Jun 5, 2019

Survival Tips for Family Travel ~ Join the Chaos

So, you are planning a Wonderful family trip.  You just know that each and every sweet, lovable member of your family is going to enjoy every single moment of togetherness and bonding.  There is a whole vacation full of special moments you have meticulously planned and of course, each family member is going to be just as excited and enthusiastic, well-behaved and thankful for all your hard work planning this special adventure.... then, reality sets in before the car is even packed. . . fighting over suitcases, who gets to sit in the window seat, which movie to watch in the minivan. . . potty stops five minutes after leaving home . . . what can you do to get this adventure back on track?

Here are some tips
I found online and in personal experiences of traveling not just with the kiddos but the spouse as well!

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!

* 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.

* 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.

* 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.

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 canlook 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)

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.

Have some great tips to add?  Comment below and tell us how you survive family travel adventures!

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