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Archive for the ‘travel with kids’ tag

June 3rd, 2014 at 10:26 am

Sanity Saving Road Trip Apps

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Planning a car trip this summer? Kids in the car for any longer than an hour (or maybe less) is enough to make you panic just thinking about it. Here are some apps that can help you keep them occupied and give you some peace of mind.

Kids just want to have fun. Mom Maps  app (free on Android, $2.99 iPhone) will provide you with all the kid-friendly places near where you are. Play spaces and kid restaurants are easy to find with this app.

Road Ninja is a free app that will help you find rest areas, restaurants and interesting places to stop along the way.

Some iPhone/iPad games to play along the way include Auto Bingo , Car Travel Games  and Road Trip Scavenger Hunt ($0.99).

And for Android, try Road Trip Games, and Scavenger Hunt Bingo.

For the younger ones, there’s also the Garanimals Learn, Play, Share app…education and fun in one!

Having these apps at the ready will help ensure that your trip time goes a little more smoothly. And while they won’t guarantee that you won’t have some surprises or misadventures along the way, they will hopefully keep the whining to a dull roar.

Happy travels!

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January 18th, 2013 at 8:30 am

Planning a Family Vacation

I don’t know about you, but I desperately need a family vacation right about now! Between the craziness of raising kids, the holidays, and the dead of winter in Wisconsin I could go for something warm and relaxing. The task can seem overwhelming though. All the planning, packing, and decision-making sometimes makes a family vacation seem not as much fun as you anticipate. I guarantee it will be fun once you go through with a little organization up front.

First, you want to decide where you are going. Is this a Staycation, or do you want to go on a big trip? This also depends upon budget and how long of a vacation you are taking. If it is just a weekend, you may want to stay closer to home; but for a week, you can definitely travel cross-country. Part of this is deciding the travel arrangements –car, train, airplane, boat? During this time of year, we usually take an extended weekend to a waterpark; a great way to getaway from home.

The next big part of planning the trip is deciding the details. Where will you stay or eat? What exciting activities are in store? I like to narrow these down. I’ve tried to figure it out when we got there, but with kids that doesn’t always work so well. When they are hungry, there isn’t a lot of time to wait; in my family that leads to meltdowns! So, what I do is create a list of options for restaurants with a few extras in case one isn’t what we expected. In this digital age, it is so easy to really delve into what restaurants and activities will work for your family. I usually call myself the “Cruise Director” and have a list of possible activities for each day. This takes the stress off me and lessens decisions that need to be made during the vacation. That means more relaxing for Mom!

Now everything should be pretty much planned! You would think we are onto the fun part, but now comes the packing! Depending upon how big your family is, this could be a hefty task. Gone are the carefree days of throwing a couple of things in a bag and having a weekend away. Now I need to tote teddy bears, sound machines and extra clothes in case of accidents. This step takes as much preparation as the others. I like to start a list a week before I am going to start packing. I write down everything I think I may need. I go over this list every day because I can guarantee as the week goes on I will add a few things (sometimes really important ones) and take a few things away. As that week passes I also think about bags that are needed and have time for shopping for last minute items.

Once the list is done I start to gather. My bed usually becomes suitcase central. Luckily, my husband goes on a lot of business trips so I let him pack himself, but always remember to ask him if he has certain items (like swim trunks) that he would typically forget! I like to involve the boys as much as I can, having them retrieve things or pick out their favorite clothes to wear.  Packing can be a big task, but I feel like it starts to get you excited to go.

Then you are set! Well, as long as you thought about your pets, if you need anyone to watch the house or collect the mail too! These are important details that can be forgotten!  Trust me! Last fall, when we went for a weekend I almost forgot to make arrangements for the dog, which led to a 2 hour vet appointment to update shots. Don’t ask!

Once you leave your house, make it fun! Vacation starts on that first step out the door!

Are you going on a fun family vacation anywhere?

Kim Ross also writes at  A Little Bit of This and That ~ The Adventures of a Stay at Home Mom.

 

 

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December 19th, 2012 at 5:00 am

Holiday Travel with Kids

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Whether you’re driving to the next state or flying across the country, holiday travel is just plain stressful, particularly when you’re traveling with kids. Here are some tips to help make your trip less taxing:

Flying?

Be sure to arrive at the airport with plenty of time to spare – at least two to three hours in advance.  Print your boarding passes at home to save even more time. Just go to your airline’s website – and make sure you don’t pack too much as to incur extra luggage fees.  It may be cheaper to ship gifts a week ahead of time. Finally, if you have an active toddler, it’s best to wait until the last minute to board – this is a great way to avoid a restless meltdown.

Driving?

Make sure your car is ready and safe for travel before you leave, and be prepared for any weather conditions with supplies such as shovels, blankets and flashlights. For the younger kids, have them pack their own toys and books to prevent boredom on the trip and be sure to make rest stops if your trip is going to be longer than two hours. If you don’t have a portable DVD player, now is a great time to invest in one to bring on your trip along with the kids’ favorite movies.

No matter what your means of travel…

Make sure you pack plenty of small snacks (pretzels, string cheese, Cheerios) and water for your kids. And some snacks for the adults is not a bad idea either… you will surely need to keep up your strength.

Also, be sure to involve the whole family in the trip-planning process. Have the older kids help find things to do around your destination, it keeps them busy while you are packing and makes them feel part of the planning. You can even have them help pack… if you have the patience and a lot of time. Give them things to do to feel as if they are contributing and also make them feel more secure about uprooting their lives for a short period of time.

Share any of your stress-reducing travel tips in the comments. Happy travels!

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