The Grahams have caught the traveling bug. It disappeared for a few years when our kids were really small, but now that they’re older, we are intent on getting out and exploring our world. The goal by the time our kids graduate from high school is that we will have visited all fifty states (hello, Hawaii!) and so we’re spending this summer getting a few more states under our belts.
To be able to travel well with kids and make it back home in one piece, we’ve learned–through trial and error–some things to ensure we enjoy our time away and live to tell about it.
1. Activity bags for the car
Nothing is worse than bored kids two hours into a twelve hour road trip. While we try to do a lot of our driving at night when they can sleep, it’s inevitable that they will be awake at some point and ask the dreaded “Are we there yet?” question. I fend off this car madness by creating a few activity bags to be brought out at critical times. Using gallon baggies and then making a stop at the local dollar store, I fill the bags with cheap toys, coloring supplies, a little treat, glow sticks for nighttime, and other random stuff I find. Sometimes I even throw in a few dollars so that they can buy a snack at the next gas station. That’s always a big hit. But don’t use all your activity bags on the way down. I normally put together two sets so that the girls each have a bag on the way there and the way home.
2. Vacation rental instead of a hotel
July is National Vacation Rental Month which is a great time to try out a rental instead of a hotel. For us, the change in routine with kids–especially smaller ones–can be devastating on vacation. There’s this perfect balance of doing all the things and doing too much that can make or break the day. So when we travel we LOVE to stay in a vacation rental that has all the comforts of home so even if we’re spending an evening in, it feels special and relaxing. Plus, being on vacation never really allows for a break from each other and with a vacation rental, you can get a little down time by yourself if you need it. (Is that just an introvert thing? I totally need a break from my people on vacation. I love them, but dang, leave me alone.)
When traveling, I recommend staying in Wyndham Vacation Rentals. They have a range of vacation rentals that offer things like extra space, privacy, and a great savings plus convenient in-home amenities like kitchens, living rooms, and multiple bedrooms. Wyndham Vacation Rental properties offer a range of valuable benefits for all types of travelers, not just moms occasionally trying to escape their kids while on vacation.
3. Not eating out for every meal
I love eating out just as much as the next mom, but sometimes I want my kids to eat something other than chicken nuggets and french fries which means we need to eat at the vacation rental while on vacation too. I love having access to a full kitchen when we travel so that we can eat breakfast there before we leave for the day and then occasionally, when we need a break, we can have lunch or dinner there too. Besides saving money, it’s nice to serve generous helpings of fruits and veggies to my family in the midst of pizza, BBQ ribs, seafood, and deliciously unhealthy hamburgers. Plus, it helps with vacation weight gain. Eh.
4. Let your kids in on the decision making
To prepare for a trip, I’ll research an area and have a general list of all the fun and interesting things to see and do while we’re there, but we don’t have any plans set in stone so we wake up every morning and decide what we’re going to do that day. Letting our kids in on that process, giving them options and showing them pictures from websites allows them to get excited about a place as well as feel like their opinions matter.
5. Pack less and do laundry while you’re there
Does that sound like the opposite of a vacation? Sorry. But for us, it’s what we’ve figured out works best. I hate packing (does anyone actually like packing?? Actually, you know what’s worse than packing? UNPACKING.) and if I can not worry about all the what-ifs of not having enough clothes or everything getting dirty too fast, I’m more than willing to do a load or two of laundry while on vacation. That’s another reason we love staying in vacation rentals so much, there is normally a washer and dryer available. Plus, folding clothes while staring out at the ocean isn’t that bad.
To enjoy your own vacation rental experience, visit WyndhamVacationRentals.com.
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What are your tips for traveling well with kids?
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.