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Be travel, water safe this summer

Summer is right around the corner. This means increased family travel and fun with the kids.

Here are some family travel tips from Traveltips

--Pack light. This might not sound easy to those accustomed to bringing along everything, but it will save time and space.

--Always have wipes. Use them for everything--from cleaning the usual suspects' little hands to unexpected messes in the car. Don't leave home without them.

--Bring snacks. For the fussy child or the adult, it's always better to have a snack to stay on track. Hungry people get cranky; snacks will help avoid this.

--Have a box of "tricks." Before going on any travel, whether by car or plane, head to the $1 store to grab a whole bunch of stuff. So, when necessary, there's something to give the kids that's new and exciting. When arriving at the destination, pack the tricks away so on the return home those toys will still be exciting.

--Layer up. The weather can never be predicted, so it's always good to have a few layers to take along to serve from morning until night. It's much easier to take off than to not have enough. Being cold isn't fun for anyone.

--Charge up. When all else fails, hand the child a phone. Be sure to have a backup battery or charger. There's a ton of smart phone apps kids can play with too, depending on their age.

--Use GPS. Especially when traveling far, it's best to know the exact route rather than to guess. Kids can't wait to arrive, so avoid lengthening the trip by not getting lost.

--Bring a friend. The more, the merrier, so plan a trip with others, if possible. Then, lasting memories can be created together.

--Be comfortable. It's traveling, not going on an interview!

--Have fun! Spend time with family and enjoy them. Life is too precious.

Often, summer vacations taken by younger travelers include activities on the water. Paddle-boarding is becoming as popular as any of the wet and wild diversions.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reminds the growing legion of enthusiastic paddle-boarders they need their life jackets. Paddleboards fall under the same law as kayaks and canoes. Wisconsin law, as well as U.S. Coast Guard law, requires vessels to be equipped with a personal flotation device, also known as a PFD or life jacket.

There must be a life jacket for each person on board. This is true no matter the size of the vessel, but especially in smaller boats and on the stand-up paddleboards. The DNR offers a free online paddling safety course for new paddlers to learn the basics and as a refresher for experienced paddlers. To locate the online course, go to and click the paddling safety link below the "Before You Boat" tab.

The Coast Guard has this advice for novice and seasoned paddle-boarders alike:

--Wear a lifejacket and carry a whistle;

--Be a competent swimmer;

--Know how to self-rescue;

--Know how to tow another board;

--Know the local regulations and navigation rules;

--Understand the elements and hazards--winds, tidal ranges, current, terrain;

--Know when to wear a leash;

--Be defensive--don't go where not supposed to be and avoid other swimmers, boaters and paddleboards;

--Use proper blade angle to be the most efficient paddle-boarder;

--Take a safety course.

The advice is also good to know for vessel operators or passengers. For more information about being prepared for fun and safety on paddleboards or other vessels, go to the DNR website DNR and search keywords "boat safety."