20 Tips for Traveling with Kids

This past week Joseph made a business trip to Kansas City, and I decided to turn the two nights into a fun little get away for the kids and me.  Our family does a decent bit of traveling, and I thought I would share a few of our tricks for traveling with kids.

Tip 1: Take advantage of the extras your hotel has to offer.

drury-inn-merriam-shawnee-missionWe didn’t get to pick our hotel this time, but I was excited when the conference booked us a room at the Drury Inn. This is my favorite hotel chain. Always clean and lots of great extras.

They offer continental breakfast, and then they have their 5:30 kick-backs. The menu varies each night (baked potatoes, soup, mac-n-cheese, hot dogs, hot wings, baked spaghetti, meatballs, salad, and chips)  enough that it was dinner both nights for the kids and me.

IMG_6368Tip # 2: Don’t fill up on junk.

When eating breakfast, I try to have the kids eat the hot items and then we pick out some healthy other items to take back to our room for a mid morning snack.

IMG_3483

Tip # 3: Research at home what to bring.

Be sure to pack the swim suits and water wings. The pool is always a hit and usually keeps them busy for a few hours. I am always surprised at how cold the water is. Eli and I spent most of our time on the steps, but with water wings, Eden was able to turn blue while burning off all that excitement from a long drive.

IMG_3478Tip #4: Make the special things special.

While eating out and along the drive, the kids drink water or milk. Then when I let Eden have soda, it makes it an extra special treat. So another fun extra from Drury Hotels is their late night snacks. They offer free soda and popcorn to all guest until 10pm. Getting soda is a special treat for Eden, but I still had her stick to the caffeine free options.

IMG_3502

Eli didn’t get any soda, but he did enjoy his share of the popcorn. These paired with a movie in bed made for a fun 1st evening.

Tip #5: Pack a surprise bag.

IMG_6598Before our trip, Eden and I made a trip to the Dollar Tree and picked out a few goodies to put in a surprise bag. She picked a couple things that she thought would be fun, and I picked a few things she didn’t know about. Six dollars ahead of time helps fill all those waiting times that can make parents wish they didn’t go on the trip in the first place.

IMG_3469When I knew we were going to be having some down time, I would secretly set the timer on my phone for 10 minutes. I would put the kids to work tiding up the room or reading a few books on the bed.

A head of time I had explained the surprise bag and let the kids hear the time. When they heard the timer go off, they both would get so excited. I think Eli’s excitement was because of Eden’s excitement but that is fine.

IMG_6599Tip #6: Spread out the fun.

I like to spread out the activities and fun during our trip. If I let her, Eden would have done everything in the surprise bag and gone swimming within the first hour of arriving at the hotel. Practicing a little self-control is always a good lesson.

IMG_3475

Another great use of the hotel resource is the using the iron for this bead craft. This one kept her busy for a while.

IMG_6334

Tip # 7: Fun doesn’t have to equal lots of $.

One of the best items we brought were a set of toy boats. Using the hotel shampoo and body gel we filled bathtub up with more bubbles than our typical home bubble bathes.

IMG_6350

The kids loved hiding the boats under the bubbles and would squeal with delight when they would find one.

IMG_6341

Tip #8: Try to stay to your normal time schedule.

It is hard to nap and eat on our normal schedule while traveling, but I have found we all do better it we try. We started bath a little early, but I had saved this activity until our normal bath time in hopes it would be our normal clue that bed time was coming.

IMG_3425

Tip #9: Look for free activities close by.

We spent most of the day Thursday at the Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead. It has free entrance Monday through Thursday. If you are ever in the Overland Park, Kansas area, it was a great way to spend the day.

IMG_6373

Tip #10: Make it educational.

For our family, most of our trips are educational in some way or another. Hey, why not learn and have fun at the same time. Here Eden is practicing her map skills while she figures out what we will do first.

IMG_6434While it was free to get in, we opted to buy a $10 package for a few extra’s throughout the farm. Our favorite was the mining activity.

IMG_3441We learned all about mining in the cave. Eden pretended to dig up her rough in the cave even though we got the dirt at the entrance to the activity.

IMG_6415We then headed to the sluice.

IMG_6395Eli loved being able to touch the water as it ran down.

IMG_6407Tip #11: Try not to rush.

To make the event take a little longer, we only put a little of the rough in at a time. It is tempting to rush from one thing to the next to try and get everything in, but I have found we all have a better time if we really enjoy the activity and maybe not visit each exhibit.

IMG_3442We then washed away the smaller rough and were left with all different kinds of gems.

IMG_6402The kids were great at taking turns picking out the gems.

IMG_6405Tip #12: Spend quality time together.

This day was about spending some good time with the kids. I didn’t have other distractions like the laundry or paper work. It was about talking together, laughing, and having fun.

IMG_6413Tip #13: Know when to move on.

We did this for a good hour before I finally poured the rest of the rough in and had one last go. The opposite of rushing throughout the exhibits is staying too long.

IMG_6423Lastly we worked to identify as many of the gems as we could.

IMG_6419

Eden is already asking when Joseph’s next conference in KC is.

IMG_6433Eli didn’t want to leave. He is waving bye-bye as we are leaving. For those of you who know Eli well, he doesn’t normally let me get this far from him. I would say he enjoyed it too.

IMG_6457

The farmstead had lots to offer. Included in our $10 was cane pole fishing, a pony ride, bottle feeding the baby goats, the mining activity, and a horse drawn carriage ride.

IMG_6447

Tip #14: Travel with wipes and hand sanitizer.

Eden loved fishing but mommy didn’t as much, as daddy wasn’t there to take the fish off the hook. Mommy ended up having to take 3 fish off and then we gave the rest of our bait to another kid so mommy wouldn’t have to take care of more fish.

IMG_6466

While Eli enjoyed playing in the water at the mining activity, I think he may have enjoyed bottle feeding the baby goats even more.

IMG_6465

He knew what the bottles were for. I was afraid he might try to drink the milk, but he was too busy feeding to think about eating himself.

IMG_6486

Tip #15: Praise the good behavoir.

With only one bottle the kids had to practice that whole sharing thing again. Sometimes it is harder than others but praising their good behavior helps to reinforce it.

IMG_6488

Tip #16: Make new friends.

A farm trip wouldn’t be complete without a ride on a tractor and it is even more fun when doing so with a friend.

IMG_6500

IMG_6508

Someone’s legs were a little short so mommy had to push him around the loop.

When mommy ran out of gas Eli got off and pushed himself.

Tip #17: Be sure to bring your camera.

You will want to capture all those memories of your fun together.

IMG_6527

I have also found that hotel rooms have great lighting for taking picture of the kids. Just pull back the comforter to the white sheets and open the windows.

IMG_6524

This works pretty well while the TV is on. During the commercials capture a few smiles. They know they only have to smile until their show comes back on.

IMG_6572

Getting the littlest ones to smile is the hard part. But sometimes a little bribe of candy from the surprise bag can make for big smiles.

Tip #18: Set a few rules.

IMG_3424My kids, and I think most kids, do best when there are set guidelines. Just because we are “on vacation” doesn’t mean we don’t follow a few rules.

1. No running in the parking lot. (We had a very close call this time – not because of my kids but because of a crazy driver.  Very thankful we went over this rule ahead of time.)

2. Be a kind and courteous hotel guest. We practice walking down the halls and using quiet voice. We play it like a game now, but it is becoming a good skill.

3. We take turns. Both of my kids love pushing the button at the elevator. Knowing this we decided the outside button was Eli’s turn and the inside button was Eden’s.

IMG_6554

Tip #19: Remember there will be tears.

It doesn’t matter how organized, cheerful, and fun I am; both my kids will have a melt down at some point. It is going to happen. I remind myself it is stressful on everyone, including the kids, to travel. I give them an extra cuddle and most of the time that is all that is needed.

IMG_3507

Tip #20: Try not to bring too much.

This is hard when traveling with kids, but remember everything you bring you have to put away when you get home.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s