Travelling with Children

I have claimed the title before as being the least travelled person in the world, and while there may be some truth to that, I do have experience when it comes to LONG car rides with children.  I may not have seen much of this old world but I am very familiar with the route from our home to Dave’s parents all 571 km of it.  We have made this trip a few times a year for 15 years now.  We started making the trip as a young married couple, only we lived near Dave’s family then and made our way East to see my family.  Over the years we have grown in numbers and almost 5 years ago we moved closer to my parents so now we make the same trip in reverse.

We have picked up some travelling tips along the way, that I’d love to share.

First if you are taking a road trip and it is at all possible avoid travelling on a long weekend and if you can travel mid-week you will have less traffic on the road and when you do make stops the service centres will be much emptier.

To make things go smoothly when travelling with children plan ahead as much as possible.  Brainstorm about the worst case scenario and then problem solve ahead of time.  If you have a young children that are potty training or have just trained, bring along a potty chair and the necessary items you’ll need.  You never know when a little one might need to go.   Do you have a child with high energy levels and the though of a 7 hour drive is terrifying?  Plan ahead, eat a breakfast that is low in sugar and other trigger foods,  have him or her run some laps to get the wiggles out before you set out.   Plan stops along the way, where they can run off some energy.  When we were travelling as kids in the summer my Dad would pull off the highway and find a school we’d have our lunch and play on the swings for a bit before hitting the road again.  You could do a google search for parks in the cities you’ll be passing for possible places to stop.

Food and drink, you can spend a small fortune on take out when travelling so pack as much as you can.  There are all sorts of drink boxes available today.  Maybe you all have your own water bottles, pack those.  If I can I love to take snacks that are not crumbly.  Grapes, Cheerios, cheese, raisins, wraps, my guys love kielbasa sausage cut in coins.  Bring wet wipes or some damp wash clothes in a Ziploc bag.  Pack a lunch, you’ll save lots of cash.

For years I would run around a few days before we’d go away making lists trying to remember everything I needed. Finally, I thought why do I write a list every time we go.  I finally made a Master Travel Check list.  You are welcome to print it out and use it too.  It is suited to our family and you may want to edit it, and make your own, but at least it gives you a starting place.

This past Christmas I decided to make the children their own travel bins.  I made some covered clip boards (I still need to post about the clip boards) with little draw string bags that had mini pencils in them.  The bins had a couple little surprises a drink and a few snacks, there was room for them to add a few of their favourite things to take on the trip.  The bins came from the dollar store along with the stickers for their names = affordable.

I found this cute vintage I spy game on-line  I printed it on card stock and then laminated it my children had a fun time playing I spy with each other.  Click on this image and you can print one out too.JSIM I Spy Fun sheet

I stay on the look out through the year for good travel games, over the years we have put a lot of miles on our vehicles but we have never travelled with portable DVD players or hand-held video games.  It is possible to have fun driving with little ones without these electronics.  We do have a CD player in the car and will often listen to music and stories as we travel.  Our children have made up a game called, ‘I have an animal,’ basically they think of an animal and the others guess what it is, in a similar style to 20 questions.  Hannah usually ends up telling everyone what her animal is but they have a lot of fun doing it.

If you have a bigger trip planned in the near future and are looking for tips on travelling as a family I have found a neat site that has all sorts of helpful hints for travelling as a family.  Go check out Family Travels on a Budget.  Hope this makes for stress-free travels!!

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