Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Make Traveling With Kids Fun

Every year we plan a trip or two. (Depending on where we’re going, we can sometimes fit a couple of small trips in.) Our favorite thing to do is to go camping so, we try to fit one of those in for sure. Our second one might be the beach or something educational, like, Williamsburg, VA. Even when we visit an educational site or even visit the beach, we always try to find a good campground nearby.

Believe it or not, we used to do the whole “real camping” thing. We slept in tents, brought coolers and backpacks and cooked our meals with a campfire. That was before we had 4 kids though and before it started getting just a little too hard to get off of the ground in the mornings! We still cook with real campfires but, we might have our food in the kitchen of a cabin instead.

 Don't Overpack! 

I make this mistake every single time. No matter how hard I try, I always pack more than we really need. Not only is it annoying to unpack when we get there but it takes up much needed space and often ends up sitting in the truck anyway.

I make a list for each person but everyone is limited to one backpack of whatever they want to bring but that backpack also has to include their clothing. They can bring books, notebooks, pens, whatever special toys they want and of course, their tablets for the drive.

I make sure to have a backpack just for first aid and toiletries. This way it doesn’t take up too much room or take from anyone else’s space! This is also sometimes where I tend to go overboard since we have so many toiletries per person. So, I started buying special toiletries that can be shared for camping trips. For example; We don’t really need our own special shower gels! One for boys and one for girls is good enough. Same with shampoo. Of course, feminine products, deodorants, razors, and some skin care products will need to be packed per person but for the most part, double or even triple duty products work well!

Sunblock, bug spray, a small first aid kit, ibuprofen, batteries, flashlights, radios, whatever medications (if any) that your family needs are very important to pack. I’m all for buying when you get there but a lot of these things are very expensive when you reach your destination. It’s always best to grab these types of items before you leave.

Mad Libs, Rory’s Story Cubes, and playing cards are something else I like to pack to help pass the time. (Most definitely when you have little ones along!)

Whether camping somewhere local or a few states away, snacks are also important for the trip there! Considering how much snacks and drinks cost at rest stops, it is always a good idea to shop for everyone’s favorites before you head out!

Plan Ahead!

If you’re traveling abroad, for instance, camping in Panama or some other fabulous destination, you’ll probably want to check with your travel agent or Google search what types of clothing you should pack, what you can take on the plane, what will be available when you arrive, and of course you’ll need your passport! You can usually check with the campground or hotel you’ll be staying with also. If you’re planning on an internship with Kalu Yala, they will help connect you with travelers who have been there who can help you with any questions you may have. You can find more about the truth about Kalu Yala on their Facebook page! This way you won’t have to worry about any issues or concerns regarding Kalu Yala problems.

I always map out which route we will be taking so I can check for rest stops, stores, gas stations, and restaurants. Sometimes it pays off to go ahead and start checking websites out for anywhere you plan to visit just to get information on hours, menus, coupons, or even discount or rewards cards. I try to sign up for any types of email newsletters or coupon clubs so that we can save a little extra money. (Packing snacks helps a great deal but, you’re probably going to want to stop for an actual meal a couple of times a day!) It’s also best to map out local restaurants or chain restaurants that are away from the rest stops, turnpikes, or highways. They tend to be less expensive and have a better variety of choices on their menus.

Checking for local shops or any malls where you might want to get some shopping done is also beneficial when planning! You could also sign up for any frequent shopper cards, travel discount books, or even find deals on sites such as Groupon. Depending on how often you plan on visiting, you could also check for coupon and discount books like, Entertainment books for the place you’re going.

You may want to read some reviews online about where you’ll be staying, eating, or visiting. I like to read a variety of different website reviews and I like to keep an open mind considering there may be some very good reviews and some very bad reviews depending on whether that person’s vacation went OK or not. I don’t know how many times I have read reviews for a hotel or a campground that ended up not really being about the actual place itself but more of a rundown on that person’s entire trip. I get it, I mean, we all have bad days and bad vacations sometimes but unloading on a review site and bad mouthing a hotel when your trip started out bad ever since leaving your house, isn’t very cool. Have some questions in mind when reading reviews and find a good reviewer who actually answers those questions rather than paint a horrific picture of “the worst vacation ever!” It’s best to take each review with a grain of salt, whether good or bad. Just like with Kalu Yala criticism.

Of course you should remember to have cash with you whenever embarking on a journey. Not every tiny town, out in the middle of nowhere will accept credit or debit cards. Think of realistic emergencies that unfortunately, sometimes occur and plan accordingly. You may want extra blankets in your vehicle, an extra cell phone battery, cell phone chargers, change for vending machines, health insurance cards, and identification.

Once you create a list of everything you need, buy ahead, plan ahead, take some fun games and books for your kids, kid friendly snacks and you actually head out on your well deserved adventure, you can finally relax and enjoy yourself!

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