Holiday Road Trips

Are you taking several holiday road trips?Holiday Road Trips Episode 455

Are you taking several holiday road trips? Whether it is Thanksgiving (already passed by the time I record this podcast) or Christmas it is important to be prepared! Take it from one who has traveled with kids in the car on extended trips, I’ll share some must-haves with you!

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Are you packed and ready for a holiday road trip? Whether you are heading to grandma’s house that is in another state or a trip that is a few hours away, these holiday tips will save you time and money. The most wonderful time of the year tends to be filled with stress and anxiety as we prepare not only to decorate our own homes and create some holiday family traditions but then to pack up the family and head out of town to celebrate the holidays somewhere else.

When we think of road trips we remember asking our parents the age-old, “Are we there yet,” after twenty minutes or less in the car, or complaining of hunger. This was because we were bored and today with built-in audio systems for audiobooks or video the trips go so much more quickly with the children entertained. But there is more to keeping them engaged and also thinking of this as a time to create a family bond and memories.

There are many reasons people plan holiday road trips:

  1. Visit family or friends
  2. Vacation time with the family
  3. A way to leave sad memories behind

Planning a trip can be fun with the right tools. One is to plan ahead if at all possible. This means having someone take care of things at your own home if you have pets or pipes that might freeze. It means giving away perishable foods or freezing things that will keep. It can mean planning to purchase clothing for the kid’s cooler items if you are heading to a warmer climate or warming items if you are heading somewhere colder (or asking if you can borrow extra coats and jackets for the kids whenever possible).

Handy List of Planning Ahead:

  1. Make provisions for your home and/or pets.
  2. Plan for appropriate clothing depending on the climate. Borrow whenever possible if you are not planning extended trips (and even if you are, kids grow out of their clothing so quickly).
  3. Driving or flying? Mode of transportation and checking early enough to get flights at a discount or plan on a car tune-up before a big trip. Proper tires, etc. for snowy weather.
  4. Planning wardrobe. Items that can be worn more than once (jeans, leggings, etc.) and paired with other things to make it look like a new outfit. Harder with kids who seem to get every item of clothing filthy without trying.
  5. Suitcases and carry-on if you are flying – be sure you look over the list of what is needed and sizes for carry-on luggage.

If you are driving, perhaps your road trip is a time to bond as a family and create some holiday memories of your own. I remember times we took day trips with the children. It was during a busy time of the year and it was one day to unwind and see some local sites such as a science museum we passed often but never made the time to visit. This locale became a family favorite for years. (More on the audio – listen in!)

Try to think of family trips not only to get to an end destination but also to create family memories that are special and the kids will talk about and remember fondly. Again, less is more and we can over plan, but here are some ideas.

Here is a quick list of things that will help if you are planning holiday road trips.

  1. Plan to stop. If you are going long distances it helps to get into the mindset of frequent stops, especially with little kids. If you can map out the rest stations this is a tremendous help.
  2. Car activities: some kids get carsick so be sure they are not looking down. An activity like matching license plates with a state map that is labeled with each state is fun. The kids can add a tally to each state where they see a license plate. Use clipboards to keep the maps in tack. Of course, there are audiobooks for the entire family. Adventures in Odyssey was a family favorite and now there are longer audiobooks you can rent from the library or purchase on online services. Of course, there are videos on devices such as tablets, but if at all possible I’d keep those to a minimum.
  3. If you are going a long distance consider printing out state maps with the route you will take. You can print this on mapquest or a similar website. The kids can use a marker to circle towns you pass as well as keep track of how far you are from your destination. It keeps the question, “Are we there yet?” to a minimum!

Here is a quick list for flying:

  1. Leave enough time to get to the airport and plan ahead if you are leaving a car in extended parking. Sometimes it takes time to get from the parking garage to the airport, longer than expected!
  2. Carry-on for the kids should be back packs with things the kids can do. Simple activities like mazes, puzzles or one year I brought a rock collection and wrapped up the rocks in tissue paper and gave the kids a marble bag with the rocks and a tiny rock identification book. Each of my two kids had different rocks and once they identified them, they traded with each other. This kept them busy on a two hour flight and the older gentleman on the other side of the aisle was so fascinated the kids had to share their rocks with him.
  3. Be sure to pack hard candy or gum, and bring an empty bottle to fill (there are places to fill up water bottles) or plan to buy water after you go through security. This helps with equalizing air pressure in the kids ears. Snacks are also a good idea. You can bring food even through security check just be sure it is in clear bags. You can also buy food once you are through security to bring on the plane.
  4. Audios are a good idea but be sure to download them on your device. Steaming costs money and the service is very slow. An audio book or music works well. You can download videos to your tablet ahead of time as well, usually the entertainment available on some airlines may not be what you want your children to view.
  5. Books are always a good idea if your child is a reader and a new book is fun to pick out ahead of time.

You may want to have gifts shipped unless you are driving or consider gift cards as gifts for the year you travel. Some families open gifts ahead of time at home before they leave, others use the trip itself as the family gift. Whatever you do, make this time special, stop daily and enjoy that day with your family and thank the Lord for all the blessings you have each and every day!

And I thank God for all of you, you have helped me tremendously in these years by sharing my podcasts with a friend and giving me a star rating on your mobile devices and I thank you!

 

 

 

 

 

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