Our family loves to travel. We travel a lot. Most of the time we choose to drive because flying is pretty pricey for a family of 4. Over the last 5 years, we’ve learned how to cope with that 8+ hour drive to some of our favorite destinations (and the short drives, too) without wanting to pull our hair out in the meantime. I am here to tell you it is possible to drive a family to Orlando and still want to experience the magic with them when you arrive!
Don’t let the looming task of travel with young children overwhelm you. Follow our simple tips, and you’ll have them groomed for that cross-country adventure you’ve been wanting to go on in no time (is that just us or does everyone have a Route 66 dream?)!
Tip #1: Bring the electronics. This is not the time to pretend you are the mom that doesn’t let her kids watch TV. Do not attempt to be brave. Veg them out with your portable DVD player, tablet, phone or other device or, if you are one of the lucky ones with a built-in DVD player in your car, use it. As they get older, it doesn’t hold as much entertainment value, so use it while you can!
Bonus: it can sometimes be used to lull them to sleep and/or help you tune out the noise if they have headphones!
Tip #2: Don’t pre-pack a bunch of snacks or drinks. Our experience with this issue has proven time and time again to be true: they don’t want the cute pretzel-cheese sticks you so lovingly packed with their organic juice drink.
My girls live for picking out some junk at the gas station when we make our first stop. I always end up with a bag of uneaten food that I have to throw out later. Unless you have a kid with allergies that needs specific snacks, let them indulge this one time in a Hershey bar and some Doritos. It won’t kill them. Or you.
Tip #3: Consider alternatives to electronics. Google some fun (free) printables from your favorite bloggers. Bring a bag of crayons and some blank paper. Consider reusable sticker books and other small toys that keep hands busy.
A friend recently gave us a Melissa & Doug Lace and Trace Bundle, which I had no idea would be so entertaining, and it has seriously given us 30 minutes of quiet concentration on recent travels.
Tip #4: Bring comfort items. Whatever your child’s comfort item is, make sure it is within reach. My girls don’t take regular naps anymore, but when we travel, they are more likely to take a little snooze in the car if we have a soft blanket and their favorite plush toy within arm’s reach.
There are probably many other tips out there that I could include in this post, so feel free to share your best tips with me if you have some! You can comment below or shout out a tip on my Facebook or Twitter pages.
Pin the image above so you can come back to these tips any time you like!