Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Guest Blogger: Traveling With Kids

On my search for useful information, I have come across some really great moms who can offer a lot of fantastic advice. Here is our first installment of guest bloggers, featuring my sister, Stephanie Kreger. She is the mom of 2 of the cutest girls alive (I may be biased) and is expecting her 3 child (a boy!) in late November. She and her husband currently live in Findlay, Ohio, and she has some great advice on not only traveling with children, but how to make living far away from your family more doable. Here are some of her tips!

Having lived across the country from family for the last 5 years, we have picked up a few “tricks of the trade” when it comes to traveling with children. Whether by airplane or car, there are some definite helpful hints we have learned, some the hard way, that make the experience significantly easier and more enjoyable for everyone.

Our top 5 tips for traveling with children:
#1- Thankfully, our kids sleep wonderfully in the car. Because of this, we try to plan much of the road trip to take place while they sleep.  We drive during naptime, and my night-owl husband drives late into the night to make for a much less “eventful” trip.  The opposite has proved to be true for airplane travel, however.  With the excitement of being in an airplane, they rarely fall asleep and then we are left with cranky children in a confined, shared space.  In that case, I think it’s safe to say that the other passengers prefer our children to be well rested.

#2- A few days before our trip, we like to take the kids to our local Dollar Store and give them each $5 to pick out activities for the trip.  Dollar stores are great places for books, puzzles, glow sticks, and coloring books. They know that as soon as we leave the store, they won’t see them again until we are buckled in and on the road and that gives them something to look forward to.  While they may have these things sitting around at home, the novelty of something new and different keeps their attention for much longer and at Dollar Store prices, it’s completely worth it.

#3- For potty trained kids, when we stop to get gas, there is no option but to go potty. For obvious reasons, if they don’t, it makes for a very long trip full of stop after stop.  As my ever so eloquent husband says, “Pee when you can, not when you have to!”

#4- This seems so obvious, but never underestimate the value of a good quality portable DVD player! This has saved us so many times. In addition, an external battery is worth every penny and will give you hours more video time. We usually let each kid pick out a few movies and depending on the movies chosen, headphones. That is, unless you enjoy Disney Princess Sing Alongs!

#5- After getting really tired of digging for dropped crayons, I bought a small suctioning basket, like the one found here:

We put them on the windows next to their seats and it almost completely eliminated the missing crayon searches!  The first time we tried this, however, was during a 17 hour road trip in August.  I didn’t think to take the crayons out of the car when we arrived and were left with a colorfully waxy mess! If you are like me and marathon sprint out of the car as soon as it is parked, colored pencils might be a better route.

When we combine all of these ideas, the trip always goes so much more smoothly and 9 times out of 10 we are all still speaking when it’s over :)

Good luck and safe travels!