We do a fair amount of traveling in our family. (True story: when Hubs visited his brother last month, he was informed that he needed an intervention because he took too many trips.) In any case, since our travels have included at least one offspring for the last 25 years, I’ve figured out a few tips and tricks to help make the process easier. In no particular order:
- Base your pace at that of the weakest link – by which I mean, the person who is youngest/not feeling well/most in need of a nap. A little grumpiness and out-of-sortness can usually be worked around, but it’s a lot harder to keep everyone going and still enjoying being together when someone is desperately exhausted or coming down with a cold.
- Before you leave, pick up a few surprise treats and little toys and tuck them into your purse to pull out when needed.
- You can make a handy-dandy toothbrush holder with a paper cup.
- Travel – with all of the time changes and crowds and periods of enforced sitting (hello, airplanes) and differences in climate and weird tasting water and all those other things you must deal with – can be exhausting. Do not expect to hit the ground running. Give yourself lots of down time, especially in the first day or two.
- If your kiddo wants to play with Legos or other small toys in an airport or restaurant – say, because that’s the place where you realized you needed to pull out one of those emergency gifts you packed – a take-out container makes a great impromptu holder.
- A light backpack works better than a purse.
- A fabric pencil case makes a great travel first aid kit – just the right size for some Spongebob Band-Aids, travel containers of adult & kid ibuprofin, wipes & hand sanitizer, and a roll of Tums.
- There will come a time when, no matter how delicious the local cuisine, someone is going to need McDonald’s. Roll with it.
- No matter how magical the kingdom you’re visiting, or how grand the canyon (One son’s famous response: “Yeah, yeah. Big hole in the ground. Can we go now?”), the kids’ favorite part of the trip will be (a) watching Spongebob in the room, and (b) the hotel pool. Accept this, build in lots of time for these activities, and the vacation will be a LOT more enjoyable for everyone involved.