For car trips, listening to music can grow tiresome. Car BINGO is a great distraction and helps to make the time pass by. This travel card is from iheartorganizing.blogspot.com, it’s also available here.
I absolutely loathe feeling like an in-flight air host when we are taking a road trip with the kids. Our boys are growing up (faster than I thought!) so this tip comes to me a bit late, but it’s perfect for young families. Repurposing a shoe bag organizer hung on the back of the front car seats serves as a simple organizer for everything your kids need on a road trip.
Air travel or car travel, it doesn’t matter – always, always have Ziploc baggies on hand. They are multi-purpose. From housing small toys, art supplies and a change of clothing to the mother of vomit bags. Trust me.
My mother-in-law is an old hand at long drives. My husband and his four brothers drove 18 hours each summer out to the family cottage on the east coast. That’s a lot of time in a car with five boys. My mother-in-law made the trip special for them by delivering a treat every hour, on the hour. Something small, like a comic book, a candy, a puzzle or a toy. I’ve added that tip to our travel tool kit now that we do the annual drive out east. Here are some of the things I’ve included: window markers, to draw on the car windows; harmonicas, because sometimes you just have to embrace the crazy; action figures, which then become part of the toy collection at the cottage; and invisible ink books, a relic from my husband’s childhood.
Really, though, I have to say that there is no substitute for Devices on long trips. I limit screen time at home, but on long drives, the kids can watch as many movies as they want. Here is our haul of devices from our trip to England last summer. Tools of the modern traveling family…
My goodness, Nathalie, that’s quite the photo.
Oh, am I on? Ah yes. Onto my tips. My tips for travelling. Yes, travelling tips… which I should have all lined up because I’m just about to leave on a 10 day trip with my family.
Except that I don’t, at least not anything practical that you haven’t thought of yourself. My tips are a bit more philosophical…
1. Keep your kids’ expectations low. I almost never remember to bring along activity books, gadgets or toys for the boys to play with while travelling or even to a restaurant. It can be a good idea, and I may try to execute this for our upcoming trip now that Beth-Anne and Nathalie have reminded me of the merits. But my kids are used to being without entertainment (except for music and parental merriment) in the car for a few hours. It’s usually fine. (I’d try harder for a longer car trip, but then again, I’d try to avoid a longer car trip.)
2. Keep your eyes trained on fellow travellers who are kind towards child travellers and their parents, especially on planes. Berate and then forgive yourself for being the other sort in your pre-parent days. Help your children to behave well and be respectful of others, but take little notice of the people who seem peeved just to have a little person in their midst. I’ve met so many lovely and understanding people on my travels with children, that this isn’t hard to do.