Travel with Wee Ones

We are gearing up for a 10-day excursion with all of the kids: In addition to two long-ish flights, we will be doing a serious amount of driving once we arrive in the Northeast (in order to maximize our time in this part of the country!). I’ve been looking for snacks and activities for my children, ages 7 (boy), 3.5 (girl), and 15 months (girl), but have been disappointed in the selection. Part of me is tempted to be quite minimalist in the “props” that we travel with, and simply pack a few books and some granola bars. The other part of me is tempted to go all out and buy the Color Wonder books and an assortment of new and exciting snacks. Going minimalist at church has worked for us, so maybe it will work for travel as well?

Help me out here, moms and dads! 🙂

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  • Jen E Andrews

    for what it’s worth, here is a post I wrote awhile back that might have something useful for younger children –

  • Sophie

    buy a cheap 200 yrd roll of aluminum foil.u00a0 This kept my kids busy for hours…making all sorts of creations.u00a0 It was easy to pack and just tossed every thing in the trash when they weren’t looking.u00a0 nnAlso, for your older ones… has a ton of stuff, even printable battleship games.u00a0 My kids also like to do car make scavenger hunts.u00a0 I just put a bunch of car logos on a word doc. and printed out a bunch of copies, they cross them out as they go.u00a0 nnI gave each kid a 3 ring binder with scrap paper, writing paper for journaling and other activities.u00a0 nnHave a bag of ideas they can do everyu00a0 30 mins or something change it up.u00a0 And for those times (for us, the last hour before a meal) that they are going bonkers, that’s when we switch to a video (our $60 dvd player was the best purchase ever).

  • Amy B

    We travel a lot for my husband’s job and also for leisure.u00a0u00a0Although my oldest is only 2, I have found this website to be helpful for eachu00a0stage: Even though I tend to over pack, I think less is more when traveling with kids.u00a0 I like theu00a0toy suggestions on We also try to reserveu00a0certain toys for travel, which seems tou00a0work well.u00a0u00a0u00a0I don’t like to do laundry when we are on the road, so I end up brining more in the way of clothes and supplies.u00a0u00a0nu00a0nThere always seems to be something more entertaining than toys when we travel. u00a0My son one time spent 45 minutes ripping up a drink napkin on an airplane.u00a0 It was pretty simple to clean up, and was a great attention grabber!u00a0nnI hope you have a wonderful trip!

  • Less is more. u00a0We just got back from a long road trip, and every time I kick myself for how much stuff I could leave at home. u00a0I really wanted to write a blog post to answer this very question. u00a0Here is what helps us:n- With my oversight, each kid packs a small bag of a few toys and a stuffed animal for the carn-have a flexible schedule blocks were you do a certain activity in the car: Mad Libbs, audio book, music, car bingo (Melissa and Doug have a nice one), down time, DVD player, Leapsters or NDS, and something really crazy and modern – talking to each othern-stopping every 2-3 hours for a brake keeps everyone happy. u00a0We never drive through the night or too long in one day, everyone arrives cranky. u00a0The most we drive is 9 hours per day.n-mandatory bathroom breaks. u00a0They will insist they don’t have to go, but in a 1/2 hour they’ll have to go right away. u00a0This rule is esp. important before a big city, which usually has lots of traffic and no rest stops. u00a0n-light food makes for happy tummies. u00a0Protein bars are great for breakfast or snack.u00a0n-Treats 1) getting to pick something from a vending machine. Huge treat as we never do this and that they get their own, individual bag just for themselves. u00a0We don’t do this at every stop, maybe once or twice. u00a0It is also a good loss of privilege if they are misbehaving.u00a0n2) 1 nice surprise, doesn’t have to cost a lot. u00a0It a little sticker book by Dover or a toy car. u00a0Little magna doodles are great for the car. u00a0I really try to think about what each kid enjoys and could use to entertain themselves. u00a0Some of my kids love to color, some hate it. u00a0n-We packed our foldable scooters for the rest stops, but never used them. u00a0Still think it is a good idea.u00a0n-Always pack a emergency basin w/ paper towels, a zip lock bag, a plastic bag, wet ones (wipes), 2 diapers. u00a0This handles all the gross stuff that can happen on a car trip. u00a0:-)n-Also, I have a small suitcase just with toys and books for the hotel room.u00a0nnOne more thing about audio books. u00a0While something like Lion, Witch and Wardrobe or Black Beauty are great to listen too, the younger ones might enjoy a collection of their favorite stories like Arthur, Dr. Suess, Frog and Toad or Curious George. Since it is a collection, you should be able to get a good half hour out of it, over and over and over again 🙂 u00a0You probably can get them from your library for free. I would buy a good audio book they would enjoy before color wonder. u00a0nnBut certainly don’t panic and go out and buy a bunch of stuff. u00a0You’ll regret it and probably won’t use it. u00a0Remember, this is America, you can always buy them a toy or treat if you were wrong about packing light in the props department. u00a0These are kids, a $2 box of tasty cakes will make their day. u00a0Happy travels!

  • JMB

    We used to do the yearly cross country plane trip to California to see the in laws when the kids were little.u00a0 I guess the best thing I can say about those years was that when your children get older, you REALLY appreciate traveling with them and that you become fearless (ie – a two week cross country road trip sounds great!).u00a0 Don’t expect it to be easy, the plane is way worse than the car, and the less you have, the less mess they can make.u00a0 In fact, my kids are so well trained that they don’t ask me for food in the car because they know it won’t be allowed.u00a0 But they are much older (15 to 9) now.u00a0 When they were little and we did long car trips,u00a0 I would let them watch a few DVDs that they have never seen, play on their gameboys or whatever and color/draw/read.u00a0 I’m a complete neat freak by nature and can’t stand being in a messy car so I never allowed food or snacks in the car (except if it was a baby and needed food).u00a0 But by and large, we would stop for bathroom, eat at a fast food joint, run around outside a little and then get on our way.u00a0 I much prefer traveling by car than by plane these days.

  • Jodie Peyton

    Usborne sticker books! My kids (11,9,6,4) got some in their Easter baskets this year and sat for 2 days straight sticking stickers. I keep thinking, if we ever go on a road trip I was getting some more sticker books! they are fun to read and look at after the stickers are stuck too. Usborne books also has some sets of doodle cards, just ordered a set to see how they are. They have all sorts of them, for the young and the older. 🙂

  • Jodie Peyton

    oh and I second the books on tape, my kids love them. they really like adventures in odyssey.u00a0

  • Texas Mommy

    After a lot of road trips, I really think the best thing you can bring is a good attitude! A smile goes a very long way! You will get from point A to point B and it might not be pretty, but being able to laugh at the chaos is more than half the battle, I think!u00a0

  • I second sticker books and pages (Oriental Trading has some fun sticker scenes, cheap too. We have done the Color Wonder books, then can be fun for tiny ones especially….just beware of the “dropped pen/crayon syndrome” Some trips I spent more time picking up errant crayons, pencils and pens that little hands couldn’t contain than they did coloring. Frustrating!u00a0nI have learned that simple is best for us….frequent stops and light food also help.u00a0nBooks on tape: we have enjoyed a Curious George compilation, the Glory Stories, the Little House books, Altar Gang, and sing along music like Laurie Berkner and Buck Howdy.u00a0

  • Jurismater

    Kat, I wish we had mastered this, but we haven’t, even after insane travels over the last year. One thing is we don’t turn on the DVD player until 2:30pm or so, and we push it back a 1/2 hour as a loss of privilege. The kids are fresher in the first part of the day, more willing to listen to books or play road games or 20 questions. DVD player and junky snacks are our ace in the hole, and my husband and I are more patient all morning and early afternoon when we know we have the DVD coming in to relieve us in the pm hours.nnAnyway, we’ll be here to give you a big hug when you arrive, no matter how ugly the journey has been : ) Bon voyage!!!