure Mom, in collaboration with Totsy—the private sale site for moms, has created a handy list of tips for parents as they prepare for vacation travel this summer:
1. Kids love being with you, so a trip to the beach or state park can be just as fun as a pricey excursion to a crowded amusement part. Just shake things up with a few new travel toys.
2. Search for freebies. Many towns offer a free concert or outdoor movie and libraries often host events, from juggling seminars to costumed parades. When you arrive at your destination, head to the local library and scan the bulletin for upcoming events.
3. Don’t take ‘family friendly’ to heart. Call venues to see if they have cribs, high-chairs and booster seats. Also bring quiet, colorful toys, like spinners that attach to tables or table trays with a suction cup.
4. Press all buttons before they press yours—make sure the sound/effects and melodies of toys won’t drive you crazy over a long car ride.
5. Don’t bring your child’s favorite toys. Losing an adored blanket or stuffed animal will put a damper on the trip. Try picking up a few filler toys just for the trip.
6. Only one thing is worse than a back seat driver, a back seat crier. Use car compartments to stock items that comfort and distract, like a small pillow or a fun play mat.
7. Divert meltdowns with smart phone apps that entertain babies in a pinch, like animal pictures with sounds and flashcards with shapes and colors. Don’t forget to use a durable case and neck strap!
8. Save money and eat healthy with picnics stocked with bread, cheese, vegetables and fruit from local farmers’ markets. In case the ground or table is damp, keep a waterproof blanket in the car.
9. Keep moving. Babies and young children enjoy motion. Try cycling with a baby in a trailer, hiking with a baby in a carrier, or riding on a historic merry go round.
10. Try an animal adventure. Take a bird walk, visit a fish hatchery or cruise an animal park. Go to your state’s tourism department website to learn about animal adventures near you.