Tuesday, February 12, 2013

How to travel with kids

Oh, home sweet home.  I mentioned yesterday that we are finally home.  Can I say it again?  WE ARE HOME!

You might not know this, but we decided to drive to Las Vegas for our trip.  Yes, we drove.  With two kids.  For 23 1/2 hours there and 20 hours home.  And we drove straight through.  

We are crazy right?  


You want to know how we did it?  Let me tell you.

Clothing.  On our way to Las Vegas, I dressed the kids in warm pjs, fuzzy socks, long sleeve shirts and stuffed them with blankets.  This of couse, was ridiculous the second we got into California.  We suffered a few melt downs in California because Lucy was sweating, uncomfortable and hot.  Dexter also had a couple melt downs.  On our way back, I dressed them in lighter clothing, light shirts, cloth pants and I just let them stay barefoot.  And you know what?  We had fewer melt downs.  We even made it back in 3 hours earlier than we had planned.  

Toys.  I didn't really pack many toys.  They didn't really play with anything I did pack.  I am glad I didn't pack more or less.  Niether of my kids have favorite toys either, never had, otherwise I would have packed those.  They are also not particular to any toys, so had I bought them a new toy for the road, it wouldn't really have helped or done anything to ease the pain of a 20 hour car ride.  

Electronics.  Let me explain to you the beauty of the iPad.  We loaded it up with movies and a few games and let Lucy loose with it.  I used to be anti DVD players in the car on road trips because I remember back in the day when I would be on road trips with my dad and we would sing songs and talk, etc.  But there were also times when we would all be silent and I would read and my brother would play his gameboy or whatever.  We have times when we all talk about our life dreams, but, when we get to hour 4, movies are nice.  Even for myself, it's nice to turn netflix on on my phone and relax.

Snacks.  I over pack on snacks.   I would rather have too much food than not enough.  Food is something I can always count on my kids needing, wanting and loving.  My kids love food more than toys.  Weird right?  So I made sure I took a visit by Trader Joes before we left (which reminds me, I forgot to get my favorite sweet potato chips today).  I loaded up on dehydrated mangos, beef jerky, banana chips, apple crisps and nacho chips.  Variety is the key.  Variety means we don't have to stop in between bathroom stops.  

Nighttime.  When we left, it was too late.  Matt didn't get back from a business trip until 11pm on Friday and we left from picking him up from the airport.  Lucy wouldn't go to sleep at the point because she was so amped up.  Because of that, Dexter hd to stay up to see what was going on.  And of course because the kids weren't sleeping, that meant I didn't get any sleep.  When we left Las Vegas, we took off in the late afternoon.  This gave them time to blow off steam, let them sing, talk, squirm, tell us about how much they would miss Las Vegas and how excited they were to get home to their friends.  Around 8, which is bed time, they were tired and conking out.  While they were sleeping, we had the whole night without stops.  

Patience.  We knew getting into that trip that it was going to be rough.  We knew that spending 20 plus hours in the car was going to be ridiculous.  When the kids got restless, we just took a deep breath and searched for the next exit.  We took our time with them instead of possibly getting frustrated and losing our tempers.  We also remembered this for each other too.  It's easy to rip each other's faces off when spending so much time in the car together.  But, thanks go Siri, Matt doesn't have to rely on me for directions which is always our source of face ripping.  For the record, I give great directions, Matt just doesn't listen (and I hope he's not reading).

And that is how we made it to Las Vegas and back, driving straight through, with a 1 year old and an almost 5 year old.  

Do you have any tips to add?

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  1. Once the kids get their driver's license, then U can let them do the driving......Then learn how to sleep with your eyes open and U are fine!!!.......They'll think U are awake, but U will get lots of rest.........

  2. Well Louie and Red just emailed me and they had their own strategies for dealing with cranky parents...."Just look Cute!!!"

  3. Dad, remember that road trip where I was driving and you fell asleep but woke up because you had that nightmare that the car was over heating and then about 20 minutes later the radiator hose broke?

    longest driveway ever.


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