Traveling with kids can be daunting. I remember when my oldest was six weeks old, we traveled the five hours to my parent’s house to visit and she cried every 30 minutes. I was certain I would never travel again. Fortunately, as she has gotten older, she has become a much better traveler and we have found that doing the following helps pass the time in the car – not just for our children, but for us, as well.
1. Plan stops ahead of time. We map out where we plan to stop. Certainly if there is a bathroom emergency we will rearrange our plans but we typically have smaller destinations in mind to break up the trip. One summer, we had several weddings and family trips planned to places we’ve never been before and we researched the areas on the way and made specific stops to visit national museums and historic points of interest. This particular road trip has been one of our favorite family memories and we were able to see much of our state’s history that we wouldn’t normally see. It was like taking a mini field trip on our way to vacation and it made the travel much more enjoyable.
2. Limit kids to packing only one bag of toys – and have them pack it. I give my five year old the bag she is allowed to pack and limit her to only that bag. This does two things: first, it eliminates unnecessary clutter in an already over-packed car; second, she determines what she brings to plays with. When she is upset because she doesn’t have a certain toy I remind her that she was the one who packed her bag.
3. Pack Snacks. Packing snacks keeps us from spending $10-15 dollars each time we stop for the bathroom. It also helps soothe some of the traffic angst. Plus, we have more control over the types of snacks they eat instead of being at the whim of the junk aisle at a gas station.