Travel With Kids – How We Make It Happen!
Adventuring with The Wee Ones
Travel with kids,especially babies, toddlers and high energy older brothers (we have all 3), can be challenging!
If you are like us, you experience a myriad of emotions when faced with this prospect.
Joy, fear, excitement, helplessness, wonderment, panic, tension, overwhelming love & peace and so on.
I’ll admit that our first several trips
(by several I mean ALL) were the most challenging.
Some children handle it better than others.
We have 1 child who is ALWAYS pushing the envelope, and he is like a ticking time bomb, no matter the setting.
We have another child who will sit patiently for the car ride, and is happily satisfied once we reach our destination,
and they can get out and play.
No matter what, it helps to have a structure in place, and have a plan!
Our youngest two have been travelling & camping since a few weeks old, and we’ve found that it helps to apply certain tactics
to keep things running smoothly.
Below are 5 ways to make it easier to travel with kids!
At Least…5 Ways to (Hopefully) make it easier to travel with kids!
1. Food & Drink
This might seem like a no brainer,
but keeping the kids fed and happy
is so key to making sure the trip runs evenly.
We all get cranky when we’re hungry,
and it’s nice to know
that with a little bit of foresight and planning,
you can COMPLETELY AVOID THAT!
My game plan is to have a variety of healthy,
tasty snacks on hand -things that I
(the low sugar psycho mom)
can be OK giving them in mass quantity.
Into the cooler, I toss WATER!, fruit, nuts, granola bars, organic fruit snacks, etc.
I don’t want to have them extra sugared up in the backseat,
causing havoc, but I need them to not dip below the hungry line
into cranky and unbearable.
Trips are the time when I will also totally bribe them with treats that they don’t have on a daily basis.
Example: “If you can be quiet until we stop at the rest stop, I will give you donuts!”
If they are evenly fed and watered, the sugar won’t be as bad when it hits their system.
#1 does tie directly into #2, which is:
To keep their brain occupied (and your sanity intact),
kids need some sort of entertainment.
We have made it through until now,
WITHOUT much screen time.
Surprisingly, books, crayons, toys and such
have kept the kids (mostly) occupied.
We often go into areas that don’t have reliable cell signal,
so our logic is:
If they only have Netflix to hold their attention,
what happens when there is no signal?
I will add, though, that for our next big trip,
we are SO investing in portable DVD players!
That being said, one thing you can do to make the trip special
is to stop on the way out and buy each kid a toy for the trip.
My parents did this for us once, before a plane trip overseas.
My brother flushed my toy down the toilet, and that moment is seared into my memory!
It doesn’t have to be drastic.
Even if you have 9 kids,
a quick trip to the dollar store won’t break the bank!
Also directly attached to #1 & #2,
Firstly, most kids will benefit from a nice romp outdoors before the trip.
It doesn’t really matter how long or short the drive,
this is always helpful.
Some time at the playground, or a nice walk will suffice.
Of course, the longer the journey, the more you will have to get the kids out to play.
Their energy will build as you drive along,
and if you want it released constructively, stop and stretch and let it out!
There are tons of playgrounds, fields, and even cemeteries that you can stop at!
They are quiet, little to no traffic with wide open space.
*Also a good time to implement lessons on being respectful to property.
Additionally, if you are able, incorporate cool places of interest on the trip.
One of our sons has a keen amusement in historic military sites,
and I like to make a point to add stops at forts or monuments, for example.
It helps him to feel involved, and also serves as a teachable moment (Bonus!).
When I say “Gear”, I am using it as a very broad term.
While travelling with kids & babies,
you will need any and everything from strollers to sand toys.
From water shoes to snow boots.
Making sure you have the proper gear can really make the difference!
When the youngest were babies, and we NEEDED to go camping.
It would not have been possible without whatever gear was appropriate for their ages.
The babies needed carriers, the toddlers needed the strollers, and so on.
Example: Neither one of us is going to carry a baby in their 1st stage car seat
while hiking a mile long trail.
So, we make sure to have the ultra light weight,
‘takes up no space in the trunk’ carrier!
We slip our arms through, buckle a few buckles, and tuck the baby in.
Now, we can all walk the trail together.
Also, if the toddler can’t walk all that far, we tote along a stroller.
You get the idea.
If you plan to swim, bring water shoes, swim trunks & towels.
If you plan to stay overnight, bring the pack and plays, and so on.
Gear DOES take up space, and proper planning is required.
BUT, Imagine if you DIDN’T bring the such and such?
It will make the trip easier, and less of a nightmare!
I don’t know about you,
but I am a different person when I haven’t had enough sleep.
I know, life has a way of interjecting itself
and disrupting sleep patterns,
but if you can make sleep a priority for everyone going on the trip,
it may go a long way to making it much more enjoyable.
If you are able to adapt the aforementioned tips,
you should be able to make sleep more possible,
and there should be less skewing of schedules.
I have a fairly regular bedtime schedule with the baby and the toddler,
and travelling in any capacity can toss this aside, tornado style.
I am SO not having that, and it’s not fair to them, either.
We did 3 nights last summer at the local campground,
and I’d be darned if those kids weren’t in bed
as close to their normal time as possible!
So, I acted as if we were home.
After a day of running around and eating good food,
I made sure to walk the toddler to the showers at 7pm, his usual bath time.
He actually enjoyed the shower, and it was enough to tucker him out.
I put him in jammies, and when it was time,
packed him in his sleeping bag in the pack and play.
It didn’t totally go off without a hitch, but he was ultimately out like a light,
with little deviation.
The same with the baby in her rock and play (gear).
Thus, Eric and I were able to sleep, too, and all was well!
I believe the experience of seeing new places
and getting out is invaluable to children,
and the family as a unit.
I’ve been travelling and moving since I was a toddler,
and now, as an adult,
I have an almost insatiable wanderlust
that constantly propels me to find new adventures.
We want our kids to have an amazing childhood,
camping and fishing and being outdoors,
learning about history and nature,
but as the parents,
we don’t want to completely lose our s**t in the process.
While there are so many angles to travelling with kids,
and many, many more tips I could offer,
I hope these 5 can give you some direction, and hep you, too,
Travel With Kids!
Feel Free to Leave YOUR Hints, Tips & Comments Below!