Travel tips for kids

Vacation time continues, and we offer some suggestions for families.

• Lower your expectations. Sightseeing with kids is great, in small doses. So pace yourself for the sake of peace and pleasure. Don’t try to do too much in one day. Keep activities age- and stage-appropriate.

• Go for DIY diversions. Apps and iPads can help answer the question, “Are we there yet?” (or at least distract your kid from asking). But when the batteries run out, it’s nice to have backup. Print out a map of your route on MapQuest or Google and mark it with a pen, “you are here” style, when the kids are curious (i.e., whining).

Vacation books created from brochures, maps and activity sheets relating to the route and destination keep blogger Linda Kramer’s kids busy on road trips. Kramer, who writes at, has the books spiralbound at a copy center.

They include a pocket for papers or pamphlets her children might collect along the way. “Not only do they keep the kids busy in the car and help them learn about our destinations,” she said, “but they also serve as souvenirs when we return home. I’ve been doing this for five years, and now the kids ask before each trip, ‘Are you making a vacation book for us?’ ”

• Hit the road with stops in mind to turn your car trip into a great adventure. The Roadtrippers app allows you to plot your route and find lodging, food, attractions, entertainment and shopping along the way.

• When it comes to thrift — that Holy Grail of family travel — a little planning can mean a lot of savings. And that includes packing lunches on the road. Check out online bargains via Groupon or LivingSocial for the city you’re visiting, and you may find discount coupons for attractions. Find cheap tickets to shows and museums at sites such as and Free admission to dozens of museums around the country may be one of the perks when you sign up for membership to your local science and children’s museums. For details on the Passport Program of the Association of Science-Technology Centers, go to

Keep in mind that regarding leaking air mattresses, lost luggage, gigantic cockroaches and more: Something is bound to go wrong on any trip. But it will usually turn out fine, and you’ll treasure the story afterward.