7+ things to avoid when traveling with kids

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tips for traveling with kids

Almost all of our vacations thus far, have been in the van with our kids.  So we have some advice on traveling with kids.  Or what you shouldn’t do, especially with toddlers.

Traveling from Michigan to Florida, Michigan to Pennsylvania and just all around Michigan.  I’ve learned a few things.

I think one of our first long trips was Michigan to Pennsylvania.  It was great.  They were young (1 1/2 is and 4ish).  They slept a lot.

We got brave and drove down to Florida when they were 3 and 5 1/2. It was a disaster.   Apparently kids don’t like 10 hour car rides. Or seatbelts, or not stopping but to eat and use the bathroom. We flew to Florida the next time.  Because it was so FUN.

Here things to avoid when traveling with kids

Drive long distances without stopping for breaks. I am so used to driving and not stopping.  With kids, you have to stop at EVERY rest area (or so it seems).  And not just to pee, but so they can stretch their legs and get rid some of that cooped up energy.  If you don’t, you will have WWF going on in the back seat while you try to get to your destination.

Forget to pack any snacks or drinks. Part of the reason they start hitting and crying and yelling is because they are hungry.  Packing a snack (or 70) would make it so you could drive a little longer.

Give your kids nothing to do while you drive.  You want to keep them busy so you could drive just a little bit further and keep them from crying or punching each other.

Think you can do anything but what they want when you get there.  Unless you can afford taking a sitter along with you, you will need to do all kid friendly things.  Eating at kid friendly restaurants. Sharing your food, cutting up their food.  It’s like at home, but without the comforts of home.

hands on at COSI Columbus Ohio

how to keep organized when on vacation

Get a hotel without a pool after promising they can go swimming.  Who doesn’t check the details of the hotel for a pool!?

Negotiate for good behavior with things.  Don’t offer to take them to X if they do Z.  It’s just not going to end well. Even at home. Ever.

What you planned is what will happen. You can have a ‘guideline’ of what you want to do, but unless your kids cooperate, what you planned, may not get done in one day, and you’ll need to do the rest the next day.

Bad Weather Activities.  Just because you are going on vacation, doesn’t mean it’s going to be sunny every day.  Make sure you research rainy day activities to do at your destination.  Staying in a hotel room as big as your kids bedroom ALL DAY with them, is not fun. Even at home.

See the local attractions.  This goes with doing anything but what they want.  We have went great distances, only to have them want to swim in the pool.  Sometimes, it’s just cheaper to stay at the local hotel or leaving the kids with family and taking a quiet vacation.

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  1. Regina! I love reading your post. It was so great to see someone else who loves Michigan just as much as i do. I think that Pure Michigan has so many wonderful places for people to visit, including trips for the families. I noticed that you had mentioned Traverse City. I love that place so much. Take a look at my blog and check out the eight different locations that i choose that people must check out when visiting Michigan! 🙂
    Kelly Whiteside

  2. Great Tips! When I was little we drove from NY to the Grand Canyon. My mom had a mini van and they took out the middle row of seats so there was just the row in the way back. In the middle we had big coolers with lots of drinks and snacks. Every few days my parents would stop at local store and get more sandwich meats and cheese and bread and we would just make sandwiches as we drove. Usually we ate breakfast at the hotel or a nearby restaraunt and dinner was usually out too but at least we saved money on lunch!

    1. Sounds like a great trip, such memories. Your mom was a great planner to include food! (so cost effective!)

  3. Traveling with kids can be fun and educational. But it can be stressful if you don’t prepare.

  4. Great tips and no matter how many times I think about things ahead of time, if I don’t write it down, I forget.

  5. Totally! All really good points–I will have to keep these in mind when we start a family!

  6. Would you believe we made an 8hr drive with a 7 month old in the car and no complaining? We did stop a few times – for mom and dad!

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