This is a sponsored post by Necknappers, Smart Toys & Games and Educational Insights. We were given complimentary products for review. #sponsored

Necknapperz and travel games are a must for travel with kidsFamily travel is key for enhancing your child’s education experience. There are so many wonderful places to explore depending on your child’s interest. Some of our favorite places include Colonial Williamsburg or Gettysburg with a historical focus or the Tuckerton Seaport Museum for sealife exploration.

Now while there are plenty of blog tips for traveling with young children or suggestions for babies… and let’s face it – they can be the most challenging travel companions – but that doesn’t mean that our older children shouldn’t be considered as well.  Here are some suggestions for the older ones.

Tip 1: Most importantly – Consider Comfort.

This goes without saying that safety is first – ALWAYS – but moving past that we need to consider how important comfort is when we have a big day planned miles and miles away. travel toysComfort includes the basics like stopping for bathroom breaks and snacks. But it also means watching the volume on the radio… and the repeat button (we’ve all been there with the tot that wants to hear the same song over and over and over and…). Older children need their space, which might include some quiet time. Don’t be afraid to set a 10 mins of silence (NOT a timeout!!) period… just to collect thoughts. Be careful not to ask a million questions about how excited they are (again that over and over and over bit… kids hate that) and be careful not to over-promise on the destination. Comfort also means being physically comfortable for a long period of time. Consider a foot stool and when you make stops, perhaps have children switch seats (if that’s an easy thing to do). And here’s a big one… neck support, especially if sleep is expected. Necknapperz offers the perfect balance between support and travel companion as their unique neck supports convert into adorable plush stuffed animals.  Check out our video below for a quick demonstration. The kids love these because they are so soft and huggable and I love that their neck is being supported properly.  So keep all the comforts in mind as you plan your day trips. The more comfortable the travel, the more enjoyable the experience!!

Tip 2: Balance the Boredom

This is important for reasons beyond minimizing sibling arguments and maximizing excitement, but you want your children to be refreshed and ready for whatever learning opportunities are in front of you all. Bored minds turn off… think about it… have you ever had that Saturday that you knew you wanted to do something but just couldn’t figure out what and you couldn’t get excited about anything? Yeah, we want to avoid that for our kids on our day trips. Hours of nothing will wear a kid out and their minds won’t be open or receptive to the awesomeness of your planned trip.  And that would suck! Now that doesn’t mean you have to entertain them every five minutes… of course not, but do plan for a variety of activities both solo and family engaging.  When packing our luggage, the most important (and fun) part is packing the mom’s-tote-of-awesome… well, we actually call it the “fun bag” but I think I might rename it now. And yes, when my husband accidentally packed it in the back with the other luggage… I have made him pull over to retrieve it. It belongs up front, accessible at all times. We pack reading material, coloring books, travel games, Mad Libs, music (with headphones) and of course snacks. The point is, plan this part too… something for everyone.  We recently received a cool game from Smart Games USA that are perfect for traveling. IQ Fit (also in the video above) is great because each of the Riddle Cubepuzzle pieces fit inside the game board, securing them again bumpy rides. There are over a 100 puzzle combinations. The best part… it can be played alone or with a buddy. It is colorful and compact and will forever be in my “mom’s-tote-of-awesome” (seriously, that’s what I’m going to call it from now on).  Another game we recently received for review wasn’t designed as a travel game… but I think it is perfect for on-the-go fun. Riddle Cube from Educational Insights is packaged in a cube box (again compact) but the box itself holds the cards… so they won’t go sliding all over the place. The game is played by twisting 3D plastic cubes held together with tension wire and tubes, into a variety of geometric shapes. This too can be played solo or with others. I like that it is physical when your kids are otherwise confined. It gives them something to “do” and works their mind at the same time. There are 200 riddle shapes for hours of play and variety.

So all that and a discount too… Smart Games USA is providing a 10% discount on any game or toy purchased from Smart Toys & Games via their link. Now is a good time to think ahead on some of that holiday travel time in the car, holiday shopping lists and the on-going birthday invites that comes with a new school year.  Be sure to use promo code: SweetSte at checkout to apply the discount.

Bottom line… keep your car companions happy with comfort in mind and busting the boredom. Arriving at your destination will be all the more enjoyable and the family will be that much more ready to participate in and appreciate whatever activities and learning opportunities are before them.