Traveling with kids is never easy. Sometimes it’s nearly unbearable. The only thing that seems to make it worthwhile is knowing that, eventually, there’s a destination that marks the end of the trip and finally eliminates the endless refrain of “are we there yet?”.
Thankfully there are some ways to help make trips (a little bit) more tolerable. However, unless your plan includes pediatrician-approved doses of Benadryl, it usually requires a little bit of work on your part. Here are some suggestions for surviving the family trip:
If you’re driving:
Road trips have unique considerations that can make them difficult. The car is cramped, it takes longer, and access to the bathroom can be difficult. Making sure to have on hand various games and activities can be a life saver. If you have the ability to have internet in the car, whether it’s via WiFi Hotspot or your cell phone, it’s a worthy investment even if you only pay for a single month. Little kids can enjoy their favorite kid-friendly cartoons or e-learning activities during the ride and it helps to have movies pre-planned for the trip. For older children, an online quiz creator can be used to create fun tests or quizzes before the trip and children can be rewarded for performing well.
Having enough healthy (and unhealthy) snacks on board is a must. You’ll be stopping enough with bathroom breaks (unless you’re someone who is ok with using a portable family urinal) and you better believe leaving the house without a supply of snacks will become a regret a few miles down the road.
Road trips are a great opportunity to have fun with the kids but you need to be prepared. We have a family road trip coming up and while we’re grateful it’s only 10 hours, you’d better believe we’re going to be ready.
If you’re flying:
Flying brings with it another set of challenges as you must manage kids through airport parking, transportation and security…and that’s before you even get on the plane. Many of the same activities that apply in the car can be used on the plane, but it’s also important to prepare younger children for what to expect while flying.
Preparing the kids for their ears popping, for being in an enclosed space and for the noise can be a lifesaver. One of our kids has mild sensory processing issues so we made sure to have things that made her feel safe and secure during the flight, just in case. Preparing her beforehand was very important and it allowed the trip to go well. For our other child, just the opportunity to be around the planes, seeing them takeoff and land, etc. was worth the trip. We brought a couple of airplane books with us and it certainly helped.
The bottom line is that family trips don’t have to be something to dread. With these trips, as in life, often the journey is as important as the destination if you can appreciate the little things.