Traveling with kids: Part 1

With the start of summer right around the corner, more and more families will be thinking of packing up and heading out on an adventure.  Whether it is by car or plane, it is so fun to bring kids along and expose them to new places and experiences.

I often get asked how we travel with our daughter, especially on road trips.  Today I am sharing some tips to make those trips  a little easier and more enjoyable for everyone!

Start early!

We started taking our daughter on trips very early on.  I think this helped all of us get comfortable with it.

Don’t sweat the small stuff

Things aren’t always going to go perfectly and you may have to throw your usual routine out the window.  There will be some complaining/crying, later nights, and more stops, but as long as you have that in the back of your mind, it won’t be so bad.  On one of our first camping trips with our daughter, who was 1 at the time,  we tried to settle in for the night.  Our daughter, on the other hand, had a different plan!  She ran around the tent for a couple hours giggling.  She was so excited about sleeping in a tent and didn’t get to sleep until after 11pm.  That is one of those memories that we still talk about and laugh about to this day!

Get kids involved and be open minded

Ask your kids what they want to do on part of the trip.  Maybe it is as simple as playing games around the campfire or going to a park.  When you let them have a say, it helps foster their individuality and makes them feel like an important part of the family.

Keep snacks on hand

I wrote a previous post, here, about healthy road trip snacks to keep on hand.  My daughter can get very HANGRY!  Keeping snacks on hand is important for all of our sanity and helps us get a little further on our drives without stopping.

Make it fun!

We decided a long time ago to not rely on screens to keep our daughter occupied while traveling or eating out.  Instead we create a playlist of music she loves, let her pack her favorite little toys, and bring lots of coloring items along.  On our last drive across the country, I purchased a $4 lap desk from Michaels.  She colored for hours on end and used it to play games with her little toys.  It was really the best $4 I have ever spent!

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Lap desk from Michaels. Copyright Eclectically K & L 2018

We also played eye spy, looked for the letters of the alphabet on signs, role played, looked for different animals, and sang along to music.  Without the distraction of a device, we had so many funny and heartfelt conversations along the way.

Start a collection

We started collecting postcards for our daughter and on the back we write about all the things we did on that trip.  As she gets older, she has more input and it is fun to see what moments were her favorites.  She has quite the collection and we enjoy looking through them and reading about our adventures together!  We also like to collect a nature item from each spot.  Whether it is a rock, pine cone, or driftwood, we have a little something from all of our travels.

That’s it!  In the end, you know your child best.  Paying attention to their cues will help make trips smoother and more enjoyable for everyone.  All of our trips together have brought us closer, opened up our daughter’s communication, and created so many memories.  By being open to traveling with kids at an early at an early age, we have never felt like we couldn’t do a certain something.

Stay tuned for Part 2 next week where I will share our travel journal from our latest road trip!

Do you have any fun travel plans for this summer?  We would love to hear about your adventures in the comments below!

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