Traveling with children can be tricky, and sometimes embarrassing. However, family vacations are part of the American experience and there are tips which can help make that experience an enjoyable one.

The first thing you must understand about traveling with children is that if you have chosen to bring them along, then the trip better be for them. Dragging whiny toddlers or sulking teenagers along on a trip which you have actually planned for yourself is a formula for disaster. Adults do deserve adult time, but if you are planning an adult trip then leave the kids at home. Otherwise, make sure you take into consideration what your children would enjoy doing, what they enjoy eating and what kind of accommodations they are most comfortable with.

Understanding your own limits is crucial when it comes to pulling off a peaceful trip with children. If you already know ahead of time that your kids cannot handle hours and hours cooped up in a vehicle, then break up a long road trip into chunks. If everyone being piled into one hotel room causes world war three, then book adjoining rooms. Stop disasters before they happen. If you need to write down all of the bad experiences your family has had in the past with family trips. Pinpoint what the cause was, and then brainstorm ways that disaster could be avoided during your next trip.

Sometimes children will protest family events just because they do not feel like they are really a part of it. Make the effort to involve your children in the planning of the trip. Perhaps let each child plan a day’s activities or pick a restaurant. When children feel like they are being a part of an event they are far more likely to behave and enjoy themselves.

If you have very small children always make sure to take extra changes of clothes when you visit an attraction or head out from your hotel every day. Consider that your toddler or small child is in a new environment and is likely very excited. Under those circumstances accidents do happen. Being prepared can help avoid embarrassment and get your day of fun back on track quickly. Having a cooler packed with ice and cold drinks waiting for your kids when you all return to your car after an activity is also a great way to help everyone readjust back into the vehicle and cut down on whining and fighting. First aid kits are always a must when traveling with children as well. Also, make sure upon your arrival you locate the nearest hospital and you know how to get to it in the case of a large scale emergency.