Over the years, we have traveled a lot with the kids. Whether it be home to visit family or moving across the country, driving in a car with kids for hours and hours can be intimidating to say the least. I’ve found that most times it works out fine, but some days are a disaster!! I drove 21 hours home to Ohio six times while we lived in Texas. I once did it three times in a four-month period! Crazy? Maybe, but my family needed me and I needed my family, so off we went.
When we were moving to Texas and then traveling back home from Texas, I was still nursing. My husband was in the process of opening a restaurant and there was no way for him to come with us. Picture this; Stopping every three or four hours, then having to nurse the twins one at a time in the front seat of my car. It was far from glamorous, and I’m not sure how I didn’t have a nervous breakdown! Now that the twins are two and we are only 7 hours away from Ohio, traveling seems a little less daunting. Now I just have to deal with “Are we there yet?”, “He hit me”, “I’m hungry”, etc.
As we prepare for our spring break, I thought I’d share some tips for traveling with kids that I have learned along the way.
1. Pack early. If you are running around like a crazy person the day before you leave, you’ll probably be stressed when you leave and that’s not a good way to start. I’m mostly packed now, and we aren’t leaving until Friday afternoon.
2. If you are leaving early in the morning, load the car the night before. Again, this will lessen your stress when leaving. Pack snacks and drinks the night before so you can transfer them straight from the fridge to the car in the morning.
3. Leave at a time when your kids are not tired and crabby. I’ve found that it works best to leave really early, like 4 or 5am. The kids will quickly fall back asleep and you’ll have a few hours of quiet before the chaos ensues.
4. If you have to stop for the night, plan where you are going to do so ahead of time. It gives you something to look forward to, and you’ll have a goal. I recommend going more than half way on the first day. It makes the second day much easier!
5. Bring cash, even if there are no tolls. I learned this one the hard way. I once stopped for lunch in Arkansas, and the McDonald’s didn’t take debit cards. I felt like I was in the dark ages! It certainly wasn’t convenient to find an ATM out in the middle of nowhere.
6. Bring lots of toys and things for the kids to do. I bought portable DVD players that clip on to the back of the seats, and it was the best $70 I have ever spent!
And my number one tip is just go with the flow. Don’t plan to stop only when you need gas or only a certain amount of times, because it probably won’t happen. Don’t plan on getting somewhere at a certain time, because you will probably be late. I’m a planner, and the first few times I traveled I tried to keep myself to a schedule. It didn’t work, and it caused me to be stressed, which isn’t good for anyone!!
Until our next adventure,