Are we there yet? Travel with kids

You could say we’ve done our fair share of road trips with kids. Before my daughter turned one, we drove across the country with her twice and made four 800-mile plus trips in addition. That doesn’t include the other cross country trip we took with her in utero. We had a gypsy problem. Though we’ve since settled down into a house of our own, we still make two or three long road trips and two or three flights a year, now with two kids. Amazingly enough, we all rather like the trips we take. Even the getting there part.

We try to kick it old school on the trips. There are no dvd players or iPads installed in our car. And we haven’t taken an iPad on a trip since my daughter’s first flight at 18-months. Here’s how we do long trips…

Healthy snacks are at the top of our list. Small jelly jars (should we call them smelly jars?) are great for small hands. Snacks keep our kids happy and their blood sugar in check. Our favorites are:

Orange slices
Dried apricots
Peanut butter and jam sandwiches
Sliced up cheeses

Everything gets prepped before the trip so that we’re not trying to peel an orange or slice cheese while on the go. Of course, round things like blueberries or olives are always cut in half or quarters to prevent a choke hazard. We usually find a local food coop or natural food store to stock up before our return trip home. Packing healthy snacks allows us to avoid the unhealthy, overpriced options at fast food stops. The kids think of it as a car or plane picnic. It also keeps the hubby from getting hangry.

Sticker books reign supreme for kids. I tuck away a couple for once we’re en route to our destination.

And they always picks out a few of their favorite toys to bring on each trip. Packing a few surprise toys makes spending the first night in a hotel that much easier for a toddler. Nothing beats the familiarity of having a few of their own toys in a foreign place.

Play Doh is a savior when traveling and at restaurants. A couple cans of play doh and a few cool tools can keep both kids happy for a good stretch.

Movies on my iPhone are the special treat my daughter enjoys when we’re on a long flight. I always download one or two before we leave and she gets to choose what she watches.

I hope these tips make your next adventure a smooth one.