As I thought about this post and what to share with you, I couldn’t help but remember those long hours on the road with toddlers. I think the worst trip was when our twins were potty training and they thought they had to see the inside of every rest stop bathroom and random port-a-john on our route.
So believe me when I say, I know traveling with kids is not always fun. I will say , it has gotten a little easier now that my girls are teenagers, but it still has it’s challenges.
No matter the time of year, we usually have several trips planned – sometimes day trips or multi-day trips. As the seasons come and go, many of you will be finding yourself on the road as well. So here are 5 things we do to make traveling with kids, not only possible, but survivable.
1. Make a List: You can ask my husband, I make a list for everything when it comes to our trips. Clothes, food, misc. items and medicine list. With six of us to pack for, I have found that creating a list helps me remember the important things. Making a list also keeps me from over-packing. Without a list I land up just throwing things in the car, often packing un-necessary items.
2. Pack Snacks and Drinks: Stopping for snacks and drinks on the road can get expensive and healthy options are not always available. I pack snacks that are easy to handle in the car such as: Trial Mix, Fruit, Tortilla Chips and pretzels. I often include plastic cups that can be filled and handed out easily while traveling. When the girls were little, we packed juice boxes and water. Now, we will pack tea and water bottles for the trip.
3. Pack games & Things to entertain: We were blessed that all four of our girls have always loved to read. Now that they are older, they take a few books and we hear very little out of them as they dive deep into their books. However, when they were little I took along car games (such as Travel Scavenger Hunt For Kids Card Game ) that we only pulled out for trips. This helped keep the trip fresh and exciting and filled road time for us. I would also check out DVD movies from the library, choosing movies they had not seen before or classic favorites.
4. Well Timed Stops: Even if we were just stopping for a bathroom break we made sure not to rush the kids back into the car. It’s important to remember that our kids get tired of traveling just as much as we do. Especially when the girls were little, it was important to let them stretch their legs a bit. Sometimes that meant running around the rest stop lawn or pulling out the soccer ball to kick around for a little while. By adding in these stretching times we found the girls much more content to sit in the car, and in the long run we made fewer stops.
5. Be Willing to adjust the trip schedule: Before we had kids, trips were easier and took less time. However, once we had kids, trips that normally took 2 hours now took 3-4. We learned early on that if we wanted a less stressful trip, we needed to simply give ourselves more time. If we tried to rush ourselves and our kids, everyone landed up in one grumpy mess by the time we made it to our destination. By giving ourselves more time, we took the stress off, and the trip was much more pleasant for everyone.
So what would you add to my list? What have you found works well for you? Please share with us in the comments.