August 17, 2011

Traveling with Children Made Easier

It is no secret.  We travel a lot by car with all our children, and sometimes with the dog along as well.  Why How do we keep traveling with a car filled with children, luggage, and a dog?  It is not always easy, but it can be doable and even enjoyable. 

A few things that work for us are:

1.  Mapping out, or planning, breaks every few hours at rest stops that have bathrooms and gas for the car.  One stop shopping is invaluable if we actually need or want to make it to our destination in a reasonable time frame.

2.  Packing our lunch.  Due to pronounced motion sickness, we limit food and beverage choices.  It is easier for us to bring what can be eaten than to try to find something roadside.  (This not only saves time, it saves money.)

3.  Playing travel games to pass the time.  We don't bring a lot of games.  Instead most of our games are travel dependant or 'made up on the fly.'  Some of the more well known games we like are:
  • I Spy
  • I See Something (a variation on I Spy by guessers asking questions about the chosen object's location)
  • ABC Word Find (finding each letter, in order, at the beginning of a word on road signs)
  • Car Color Competition (chose a color and find as many as you can in a set time)
  • ABC Memory Game (we alter it by saying, "I'm going to fill in our current destination, and I'm bringing an accordion, banana, cactus,...)
  • License Plate Game (find the state on the license plate and color its state on a map)
  • Cat's Cradle or other string games
  • Hangman on a whiteboard with erasable markers
  • Fifteen Puzzle and Rubix Cube

4.  Allowing our children to watch a little TV.  Our van has a DVD player in it.  For long full day in the car trips, we allow the children to pick a few DVDs to bring along. We generally use these to break up the trip.  Though the DVDs don't last long and aren't played constantly, the change of activity helps alleviate some of the monotony of the ride.

5.  Having each child pack their own personal Activity Bag for the trip.  They take stuffed animals, small toys, books, word puzzles, drawing or coloring supplies, etc. for the car.

6.  Bringing neck pillows.  These compact, soft pillows are ideal for children travel pillows.  Ours were graciously given to us by my mother-in-law.

7.  Allowing for the occasional boredom to occur.  Sorry folks, we refuse to schedule out every minute of our children's lives.  They do get bored every once in awhile, even on long car rides with all of the above activities planned or provided.  During these times, they need to learn how to work through the boredom of monotonous travel.  Honestly, the boredom doesn't last long, and they are quickly engaging in something of interest in no time.

How about you?  Any tips you'd like to share for traveling with children?
We would definitely welcome each idea as we have another car trip planned for September.
~ Dorie


  1. I got to the Dollar Store and Consignment Stores a few months before we leave to stock up on little surprises along the way. We haven't had a DVD player in our van yet, but for our trip to FL we will be getting one, if only to save oour sanity!!

  2. wow!! we do many of the same things.. and we do allow for boredom.. Due to my hubby's former position we travelled a lot, either moving every 22 months, or going to visit family, because we never live near 9 year old has travelled over 100,000 in the car and more via planes. We, too have dvd in our van.. it can not be turned on unless we have been moving for over an hour... and there must be a 3 hour break between movies. the one hour rule cme from moving to Dallas. Sometime in the crazy traffic, it comes in handy for Mom..LOL

  3. Hehe...timely, you know. :)

    You didn't mention my favorite thing. Audio books. This past trip (4-5 hours) we listened to some Little House. Now my kids still nap a bit in the car, but we didn't need to bring out the DVD player with the naps and book...and special little teddies on their laps.


Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

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