A trip with the family can be lots of fun - or a migraine in the making - depending on how you plan and what you pack. We have some tips to make sure your travels are on the terrific side instead of the terrible.
Tip number 1:
Pack a backpack for each child. Make sure it’s a size they can carry on their own and can fit their favorite two or three toys. Even a coloring book and crayons can do wonders to whittle down the hours stuck in a car or waiting in an airport. Put in a couple snacks and their favorite drink. If they’re carrying a videogame, make sure you pack that charger and/or extra batteries.
Tip number 2:
Hit the dollar store for presents along the way. If your kids are like mine, it may not take long before the “how much longer?” refrain begins. Well, we like to mark off the hours with an inexpensive toy every hour of the drive (think dollar store items here). So, if you have an eight hour trip, pack eight little items that you gift wrap before you go. Every time an hour passes the child gets a new surprise.
Tip number 3:
Pack the cookie sheet. That’s right, the cookie sheet. But make sure it’s the magnetic kind. You won’t be making cookies on the trip, but you can use it as a nice level surface for the kids to write on, or you can bring some of those magnetic letters and use them to play on the cookie sheet, or make it the perfect puzzle putting-together surface (especially if it has a little lip around the sides to catch those pieces as you take a curve).
Tip number 4:
Pack the power strip. This is especially important if you’re flying on your trip. Nothing is worse than getting to your gate and needing to power up, but finding no empty outlets. If you just bring a power strip several people can plug in (making you a very popular passenger!), and you won’t have to feel guilty for plugging in a game boy when the guy beside you really needs to recharge his cell phone.
Tip number 5:
Take a snap shot with your cell phone camera of your parking space. Whether you’re parking at an airport or amusement park, there’s nothing worse than trying to find that vehicle after all the fun and drawing a blank on what space you picked when you first arrived. If you have two tired toddlers, the last thing you want to do is drag them around an endless parking lot searching for the spot where you picked your car hours or even days before.
A final tip:
No matter what happens on the trip, whether it’s flight delays or a flat tire on the road, remember that your children will take their cue from you. If you treat it as part of the adventure, they will, too.