Summertime and travel seem to go hand and hand. A lot of us are scared to death to travel with kids but it doesn’t have to be a scary thing! I’m no pro nor will I make claims to have anything extraordinary to offer but how about just some tips that work for us when it comes to traveling with kids and being good guests so you don’t end up stressed out or embarrassed.
Before you leave…
- Clean the house before you go. Sometimes I have failed to do this and it’s on my mind throughout the trip. Knowing that there are piles of dirty laundry or messy rooms to return to can really get to you while trying to relax. I always try to have the dishes washed and put up, all laundry washed folded and put up, toys picked up, and beds made. It helps a lot even though it may not sound like it I know you won’t regret it.
- Pack light and plan to do laundry. Do not pack the car so full that everyone is miserable. We travel 5 people with a puppy in a small car and being crammed in would get us off to a bad start. Packing light will also help once you are at your destination because chances are wherever you are staying having all that extra stuff will just over crowd your accommodations. Not to mention that returning home with tons of dirty laundry is a bad way to end a vacation (can you imagine coming home to a weeks worth of laundry for 5 people…ugh). Trust me you hostess doesn’t want weeks of dirty laundry piled up and would be happy to have you do your laundry.
- Double check that you packed the essentials. Phone charges, toiletries, that snuggle buddies your child can’t live without, and possibly pillows if your like me ( I get it from my mom) that your pillow is a must. Essentials are different for everyone and every trip so you will have to figure yours out but don’t forget them.
- Leave early… I love to travel really early in the mornings around 4am. Chances are the kids will sleep at some point. Also early in the mornings the kids are fresh and excited for the trip. They haven’t been in a foul mood all day, they haven’t been board sitting around waiting to leave, and traffic isn’t too bad yet plus nobody wants to arrive at night when you have to go straight to bed. They want time to enjoy their destination.
- Pack snacks because they will eat. Either out of boredom or hunger they will want to eat and chances are they won’t all want to eat at the same time. I also suggest packing a lunch. It cuts down on. Oats and time wasted stopping for food.
- Hydration is still very important. I know you don’t want to stop a gazillion times but dehydrated travelers are grumpy. It leads to headaches, agitation, and just plain misery. Drink water for two reasons 1. It’s the best resource for hydration 2. Chances are won’t be over drinken. Kids will chug the juice or soda leading to needing to go to the bathroom more however they will drink the water needed for hydration and not tend to over drink.
- Allow the electronics. As long as they are on safe apps and websites it’s not to going to ruin them but it certainly will entertain them.
- Talk a lot. It’s a great family bonding time and a good time to teach kids. Talk about license plates you see, facts about the state you are, what you plan to do on your trip, just talk about anything.
At your destination
- When you arrive find out where your things belong. And have everyone work to keep things there. Be neat and tidy and don’t spread out across the house. Also make your bed daily. Treat their house with more care than your own.
- Ask about kitchen etiquette. Can you freely access food and drinks or are you to wait till offered? Each hostess has different preferences for example at my parents house you want something get up and get it yourself. The kids are allowed water any time without asking but need to ask before having anything else to drink (maybe that’s more my rule than theirs?). They can also make snacks or snack type breakfast for themselves but lunch or dinner they are to ask in case there is something planned (again probably more my rule than theirs). In other people’s houses everyone is expected to ask first before getting anything from the kitchen. Either way is OK you just need to know what is expected to avoid any frustration or friction. And don’t expect that your host will have on hand the snacks or food to appease your picky eat that’s your responsibility to bring. Also insist that you either buy some groceries or give some money towards helping cause that is a huge expense for someone to take on feeding an additional family.
- Help clean even if your offer is met with a no thanks. Of course keep your own things clean but help out with the house to. Clean dinner dishes, sweet up your mess, do your own towels. It’s a lot of extra effort to have extra people around so take some of the load off your hostess.
- Don’t invade every second of their day. It’s OK to go out on your own or leave so they have some down time. They still have a life to live and may have work, homework, or appointments that’s a good time for you to rest or make you own plans.
- Respect lights out out times. Your host may go to bed early, rise early, or sleep late. Be sure to be respectful of their natural sleep pattern. As I write this it’s 6am but cowboy and I have been up since shortly before 5am. We layed in bed talking till 5:30 then decided to get some work done online but we are still down stairs so as not to disturb my parents who will sleep till about 8am.
After your stay
- Clean up before you leave. Wash sheets and towels, take out trash, and make sure you didn’t leave anything behind.
- Call when you arrive home to say thank you and let them know that you arrived safely.
Hope these ideas help!!
Do you have any summer travel plans? We are in NC with my parents- the kids for 3 weeks …where are you headed?