Jun 7, 2015

Summer is here . . . Travel tips for Family Vacation, what do you do?

Are you in need of some ideas for your next family vacation trip?  Kids getting on your nerves fighting with each other in the car?  Tired of them always playing electronic games the whole trip?  Well, you are in luck!

I am working on the plans to keep my 3 kids ages "almost 14", 10 and 7 not only occupied and entertained during our LONG road trip to Maryland and Virginia in a couple weeks, but also quiet and not fussing/fighting with each other and driving mom and dad crazy.
I have compiled some tips online, from friends and some that I have personally implemented to share
with you.  I am also asking for any great ideas YOU might have that I can add to my list.
It is a long trip in a small vehicle with 5 different personalities . . . what can we do to make it fun and not frustrating???

Check it out . . . ..

Travel Tips & Tricks

Things We Do:

* Make sure to have a packing list ~ it helps to make sure all the necessities are there with you when you arrive at your destination - one of the worst things a parent can experience is a little one who's favorite toy or bedtime sleepy friend was left home by mistake!

Here are a few websites that I found while searching the web, that have travel packing lists:

* Make a bag/backpack for each kid with their favorite books, coloring books/baggie of crayons, color wonder books/markers, plain paper & colored pencils, and a few small toys.

 * Have a few small snacks available as well as small bottles of water for each kid.

* As my kids are getting older, they like to bring electronic games to play.  I prefer they not play them in the car, so instead - we play "I Spy" together, or the "license plate game" or something similar that one of us makes up.  After playing that for a while, they are allowed to play their games for a few minutes as reward.

* An iPod for each child works pretty well for my kids.  When they start to harass each other, having separate iPods with earphones helps them focus on music and less on each other.

* A portable DVD player - one movie they all have to agree on, or Mom picks the movie

* Bring magnetic board games for older kids to play - or chalk board/white boards to play hangman, drawing games and just for crazy doodling fun. 

* Pack a small bag of surprises - I take new books, a new game or movie, small dollar store toys and use them as rewards for behaving in the car.  Each time we stop for gas or potty breaks, they get to pick something new to play with.  

* Have challenging game ideas ready 

      - Who can find the most . . . (red vehicles, license plates with K on them, White buildings, etc).  Gets them interested in what is outside the windows of the car and gives them a contest (until they start arguing again LOL)

      - In My Suitcase I Packed (name the things you pack from A to Z with each person listing something and repeating all the items before them ie “An Apple, A Bear, A Cat…)

      - I'm going on vacation and I'm taking . . . . (make up a theme and see if the others can figure it out . . . I'm taking a bear (furry animals), cell phone (electronics), zebra (anything with stripes) etc. and see if they can figure out the pattern!

* Give them each a disposable camera or for older kids and small digital camera.  Let them take their own photos along the way, you might be amazed at what they see that you might miss!

From the Web:
Bring the things they can't live without:  The days of pacifiers and favorite blankets may be past, but that doesn't mean your kids haven't latched on to something else. If he's been reading a certain book every night up lately, pack it. If she's been working on a crossword puzzle for weeks, pack it. That doesn't mean everything goes! Set limits (for example, one toy car, not the whole set) you can live with ahead of time and communicate them early. Kids should carry their most important possessions in a backpack or wheel-tote they can carry themselves.( family.go.com )

Tune them in:  Talk to them. And remember to listen too. Turn off the radio in the car and engage the kids in games that require them to use their attention and imagination while keeping them focused on their surroundings. On the plane, watch the movie your son picked together or read the book your daughter is reading with her and you'll have something to talk about later. ( family.go.com )

Submitted by friends:
Made them travel bags filled w little games..each hr or two they could pick something out of their bag eyes closed just feeling...pick stuff they like..don't have to spend a lot of money..go to dollar store.... (submitted by Gail G - fb friend)

Once in the hotel, read a chapter book so they can look forward to it each night. Remember to always book a hotel with an indoor pool in case weather gets lousy - mom and dad can take turns with the kids in the pool to give each other some quiet time.
(submitted by Gail G - fb friend)

When we travel across multiple states, I have a "goodie" bag of small toys and treats that each child gets to open.  It helps them focus on the trip and how much fun it can be.  The most recent trip we went through 4 states each way.  So for my 2 kids, they each received 8 little goodie bags!  (Submitted by Rose)

8 Tips to Survive a Family Road Trip

  1. Plan to have fun. The car is going to get crowded but remember you are all in this together.
  2. Laugh! When things get stressful find something to laugh about. The stress will go away.
  3. Switch seats at each rest stop. Siting next to a different family member breaks up the view and potential for sibling arguments.
  4. Create Silly Travel Videos or Instagram Pictures to share your Trip with family and friends.
  5. Give every passenger 30-45 minutes to have the ride "Their Way". Let them pick the music, lack of music, car game, sing songs, tell stories, or knock knock jokes. Everyone must participate if they want cooperation during their time. The rest of the time the Driver or Parents make the rules.
  6. Give children their own spending money. This stops them from asking 100 times and you from saying No 100 times.. They can decide if they want something bad enough to spend their own money.
  7. Impromptu Dance and Singing Parties with or without children's stuffed animals are a must. Make sure to capture (see #4)
  8. Remember to have Fun, after all you are on vacation! If you aren't having fun what is the point!
- From Mom It Forward ~ read full article

Favorite Places & Spaces

* I love taking my kids to the local ZOO or Museum for a day trip.  I usually have grandma and grandpa come along to help keep track of all three kiddos and makes for a fun day - we also take a picnic lunch along.

* For weekend vacations, we try to go somewhere no further than a 3 hour drive.  It is fun to see what local attractions our family can enjoy not too far from home.

So far we've visited :
~ St. Louis, Mo  (Zoo, Grant's Farm, Museums)
~ Indianapolis, IN  (Zoo, Museum)
~ Grand Bear Lodge in Utica, IL
~ Starved Rock State Park in IL
~ Wisconsin Dells, WI - (Noah's Ark, Wilderness Resort, Rode on the "Ducks")
~ FunCity in Burlington, IA
~ Day trip on Amtrak to Chicago - AG Store
~ Chicago Weekend - (Museum, Shed Aquarium, AG Store, Lego Store, etc).

Places we plan to visit in the near future:
~  The beach - ??
~  Florida (Disney World? Sea World?)
~  Colorado?
~  Maryland & Washington D.C ~  

Check out my Family Travel Experiences
and Mommy Moments!

Have an idea you'd like to submit?   Comment below - and I'll gladly add it! Have a favorite family vacation spot?  Let me know and I'll add it to my "Follower Favorites" list!

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