We try to travel as a family at least once a year. It doesn’t have to be an extravagant vacation. In fact, one year we even did a staycation. Our focus is on spending time together and experiencing things we wouldn’t in our everyday lives.
Traveling with kids might sound like some form of punishment, but I promise it is really rewarding and makes a trip that much more special. I think it’s important to expose the kids to new places, cultures, and events and to make memories with the ones I love.
Make traveling with your kids easy with these simple tips!
- Take Your Time. Plan on taking lots of breaks and don’t stress about how long it’s taking to get there. Factor in extra time when determining when to leave. We always assume it’ll take at least two extra hours when driving anywhere. It might seem like a lot, but usually we end up at our destination ‘early.’
- Find out expectations. Talk to each kid and find out what they’d like to do on this trip. Know what you are willing to do (and know what is offered at the location you are traveling to) and present options, like visiting a local museum or attending a local festival.
- Bring Stuff from Home. Home is comforting. Let kids pick a couple items to bring with them to help soothe the anxiety and excitement of travel. Some favorites for us are a stuffed animal, a blanket, and a book.
- Have Snacks. My kids are constantly asking for snacks at home, and road trips are no different. Last time, I loaded up a basket full of snacks and let everyone know what to expect. Every hour I would be giving out snacks. There was no need to ask for a snack; they would be offered one when it was time. I let them pick which snack they each wanted when the time came.
- Travel at Night. If you are able to travel at night, do it. Kids will likely sleep through most of the trip and it’ll cut down on stops and whining.
- Bring Distractions. If you can’t travel at night or your kiddos just aren’t sleeping bust out a bag ‘o fun. I pick up new, inexpensive toys to present on a road trip. The novelty of the new toy usually buys me at least an hour. We love Etch a Sketch-type toys (no mess) and games like I Spy.
- Offer Rewards. Each hour offer some form of a reward (we use money that can be used for souvenirs). If the kids behaved for the hour, we reward them with money. For us, behaving consists of not touching each other and no crying. Most of our kids are five and under.
With six people in her family and only one income to support them all, Arizona blogger Nicole Ramirez knows all about creating the good life for less. When she isn’t busy traveling, shopping, or going out on date nights with her husband, she blogs about finding the good life on a budget at http://lovinglifeandlivingonless.com/.