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.
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.