By Amy Tara Koch
March 28, 2014

Whether you are traveling by plane, train or automobile, the key to tranquil trekking is all about doing the prep work. When traveling, spontaneity often yields a nightmare scenario. To reduce frustration and tantrums, parents must anticipate and be prepared for common in-transit issues: delays, hunger, bumps, bruises and illness and, of course, bad behavior. Here are my 6 top tips for reducing stress while traveling with the family:

1. Snacks on the go. Don’t wait until the kids get hungry and cranky. Pack an array of snacks and meals for the trip. Always plan for delays and bring a few extra nibbles.

2. Keep them busy. Bring a cross section of easy-to-transport toys, books, workbooks, gadgets and activities to engage them through the hours of travel.

3. Have bribery material on hand. Lots of it: Travel can be challenging for kids, so bring the goods to ward off tantrums and encourage good behavior. Some of my favorites are Tasty Brand organic (no corn syrup) Fruit Gummies, Tootsie Rolls, lollipops and a surprise activity (stickers, coloring book, Etch A Sketch, a new movie download, iTunes card for older kids).

4. Have an in-transit pharmacy. Have a zippered pouch with medicine and other products that deal with any and all medical maladies: ear pressure, sudden onset of a cold, cuts, allergies, even mystery rashes.

5. Avoid cootie exposure. To defend your family from the brazen germs lurking on every surface, build your anti-cootie arsenal with Potty Toppers, Tray Toppers, and anti-bacterial wipes.

6. Stay powerful. Always have an extra power source for your cell phone and other electronics.

Guest family blogger Amy Tara Koch is a style expert, author, journalist and travel aficionado. She lives in Chicago with her husband and two daughters. Check out her blog, Amy Tara Koch.