Are you beginning the process of planning the family road trip? Thought you might like a few tips to ease the pain and pressure of the perfect trip. Is there any such thing? No adventure is without it’s challenges. Plan what you can and enjoy the ride.
– Set realistic expectations for the ages of your children. Do your children travel well outside of their normal sleeping schedule? Are you driving or flying? In either instance, don’t set your set up for failure trying to force a departure time that will result in a major meltdown. Our three younger children are now 4 and 3. We have a bit more flexibility than we did just six months ago. We can now leave after dinner in our PJs and everyone can go to sleep. This time last year would have been a miserable drive with another day of crankiness, trying to get back on schedule.
– You still have to travel to get to your destination but think your timing through carefully. Take snacks that aren’t too messy. We love applesauce in the squeeze pouches, mini bagels, organic gummy fruit snacks and a small cooler in the car with milk. We pack all the favorite movies and my kids take turns choosing what movie is next. We time our drive by the number of movies it takes to get from point A to point B. Also important, is stopping for the potty break. If you are not a fan of fast food or gas station restrooms, try the limited service hotels. There is always a restroom in the lobby and a friendly clerk happy to allow you to use the facilities.
– Choose your hotel wisely. My husband and I when traveling alone, rare though it may be these days, prefer a much different hotel experience. If we are celebrating time alone, the Ritz is a great choice; however $36 for Mac and Cheese is a bit hard to swallow. We now look for properties that cater to families. Do they offer continental breakfast, DVD players, or kids’s activities? Does the room have a fridge or microwave? Do they offer an indoor pool? We often bring our own blowup beds in lieu of roll away beds. Our kids think they are having the best camping experience ever. They get to go to breakfast in their PJs and if we choose a room with a dividing wall we can still watch TV after their bedtime.
– Pack with a purpose. Choose outfits that can be switched around if something gets dirty. Try to avoid jeans as they are difficult to spot clean and very challenging to dry. A detergent pen is nice for treating stains without a washing machine. Make sure and pack meds that you may need. You don’t want to search for an all night CVS for Tylenol. We never leave home without our nebulizer. One trip to the ER over Thanksgiving and we have our own machine. Most importantly, pack a few of their favorite things. Night light, blanket and a few toys without too many pieces. We pack a back pack for each child. They can choose with a little manipulation from Mom and Dad what items travel well. Coloring books, Leapsters, superhero/dolls, Ipods or whatever will bring a bit of home and comfort with you .
Most of all HAVE FUN! Next year will be a different experience. It has been for us every time, especially with kids from ages 13 to 3.
If you have any travel needs please feel free to contact me. I would love to help. Disney special for this month is a free dining plan if purchased by May for late August and September.
Please share any great ideas from your travel experiences as well.