photo: ytravelblog via Instagram

Family vacations create life-long memories, but there are definitely challenges that come with traveling with small children. The Makepeace family has spent the last 16 years traveling the world with their two children and in that time they’ve learned a thing or two about the best way to travel with kids.

Caz and Craig Makepeace have lived in five different countries, and visited over 52 in the last 16 years, but they didn’t do it alone. For the last 9 years their daughters, Kalyra, 9, and Savannah, 5, have been along for the adventures, from the Australian Outback to the bustling streets of Singapore. The couple recently shared some of their best travel tips with TODAY.

Tailoring travel to be age-appropriate was one of the first lessons the family learned. When the girls were very young, they found that travel by car was the best fit and set out on many road trips. They are currently on a three-year trek by car through the United States. Finding kid-friendly activities is also helpful. Try looking for things the whole family can do together to make the experience more fun. It also helps to include the kids in deciding where to go and what to do, Makepeace suggests.

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Eating on the road is another challenge the parents learned how to overcome. “We always encourage Savannah to try new foods, but we’ll also have some snacks or sandwiches packed just in case,” Makepeace told TODAY. “Every parent knows that at the end of the day, you can’t force it.”

When it comes to long plane rides, Makepeace says non-stop flights are less stressful. Parents should come armed with entertainment. Makepeace also suggests letting the kids select the toys and activities they want to bring along. Her best advice is to let go of those jitters and start traveling at an early age. “My biggest tip is to start flying with your child as early as you can so that they know what to expect,” said Makepeace. “Then when they’re older, you can give them their own plane ticket, passport and have them roll their own suitcase along.”

Do you travel a lot with your kids? Share your best travel tips in the comments below.