Travel with Kids Tips
So you’re getting ready to take a trip. Going on vacations can be a lot of fun but sometimes the trip there can be stressful with kids. I recently took a trip to Washington, D.C. with my family. I am a big fan of road trips so because of this and the fact that driving to your vacation destination can save some money, we decided to drive. I have an 8 year old daughter, so I decided to do some research to find things that could make the trip go as smoothly as possible and keep her entertained for the 7 hours drive. I came up with some really great activities and believe me they kept her entertained.
The first thing I did was go on google and look up places where I could download some free printable games. The best place for these I found was MomsMiniVan.com. They have a large variety of printable games for free and all different catergories to choose from. I especailly liked their battleship game. I made a few adjustments to their Battleship grid to make it easier for my daughter to keep track of her boats. I found quite a few games that can be played multiple times without becoming boring. Instead of printing out multiple pages of the same games what I decided to do was to take report covers/ sheet protectors and slip the games insisde. This way instead of using them one time and throwing them out, they could be used over and over again with dry erase markers. When we were done with the game we would erase and have new sheets. This is also nice because if a mistake was made it could be erased easily.
Kids also like to help and feel like they are doing something important so another good idea, especially if you are driving, is to go to a site like MapQuest to print out some driving directions with a map your kids can keep track of. This ends up serving two puposes, they can help tell you when you are going to be approaching exits and they can keep track of how far you have gone and how much you have left until you reach your destination. For multi-day trips, make sure you mark on their map where you plan on stopping for the day. If you are flying instead of driving, you can also give your child(ren) a copy of your flight information with your estimated time of arrival. Have them help you out finding your gate at the airport.
For a car trip I found a lap table at Family Dollar that was great. It fits right over their lap, and has compartments that can hold pens, crayons, markers & coloring books. They also have an area to place drinks so they don’t spill. This provides a great space for them to play games, write, draw or color. Make sure you have a little cooler for drinks and snacks. This way you don’t need to stop as often and it helps save some money by not having to stop at travel plazas for food which generally costs more there than anywhere else. Also a child who is not hungry tends to be a happier child so this helps save some of your sanity as well! Snacks that are easy to eat on the go can be the best, for example, cereal bars, crackers, peanuts and granola bars. Try to find drinks that have caps to help avoid spills. Always remember that since you are traveling with children that you do need to make stops so they can get out, stretch their legs and use the rest room. On our trip we made the plan to stop every 2 hours so my daughter wouldn’t get too restless.
Another great idea is to pack a bag with little toys as rewards for good behavior. They don’t have to be anything expensive, little toys like party favors do the trick. Make sure your child(ren) don’t see these toys ahead of time. To make it even more fun for them wrap them up. Then set a time, say every hour or 2, that they are good give them a toy from the bag. It gives them a great incentive to behave and something new they can play with. If your child(ren) are old enough, let them pack a car bag. Have them put in some toys, books, coloring books, crayons, stuff they really like. Give them the bag ahead of time so then they know how much to bring. If you have them bring their favorite things, chances are they will be happy.
If you plan on taking a multi-day trip, borrow or buy a small portable DVD player. We decided to leave early in the morning. For one thing, it helped us avoid traffic. For another my daughter did get tired and decided to take a nap. This can really help destress your trip. Bring a travel pillow and blanket for your child to use in case they get sleepy. I was very surprised when we arrived at our destination. I was happy, my daughter was happy and there had been no complaining or stress involved. We had a great time thanks to a little ingenuity and planning! If you follow these tips, I’m sure you will have a great time too!
Thanks to Tiffany Borek for these travel with kids tips!
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Topic: Travel with Kids Tips