Before my son was born, I traveled often – by car, airplane, bus you name it and I’ve probably been aboard it, in it or on it. After I became a mom, my traveling days slowed down, but certainly didn’t cease all together. As a young mom of two, every trip became an adventure, filled with new sights and unexpected situations and as most moms know, no matter how much we may plot and plan, traveling with children by car often means frequent stops, cranky attitudes, tired bodies (ours and theirs!), an ever watchful eye on the road and a new found respect for the latest in safety features and fun gadgetry. So, whether you’re driving across town or driving across state lines this holiday season, getting to and from your destination with the least of problems and the most of great memories is what we all strive for. If you’ll be traveling with children, remember your best defense is a strong offense, so below are a few helpful tips and tricks to apply if you’re on the way to grandmas’ house this year.
1. Before any trip, it’s a good idea to take your vehicle in for a routine check-up before you take off. You’ll probably want to schedule this no more than a week before your departure date.
2. Make certain child safety seats are in good condition and can stand withstand the duration of the trip. Check that latches work well and be sure your little one fits into the seat nice and right. If you’re in doubt about the condition of the safety seat or if your child seems to have outgrown it, perhaps the time is right to purchase a new one before you leave.
3. Pull together a toy bag or box and fill it will age appropriate activities for vehicle travel. Things like books, travel games and wooden puzzles are good choices for younger kids, while video games, MP3 players, paperback books and magazines are all good ideas for teens and pre-teens, too. Moms Minivan (momsminivan.com) has great ideas for travel games you can invent or even make yourself and if you incorporate a holiday theme into the games, they can be even more fun! Other things like portable DVD players with favorite holiday movies are a great way to kick start a festive holiday mood, too.
4. I like the idea of a vacation diary for the older set they can write down their thoughts, note interesting, funny or educational things they’ve seen and heard (or overheard!) on the road, draw and doodle, write poetry, make up the lyrics to their own songs, write their favorite lists you name it. Make sure it comes with a lock and key so your young one knows the vacation diary is private and can’t be read by others without permission. These really make wonderful keepsakes and are fun for your child to pull out and reminisce over when they’re older.
5. Be extra vigilant when stopping at a rest area or any location where young children can become disoriented and lost. We’ve all heard horror stories of hurried parents who stopped at a rest area only to realize a few miles down the road that they’ve forgotten one of the children. Don’t let it happen to you. Also remember to be extra cautious in areas which are near water, dense trees and brush, cliffs, busy traffic or other areas which may not be well lit or that seem unsafe for walking.
Do you have your own travel tips and tricks? If so, I’d love to hear them, so leave a comment and share with other Cars for Girls readers what has worked for you.