Friday, January 20, 2012

Road Trip Survival Part 1

I was reminiscing the other day about all of the time our little family has spent 'on the road' since becoming "Pre-field Missionaries" with Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF)....and decided to be totally dorky and actually add up the hours or km's.....wanna know??
An overview of our 6 week road trip across the country

Okay, so I quickly realized that I suck at math and that I will just settle for knowing we have travelled across the country, visiting 4 provinces, 1 Island, 2 ferries, 2 states, countless homes where we had over 77 dinners/lunches with our friends & family & supporters, memorized the Cinderella movie, consumed way too many animal crackers, 'fertilized' more farmers fields than I can count, shed some tears of frustration, seen way too many bad drivers, had a 180 degree spin out on black ice, and the realization that we still have a long way to go.....

This all to say, I believe I can now call myself a 'travelling expert' when it comes to being in a van with two kids under 4 and a husband who likes to leave for our next destination at 4am. :)

Here are some ways to make travelling with your family as relaxing and enjoyable as possible: Theme - preparation is key!

Top 10 Road Trip Travel Tips:

1) Bring a variety of snacks, such as apple slices and cheese, grapes, trail mix (the kind with the smarties!), dry cereal, crackers & cheese, veggies cut up, animal crackers, granola bars, bananas, yoghurt covered raisins, and sugar free lollipops. Including some special treats help as well. I realize that some of these snacks may be messy for younger ones so choose wisely! :)

2) Have a small basket/diaper bag handy with sun tan lotion, bug spray, wipes, diapers, and a change of clothes for each of the kids so that you are prepared for any diaper changes, spills, potty accidents, sun, bugs and sticky hands.  This way your husband doesn't have to undo the perfectly puzzle packed trunk space to find a change of clothes....everything will be right where you can access it!

Music and Memory Game
(waiting for the ferry, hence not in their car seats)
3) Make space for a toy basket/box (I am a little OC about preventing the van from getting disastrous) and include books, pencil crayons and coloring books, little people or figurines they can play and interact with, tons of stickers and blank paper, a colorful pencil and a little notebook to doodle in, a dry-erase book/markers, a portable music player for personalizing their tunes (we have this and the girls LOVE being able to play their own music, even around the house), reusable sticker books for boys and girls, their favorite lovey (baby doll, blanket) to make naps in the car feel like home, and any travel games/activities.

4) Purchase some good quality travel games and activities such as "Guess Who?" (Kaitlyn started playing this with a little help around age 3), Travel Bingo, Travel Memory Game, and Leap Frog Tag Reader, (the girls got this for Christmas and LOVE it....I can't read in the car (puke!) so this system allows for a book to be read to them and they can interact with the book, complete with fun sound affects and characters as well....and don't panic thinking you are going to turn your kids off of 'old school books' girls still LOVE reading books without sound affects! :)

Sticker fun (note the travel tray....amazing!!)
5) Purchase a car seat travel tray, this is a definite investment (only available in the US and around $20 plus shipping...we had ours shipped to our friend's brother's place, so when they visited, my friend brought it back for us) but so worth it if you are doing a lot of travelling in the car. My girls use the trays for everything (eating, coloring, playing) and with the quick buckle release on both sides, the tray can be taken off and reattached quickly (for those emergency potty breaks!). Total thumbs up for these trays!

Stay tuned for Part 2 of helpful travel tips!

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