While family vacations can be loads of fun, they can also be quite stressful. Packing for the kids seems to be quite an issue. Pack enough so that they have clean clothing to wear, but don’t pack so much that you end up on traction from carrying the suitcase! You want to cover all the bases as far as climate is concerned. But packing two sets of clothes, one for warm weather and one for cold, is out of the question. Then there are the four words that every parent dreads, “Are we there yet?” How do you keep your kids entertained on a long car ride (even considering a “long” car ride to be the two and a half hour one to grandma’s) and keep your sanity?
Packing the kids for vacation can be made quite simple if you are organized. First, determine how long you will be gone. Count driving or travel days from the moment you leave your driveway until you return. Make a list of every item you are bringing. List how many pair of underwear, how many t-shirts, describe dresses, even list shoes. Now, consider the climate for where you are going. Is it expected to be warm? Pack for warm weather, but add a sweater, long pants and closed in shoes. Is it expected to be cool? Pack for cold weather, but throw in a couple of tee shirts, light sweater, even a pair of short pants and some tennies. Cover all the bases and be ready for anything.
The car ride can be fun or it can be a headache. When my children were younger, I made them a car activity pack. It had crayons, paper, coloring books, games, reading books and other fun activities. We also had silly little games that we played in the car, like I Spy. I would make up stories and we would sing songs. As they grew older, their needs changed, so we started talking more. We would discuss what we wanted to do in the future, what the future would be like and what they wanted to be when they grew up. The long trips we took in the car were some of the most special times of our lives. I learned so much about them and they still talk about their adventures in the car and the things we would do.
Family vacations can be a super fun time and a time for getting to know your kids a little better. As long as you are organized and prepared you should encounter very few bumps. Make your list, get together some car-friendly activities and you will be good to go. Take it easy, relax and get ready to have fun!