Travel: How to Make Family Travel Fun

traveltips for traveling with children

Some of my fondest memories are of traveling with my family when I was a child, especially family road trips. In retrospect, I have to wonder if it was fun for my parents! After all, they had to cope with traveling with my brother and me without all the cool tricks and technology we have now, like DVD players and hand-held game systems. Now that I have children and we travel as a family, I’m grateful to these gadgets for making travel easier; after all, traveling with four boys under age eight is incredibly challenging on all fronts. But we’ve found a way to make it work!

How to Enjoy Family Road Trips

As a family, we regularly drive to Florida (about a 14-16 hour road-trip) and here is a list of tips that work well for us:

  • The month before we travel, I buy four new reading books and four new coloring or sticker books and crayons. I pack  these in my backpack and bring them out as surprises during the trip. Diapers, wipes, paper towels, and a spare outfit for each child also go in my backpack.
  • The day we travel, each of my boys packs his own backpack with:
    • two of their favorite DVDs
    • their favorite handheld games (I really like the educational games that come with the LeapFrog Leapsters)
    • two reading books
    • two of their favorite toys
    • some snacks and a couple of drinks (small bags of goldfish or Envirokidz bars work well because they aren’t too messy in the car, and I like Honest Kids juice as well)
  • Around 5 p.m. of the travel day, we bathe the children, brush their teeth, and put them in their full length pajamas. Around 6 p.m., we start to drive. In the car they take turns choosing DVDs to watch, or they choose to play with one of their backpack items. We rarely have any trouble with them arguing once we put in the DVD rotation rule.

My husband and I take turns driving through the night. Usually the children are asleep by 8 p.m. and stay asleep until we arrive the next morning in Florida. My biggest challenge on these drives has been feeding my children healthy meals. We always tend to stop at fast food places. This has been easier in the last year as McDonald’s added healthier choices to their menus.

It’s really important for me preserve the memories associated with family vacations, so my children will have those memories when they are older. I want them to remember how hard I tried to be a good mom.

 What are some of your family's favorite vacations?

Joanne Lang is a mom of 4 boys, a wife, and the founder and CEO of AboutOne, an online family organizer that turns your phone into a remote control for your life, working with your existing calendar and contact tools so you can automatically organize, store, and share family memories and household paperwork. Through web and mobile apps, AboutOne guides you along the path to organization, rewarding you along the way for meeting your organizational goals.

Photo from Flickr


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