Musings From MommyLand

Because sometimes there is more to Mommy…

Tips For Travelling With Kids

on May 11, 2012

I am by no means an expert on travel, but I have done my fair share of it as a child, as an adult, and as an adult with children.  What follows are some of the tips I have picked up during my many road trips and I hope that you find them useful.

Be Flexible

You know those sayings “the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry” and “if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans”?  Never have they been more appropriate than when travelling with children.  Now, obviously there is quite a bit of planning and preparation that goes into getting ready to take the kids on a long distance trip, but when it comes down to the actual drive,  I have found it is best to be as flexible as possible and just see where the day takes you.  You are going to have to stop more often for restrooms and stretching and you may even have to make an extra overnight stop.  Don’t let it bother you too much.  Consider it part of the journey.  I think that as your kids gets older, you can be slightly more rigid in your plans, but if you are travelling with an infant or a toddler, well lets just say that life is easier if you go with the flow.

Know Your Limits

Since I was a kid making the journey, my parents have always opted to make the trip in one day.  That is 26 hours of driving.  CRAZY!  Now, my dad is a truck driver and drives long distances for a living, so to him and to my mom who enjoys driving, it was never a big deal to make it in one shot.  Not so much the case when it comes to me.  I am what you might call a driving wimp.  I can go about 3 hours before I am falling asleep at the wheel (come to think of it, I bet this is my parents fault because I taught myself to sleep as much as possible on car trips to make the time pass…but that is for a different therapy session).  If I had to make this trip by myself, it would take me 5 days with an overnight stop in each state and 2 in Kansas.  Hence the reason I don’t make it by myself and also why even with a more stalwart driver like my husband, I still insist on an overnight stay somewhere along the way.  Whatever kind of driver you are, just make sure you know your limits and that you don’t push yourself beyond these because this is when bad things can happen.

Find Fun Along the Way

This is a place where I don’t always follow my own advice.  I have been making this cross country trip for 20 years…I have probably made it 12-15 times in that time span and even though I was just a kid for the first half of that time frame, it is easy to turn it into a task to be completed and to forget that you are trekking across our beautiful country.  For my parents, it was pretty much push and get there as fast as you can.  As a parent myself now, I am determined to break this habit and slow down a bit and enjoy the sights along the way and I really think that it will make the trip even more enjoyable.  This year, my husband brought up the possibility of stopping in Kansas City the first night for some BBQ.  This is about 2 hours earlier than we normally would have stopped but I was like “why not”.  It will make him happy, it will give us more time in the pool that night with kids, and more time to relax and get sleep for the next day.  It is weird to think that I have passed through Kansas City at least a dozen times, but I have never actually stopped there.  That will change in less than a week.  And if I see a sign for the world’s largest ball of yarn…well we just may make a detour for that too.  I guess what I am trying to say is, if you take time to enjoy the sights and pay attention to the beauty around you…your trip is going to be better.

Be Organized

In my draft folder at the moment, I have a whole post dedicated to organization on your road trip, so I will be brief here.  I just wanted to say, that even for someone not known for their organization (that would be me), I have come to realize just how important it is on a long distance car trip.  Everything in its place creates more space and more space creates happiness.  You also don’t want to be stopping every five minutes because you can’t find a pacifier, or a sippy, or whatever else.  Your car may not be the most organized by the time you get to your destination, but starting out that way is really important to your sanity.

Be Prepared

It takes planning and preparation to take the kids to the grocery store 5 blocks away let alone for a 1400 mile journey.  There is no need to go overboard and pack 16 extra outfits in the diaper bag, but remembering the little things that will make the trip easier for kids is important.  I have a 3 year old who likes to wait until the very last possible second to tell us he needs to use the restroom which when you are in the middle of nowhere Kansas probably isn’t going to end well.  So I will have at least a couple extra pair of underwear close by.  And I will have a baggie full of pacifiers in the glove box because my daughter is somehow magical and can lose one in 6 inches of space.  Blankies will be within reach and I will have car chargers for all electronic devices that the kids will be using.  These are the little things to which I refer.  You can’t prepare for everything, but you can make your life easier by anticipating your kids needs and being ready with an answer or solution.

Don’t Forget Your Own Entertainment

Along your trip, you may find that your children are sufficiently occupied and your other driver is behind the wheel and you actually have 3 minutes of time for yourself.  So, in the midst of packing the 37 activities for your kids, don’t forget your own book or your tablet or your smart phone as well.

So, these are the most important tips I have and that I follow (or try to follow) for a road trip.  I hope they help and if you have any other ones…please share with us in the comments.  I am always looking for new ideas on how to make travelling with the kids a little easier.

Happy Travels!

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One response to “Tips For Travelling With Kids

  1. rose says:

    I always make sure I have anything and everything the kids will need or want when we are on a road trip. The kids are usually happy if I just bring my iPad because they can do so many things on it. They can play games, watch movies, and watch TV through the Dish Remote Access app. With the Sling Adapter hooked up to, my receiver the kids can access all our subscription channels live anywhere we can get a 3G or Wi-Fi connection. The kids love being able to watch all their favorite shows on the road. I am so glad a co-worker from Dish told me about this app because it keeps the kids quiet for hours. When they are napping, I use the iPad to read and catch up on shows.

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