Friday, June 10, 2011

Traveling with kiddos

Our recent family vacation was too jam packed to fit into one post, so we will break it down into categories to write about the different places we visited. But before we get to that, as I upload our many photos to winkflash, I wanted to write a bit about traveling with young kids, and how that part of the adventure went.

Starting off, we had a 2 day road trip to SC with an overnight stop in Virginia. Then after a few days in SC, a day in the car back to VA, and the following day to PA for another few days at a B&B. On the final leg of the trip we went from PA (stopping in CT for our niece's birthday party) and back to NH. Yes, this was a bit of a challenge with a 6 year-old and 2 year-old. We didn’t wind up bringing a DVD player for the car ride and we actually survived.  We listened to CDs of their favorite band, the Imagination Movers (thank you guys for the sanity!) I cannot recommend this group highly enough, they are the real deal. Jacob knew a couple of their songs but this trip got him acquainted with their catalog, lol. I am hoping W is still into them as much next year when their concert tour comes around again, W and I saw them a couple months ago in Worcester MA, and next time we’ll bring C too. 

W did some of his homeschool workbooks, and C enjoyed stickers and Color Wonder books although most of those marker caps have disappeared somewhere into the void. We brought several books and a few wooden trains & a couple of Cars cars which helped mix things up. I also have a Kids Mode app on my droidx phone which came in mighty handy at some restaurants in SC and PA. 

With gas prices rising we decided not to rent a larger vehicle for the trip, so our trusty Toyota Corolla held up but it was difficult keeping the back seat organized and involved a clean-out every couple of days of the trip.
One major thing I would do differently: pack lighter! Especially when limited to a small-ish car trunk. I had packed light jackets, sweatshirts and too many long pants but the weather was unseasonably hot even during the Pennsylvania leg of the trip. I know I couldn't foresee this, but probably one sweatshirt/jacket per kid would have been sufficient and assume older children can get a couple wears out of jeans, etc. Also, when planning to stay somewhere more than one night it would be possible to do laundry even though I know it's not the most glamorous thing to do on vacation (many hotels and b&b’s offer coin laundry areas).

Another tip I hopefully will remember for next time is to bring a cooler and start off with enough snacks for day 1, not the whole week (smushed granola bars aren’t appealing to anyone).  We ate out for almost every meal which is very unusual for us. C consumed not much besides chocolate milk and applesauce for much of the trip, so his sytem was a bit.. uh.. thrown off so we were happy when he ate anything. I tried not to stress out over this, afterall, vacation is just temporary. Utilize the rest stops as much as possible, besides the bathroom breaks most of them have a place to run around and stretch your legs. The kids cheered whenever we got to one and W said they were one of his favorite parts of the trip. ;)

Having GPS on our phones was also extremely useful, this was the first long trip that we used this for and boy it made a difference. After this, our 3 hour trek to the White Mountains next month will seem like a breeze! Stay tuned to the blog for recaps of our trip and photos coming soon. 


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