Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Traveling with Kids.

So here's my disclaimer. I am not a traveling pro. I am not an expert. We don't travel long distances often. BUT. I have traveled with our kids in the car a good bit. I traveled every other weekend as a kid between parents' houses. I am lazy and I want things to be easy. I am also a notorious over-packer. Sue me. Finally, these travel tips are ONLY for the car. I have never taken our kids on a plane. James may not even know that he could actually get into an airplane to fly. Who knows. Just tips for traveling with little ones in the car.

1. Dress kids comfortably.

This is a biggie for me. I HATE realizing I'm in uncomfortable clothes while I'm in the car. I love to travel in the evening because stopping is at a minimum and I can throw on leggings and a long tee-shirt and be perfectly fine. If we're traveling at night, I dress my kids in pajamas. They're comfy cozy, not too warm, not too cool. Perfect. Otherwise, the boys wear shorts and a t-shirt. Shoes come off. They have a wubbie. Carseats look horribly uncomfortable, so we do what we can to make them more comfortable. {That said, I am a HUGE carseat advocate. You will not find my children out of carseats before they're supposed to be.}

2. Bring your kids' lovies (or portable versions of their loves) and have them close at hand.

James' "big wubbie" is his favorite, but I typically only give him a porta-wubbie on a trip. The exception is if we're traveling at night and I really want him to go to bed rather than just take a quick nap. Will sleeps with a small wubbie (the size of James' porta-wubbie), a pacifier, and his puppy dog. All three are small enough to hold in his carseat comfortably.

3. Have snacks and drinks at the ready.

Will is still on a bottle and baby food for the most part. He does eat table food at home, but when we're traveling I want to be sure we don't have any gagging and choking issues while we're riding. I usually feed him not long before we leave and then have a bottle ready for later in a bottle cooler. {We have since transitioned off the bottle. He eats before we leave now and if we make a pit stop he gets a sippy and a meal.} I also pack plenty of the squeezable baby foods. Thanks to watching Big Brother, he knows how to suck them so we don't have to worry about a bowl and spoon on the go. I also pack things like Puffs for him to snack on and pack him a water cup, but I don't give him those unless it's a dire emergency.

James typically has a cup of water handy. He IS potty trained and during the day he'll ride in undies so this does cause us to have to stop a bit more frequently. At night we put a pull up on him so he'll stay dry. I pack snacks for him, too (goldfish, pretzels, etc.), but I hold onto them unless we really need a distraction. {To and from Disney I didn't give him a cup and he made it ALL THE WAY to Orlando from Tifton without stopping and in undies. I think we put him in a pull-up on the way back but he was worn out and I knew he'd sleep a bit.}

4. Entertainment.

Having grown up riding a good bit in the car, I am a proponent of car entertainment. I definitely understand wanting to spend time in the car as family time (Lauren blogged all about their car trip to Texas with a two year old and a three month old and no electronics), but I am all for a quiet car ride where I can sit and read a book. It just comes from spending a LOT of time on the road as a kid. James gets a DVD player in our car for trips over two hours (because grandparents in Atlanta are right at two hours away and grandparents in Tifton are just over one hour away - we want him to nap instead of watch on the way to their houses!). He also has his "iPad" which is a Leapfrog Explorer and my iPad lots of games. Typically, he just wants to watch tv. That's quite alright with me.

5. Car Bags.

Going right along with car entertainment are my kids car bags. This is probably the biggest lifesaver for me when we ride. Each kid has a bag that goes in front of their seat. (I bought bags from 31 - I think they're the utility bags but I didn't look to see...) James' bag has an assortment of DVDs, the cords FOR the DVD player, his iPad, books, his wubbie, an extra pull-up, and his snacks. Will's bag has diapers, wipes, babyfood pouches, snacks, toys, his wubbie, puppy, and a HUGE bag of pacifiers because his favorite car entertainment is the pacifier-fling. My own car bag has a huge stack of books and my Kindle, along with my clip-on book light so that I don't have to use the overhead light. Basically, anything that I anticipate us needing that I wouldn't want to have to stop the car to get will go into the car bag. They are FANTASTIC. I pack them all up just like I would regular luggage and they get put into the car as we hit the road.

Those are my five favorite car tips. I have ZERO hotel tips because I break all the rules when we're in beds in new places. My kids have almost always slept WITH us on trips because then they're not crying in a new place and disturbing anyone. James has gotten better with age {obviously} but he still wants to sleep with someone. Will just stands in his pack 'n play and screams until we get him and put him in bed with us. Unless my kids are in their own, quiet rooms they just don't want to sleep alone. :)

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