We live far from family, so travel is a necessary part of seeing relatives. Add in a couple amazing opportunities (a free place to stay in Cape Cod, an internship for Mike in England when Emma was a baby, Emma’s arrival in Scotland while Mike and I were both studying there), and we travel quite a bit with our kids. Here are a few ways I’ve learned to make our trips more enjoyable:
- Pack light, when possible. We bought three inexpensive car seats and shipped them to Mike’s mom’s house so we don’t have to bring those along when we visit her. I have also shipped diapers to her house. My parents already own car seats for their 11 (soon to be 13!) grandchildren to use on visits.
- Always bring hats and mittens, if there is the slightest chance of snow. We got stuck in a surprise snow storm at the end of April when we were in Utah for my sister’s wedding, and this was one thing we could not find on store shelves. Our kids would have been much happier with them, and they don’t take up much space in suitcases.
- Bring surprise entertainment for rainy days and other unexpected delays. Coloring books worked well in Yarmouth on a rainy day.
- Find fun, kid-friendly activities along the way. Reciprocal museum memberships are great for this! We got free museum entry at wonderful children’s museums on all three trips we made this year this way!
- We enjoy the trip more when we go at our children’s pace.
- When my kids are grumpy on a trip it usually means one of three things: they’re hungry, they’re over-stimulated, or they’re tired.
- Help kids meet relatives by telling them about them in advance – and reminding them of previous visits.
- Help relatives meet kids by letting them know a few things the kids like. For example, knowing that Johnny loves the color green and bears makes it much easier to break through his initial shyness.
- Good baby carriers are lifesavers.
- So are good strollers.
What are your best tips for traveling with little ones? I’m still trying to work out how to prevent a Johnny meltdown the next time we fly – any tips?
What are you learning in your home? Last week Elisa shared her successful conquest of a very long lawn – and a tip that may have saved us a lot of trouble a couple years ago when we had a too-long lawn! =)