Travel season is upon us! According to Triple A (AAA), Americans travel the most in the summer than any other time of the year—especially families.

Whether in the car or on a plane, keeping kids entertained during the flight or car ride is key to parents’ sanity. Plus, being prepared for travel delays is also paramount, even if you are only traveling a short distance. If you are headed for a weekend beach getaway an hour away, best bet is everyone will be too. So stock up on these play essentials for your next trip.

play ideas for travel

TIP #1: KEEP A SEPARATE STASH OF PLAYTHINGS FOR TRAVEL.

As you shop during the week, keep a lookout for fun trinkets. Whether it is a coloring book, bubbles, a book or a small toy, it can keep kids excited to play with something new (and is also a good incentive for good behavior!). Also consider swinging by a consignment shop for great deals on reused toys.

TIP #2: GET CREATIVE WITH SUPPLIES ON HAND.

If you will be traveling in the car, consider collecting a mish-mash of supplies to encourage creativity. Store it a suitcase or plastic bin in the trunk. Collect paper towel or toilet paper tubes, cotton balls, popsicle sticks, string or yarn, empty ice cube trays, and more. Depending on the age of your kids, some stick glue is a good addition too, and car safe. Then let your kids have fun.

TIP #3: FEED MINDS AND STOMACHS.

While play can pass the time, keeping little tummies satisfied is also important. Pack snacks that your kids love, but consider storing them in fun containers to make the travel snacks extra special. Maybe the typical Cheerios go in to a pill organizer, or fruit rolls are rolled onto lollipop sticks.

TIP #4: USE THE GREAT OUTDOORS AS PLAY INSPIRATION.

Take a piece of paper and write down objects, colors or numbers that your kids need to find. Maybe it is finding a license plate for all of the states, or something from every color of the rainbow. My son loves looking for cars that are red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple! Have them place a sticker next to each thing they find and see who wins!

TIP #5: PLAY OUTSIDE TOO.

Take a break from traveling with planned spots for the kids to let off steam. Find out if your departure or arrival airport has a playspace (Boston’s Logan Airport has one in almost every terminal). Ask friends and family on Facebook or Twitter if they have any suggestions for playgrounds en route and schedule stops for fresh air and a leg stretch. (Parents will appreciate it, too!)

For ideas on fabulous and fun travel toys, check out the post here.