Thursday, August 11, 2011

Last Minute Summer Travels

Trying to get in one last trip before schools starts?  I know we've been juggling life & travels for a while now.  It feels like we've lived out of the car and out of suitcases for most of the summer...and most of the summers and holidays before this one too.  Most of the time, I'm driving 7-9 hours in a car by myself, with two screaming kids.  I've found a few ways to keep the peace and thought I'd share a few tips.  I hope it makes your last "farewell to summer" trip go smoothly as well!

Tip 1:  Plan ahead to avoid down time. 

Books are a good place to start.  Here's a few of my favorites with photos from
Available at your local library, bookstore, or to find this on Amazon, click HERE.

Great for the under 12 crowd, available on Amazon HERE
These "Fun For The Family" Guides are essential for day-trippers.  Just do an Amazon search using the words, followed by your state or location you want to go to.  **My personal favorite!!

Know where you're going, if there are cool stops along the way, and what to do once you're there.  Nothing kills a trip like "down time" for my family.  "Down time" means the parents are brain dead for on-the-spot ideas which leads the kids to whining, grumbling, claims of boredom, all followed by arguing and fighting over where to go next. Down time must be prevented at all costs.

Tip 2: Pack It Yo'Self, Kid!

Your kids need their own suitcase, backpack, travel doc kit, sleeping bag, pillow and blanket.

Photos from
One year for Christmas, my kids each got their own suitcase, backpack, and lunch kit.  They're all matchy matchy and personalized, and my son has used his for 4 years now.  That's $$ well spent, if you ask me. The backpack & lunch kit have been used for school, but also double as "doc kits" for toiletries and medicines when we travel.  The kids are responsible for packing each of their own.  The backpacks are for toys only.  Only what fits and zips nicely inside, are allowed.  A blanket, stuffed toy, and lovey are usually tucked inside pillowcases.  Two lovies only!  Max!  It's a rule, otherwise my kids would pack 50 stuffed animals for trips.

For the suitcase, 4-5 outfits max and only 2-3 pair of pjs!  Even though we usually travel for a minimum of 7 days at time, and yes, I know kids go through 3 outfits a day....4-5, max!  Really, where do you ever travel that you can't find access to a laundromat!?  For the boys, tees & shorts.  Sundresses for the girls, less to pack.  Pack a pair of crocs for each.  They go with everything and can get wet and be washed off.  What else could you need!?

My favorite luggage for kids sites to go to are:

Tip 3: U Pick, I Pick - What to Put in the Backpacks

I always pick edu-ma-cation-al items, like the great products below.  I also throw in a few dry erase boards, markers, crayons, and movies to save my sanity.  The kids throw in ipods, dsi's and leapsters.  Hey, I try.  Besides, I don't mind the electronics and I've learned that instead of making them use their's better that I swipe their headphones and blare my own ipod into my ears as loud as safely possible.  That way, 4-5 hours into the trip, I can tune out the sibling arguing going on in the back seat.  If I can't hear it, it can't drive me crazy.  It's my "tired of nagging at them" and "it's best to let kids work these things out themselves" parenting technique.  Don't judge. 


Happy travels!

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