It’s that time of year again – vacation. I’m personally getting ready to be traveling out-of-state with kids and grandkids for an extended family reunion and checklists are on my mind.
Here’s a short list of tips from years of experience traveling in the car with children:
- First, reset your expectations that this is a vacation for you. It’s just Momming in another location.
- Be super generous in the time you give yourself to travel. Diaper blowouts, vomiting children, smaller kid bladders or just the need to run around all add to the time it takes to get to your destination. Account for it in your plans.
- Be flexible in your expectations for how the kids perceive the vacation – maybe the kids are not impressed with the hot springs in Yellowstone but they love the creepy spider web balls on the trees. Or maybe they really end up loving that one night where you sat around and told funny stories of your childhood, which you could have done at home.
- Have a plan for breaking up the monotony of the drive. When our children were younger, I went to the Dollar Store before the trip, grabbed a number of small items (toys and snacks), wrapped them, then gave them out at set intervals during the trip. We also try to plan time to stop at at least one or two wayside attractions. I mean, who doesn’t want to see the world’s largest rubber band ball?
- Create packing lists. I have generic lists on my computer that I can customize as needed. When my kids were younger, but still old enough to pack on their own, they’d get a list to help them remember to pack, say, underwear. I still double-checked their packing until they hit their teens because of the aforementioned underwear problem. I also use packing lists for myself – clothes, food for the trip, details to get taken care of before we leave (oil change for the car, etc). Even with lists, I always forget something, guaranteed. It’s usually pretty minor.
- If driving to your destination, get plenty of sleep the night before you go. Drowsy driving is as dangerous as drunk driving. Don’t risk it. (Of course, my strong feelings about this probably stem from being a newlywed, trying to drive all night, having my husband fall asleep at the wheel and rolling the car at 65 mph….)
- Have fun! Even if it’s a total disaster, you’ll be able to look back on it and laugh. Trust me on this one…..
I’d love to hear your tips – what works well for you??