Since having two children, the idea of flying to a faraway place is daunting. We have flown with our son, who is now four, a few times. We all survived. When he was two, we traveled to New York and even though all went well, I had mini panic attacks for weeks before our departure. I wanted to pack light, but still have everything I might need. Anticipating every possible situation makes my brain hurt.
Since having our daughter, we haven’t flown yet. I know the day will come, but I’ll be honest, I’m scared. I don’t want to relive the time my toddler’s apple juice spilled directly into the woman’s purse behind us. Yes, that happened. No, we didn’t become friends and laugh about it. I’m pretty sure we ruined that lady’s day.
Traveling with kids is not easy. I completely empathize with crying babies on airplanes. I mean, who likes the sound of a wailing child? Now, however, I don’t only sympathize with the baby, but I really feel for the parents who I know are sweating and stressing out on the inside. We’ve all been there, whether it’s at the grocery store, the post office, or an airplane.
This summer, we’re taking the easy route by road tripping it. After a few hours in the car, we will vacation at a lake where there is sure to be sun, sand, and water. But even a road trip takes planning, right? Last summer we took a mighty long drive that lasted twelve hours. Yes, TWELVE hours. There might have been a diaper blow-out and a few unexpected stops, but overall it was a successful endeavor.
If you are road tripping anywhere this summer, here are some tips that I live by anytime we’re in the car more than two hours:
- Try to time your drive so that it overlaps with naptime. This isn’t always possible, I know, but if it is, it makes the drive go by so much faster for your little ones. Plus, a little quiet time never hurt Mommy and Daddy, either.
- Bring drinks and snacks! I usually have water and some healthy options for the kids while we’re traveling. Simple things like Cheerios, crackers, blueberries, applesauce, or string cheese are great and not too messy.
- Always have garbage bags and wipes or paper towels at the ready. These are so useful for so many reasons and your backseat will thank you.
- Play games that involve finding letters or numbers on road signs. We have done this game in countless ways. For example, “Find the numbers one through ten in order” or “Find the letters of your name” or for a really long game, “Find letters A through Z” on signs you see as you are driving.
Wherever your travels take you this summer, try to enjoy the journey and not just your arrival. With a little forethought, you can make driving fun and memorable for your kids. I promise!