• Pack plenty of comfy favorites such as pillows, blankets and stuffed animals.
• Pack a separate "beach bag" complete with everyone's swim- suit and towel...it'll be ready to go without everyone having to unpack their bags.
• Fill a cooler with sandwiches, healthy snacks and water. It's healthier and cheaper than eating out in restaurants along the way. Pack extra snacks for the "between stops."
• Pack each child an "art box" complete with stickers, a small drawing pad and colored pencils.
On the road
• Make sure each child has his or her own individual CD or DVD player with headphones.
• Pack a surprise bag. When the kids get restless, play silly word games and reward them with little trinkets from the surprise bag (e.g., miniature card games, dolls, cars, stickers, etc.).
• Turn off the music and get the kids to take off their earphones. Talk and tell funny stories; allow the kids to make up their own stories.
• Stay focused on the road and keep your hands on the steering wheel. Manage incoming phone calls using hands-free devices such as the Nokia Advanced Car Kit CK-7W, which automatically mutes the radio when a call comes in. With the remote control button, you can accept and reject calls, redial and adjust the volume.
• Avoid getting lost by using a wireless GPS device such as the LD-1W from Nokia. It uses Global Positioning Satellites to locate your current position. You simply type in the address where you want to go and follow the map on your phone's display while listening to the voice instructions. This GPS system uses Bluetooth technology and up to 18 hours, but it is easily charged using a mobile phone charger.
• Plot stops where you can pull out the soccer ball to allow the kids to run off some energy.
For more useful tips on traveling with your family and to register to win great travel gear, log on to www.StressFreeSummerTravel. com.
Emily Kaufman, the Travel Mom, using the Nokia CK-7W hands-free advanced car kit.