Monday, December 17, 2012

Travelin' Good Times

Photo credit left   Photo credit right

'Tis the season for holiday travel.  Now that I have kids travel plans are completely different.  We have to anticipate everything.  We went on a road trip with the girls a few months ago -  a short one - but I learned several things.

1. Have a master list.  As mom and mistress of my domain, it is my job to make sure everything gets packed.  I admit I am not as Superwoman as everyone thinks (shh don't tell).  A master list keeps me focused on the task at hand since trips can be a bit crazy anyways.  The list also helps delegate {for those of you who have older children}.  For example, Husband person, please entertain the kids until I am done.  I cross things off with a black marker when they are done.

2. Consider your audience.  By this I mean, who are you traveling with?  I travel with a husband, a 3 year old and a 1 year old.  I have to prepare the kids {mentally} that we are going on a trip.  That one is kind of simple, but I find it helps to do and do it a few days in advance.  Even kids don't like last minute changes and trips are a change in their routine.

3. Check the weather.  This sounds like common sense, but you don't want to forget.  Make sure you know what the weather will be like where you are and the areas where you will be traveling.  Also, check the weather for your final destination.  This may determine when you will leave and what clothes to pack.  Add these notes to your Master List.

4. Pack an emergency kit.  I sometimes get laughed at for this one, but to sound cliche, you just never know.  
  • A first aid kit - include scissors in the kit
  • A flashlight with fresh batteries
  • Extra blankets {in case the car breaks down somewhere cold}.
  • Do you have a towing service, either AAA or through your car insurance?  
  • Bring a car charger for your cell phone.  Maybe have an extra back-up battery for it.
  • Pack medications - any that you currently take or may need.  For example, for motion sickness, for fevers/colds, for pain, for bad belly.
  • Large zippered plastic bags {in case the motion sickness or bad belly meds don't work, if you get my drift}
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Write down important phone numbers, like auto and homeowners insurance, contact phone numbers, AAA if you have it.  This way if the electronics don't work, you have a back-up.
  • Bring change for tolls, an air machine to fill your tires with air, or even a pay phone {if you can find one}.
5. Check your car. Check your tire pressure, your fluids {oil, coolant, brake fluid, windshield fluid, etc.}, your gas level, your wipers, your headlights, your brake lights, your turn signals, your horn.  Bring an empty gas can or additional fluids, just in case.

6. Pick your travel time wisely.  Travel during rush hour stinks.  No one wants to do it on a daily basis, let alone during your vacation.  If at all possible, leave at night or early in the morning.  These times are usually coordinated with the times the kids sleep.  I find it's also more relaxing to travel at night.  We get more conversation in.

7. Pack entertainment.  If you do leave when the kids are awake, entertain them. 
  • Bring movies so they can watch them while traveling. 
  • For my 3 year old, I took a cookie sheet and put magnetic letters and anything else that would stick to it and periodically switched it around. 
  • For my 1 year old, I made sure to bring her favorite doll and her blanket.  This also helps with security.  She has something familiar with her. 
  • Bring {virtual or physical} books, crossword puzzles, Mad Libs, handheld video games (with plugs so not everyone else has to listen to it).
  • Play games like I Spy, Spot-A-Bug (look for VW Bugs).  We look for letters and colors in signs and license plates.  If your kids are older, you can look for letters all the way to Z.  The first one to reach Z, wins.
  • Count.... How many of an item can you find?  For my girls, it has to be simple because of their ages.
  • Learn geography and science.
  • Name that tune.
  • Notebooks and a pen or pencil so kids can journal their adventures and have as a keepsake.
8. Bring food and drink.  Inevitably, someone will want something to eat or drink.  This can also save some money on stopping to get food.  Use a collapsible cooler.  Pack things in see-through baggies or containers and label them.  You can also make something for each traveler and label it.  Bring plastic bags so you can collect any garbage.  When you stop, you can throw it out.  Also, bring disposable baby wipes, even if you don't have babies.  If they can clean a baby's bottom, they can clean just about any mess you make.
  • As a side note to this one: I bring my daughter's potty seat whenever we go somewhere - the one you put on the seat to make it small enough for a child.  I carry it in a backpack.  This makes it easier when using a public restroom.  I knew one mom who brought the actual potty and put it in the back of her SUV.  She said it helped with potty training continuity.
9. Bring a change of clothes. I know you have your bags packed and this seems redundant, but life happens.  Spills happen.  Leaks happen.  Weather changes.  Who wants to go looking through a suitcase in the middle of a trip?  It helps to be comfortable on a road trip.  Also, have a blanket on hand or a pillow and a towel.

10. Bring a good attitude.  Life will happen on a trip.  It will.  Some of it planned.  Some of it not.  A good attitude will determine your trip and it is contagious.  Family trips are meant to spend good quality time together.  As long as everyone is safe and sound, everything else can usually be resolved.

I hope this list helps you in your travel planning.  Have fun and be safe!

I love comments!

Review on


  1. Bringing snacks is the only way I can get through driving! haha ;-)

    1. Hi Jamie,
      AMEN! Good to know. My husband now asks me if I have my little cooler because he is so used to me bringing snacks whenever we leave the house. Thank you for your comments. Good to have you back.


  2. Following from the Thumping Thursdays Blog Hop! Great tips you have for traveling with kids. It seems like there is more things to pack.


    1. Hi Mandy,
      I had problems commenting on your blog, but I did follow you back. Thank you for joining us here on Thumping Thursdays.


    2. Hi Mandy,
      Sorry, I lost my train of thought. My daughter needed my attention in the middle of that comment.
      It seems like a lot of stuff to pack, but better to not need it and have it than to need it and not have it. Besides, I've learned that with kids anything can happen.


  3. Great tips! I'm used to traveling with my 3, but this will be the first time we're squeezed into a small car - a Ford Fiesta!! For 4 hours! They get grumpy on the school run... I love the cookie sheet idea. I may just have to use it.
    New follower from the hop! Thank you for hosting!

    1. Hi Tamara,
      Thank you for your lovely comments about the post. I hope the tips are useful to you, especially in a Ford Fiesta. Bless your heart.
      Thank you for joining our blog hop and becoming a member of our community.


  4. We are on the road right now! My kids are 11, 12 and 18! I didn't bring any baby wipes and boy do we need them. I don't think I have ever made a master list.... Too frazzled! Thank you for the follow and I look forward to reading more. Love that Bloggy moms site!

  5. Hi NaLonni,
    Bless you heart being on the road with your children. I hope you have lots of entertainment for those age groups. Those baby wipes sure do come in handy. If I didn't make a master list, I would forget so many things. I get frazzled without it.
    Thank you for stopping by and becoming a member of our community. I always appreciate it. That Bloggy Moms site rocks!
    Be safe on your trip.