Family Travel: Preparing for a Fun Journey #AlamoDriveHappy

You might recall my recent announcement about being a part of the Alamo Chief Travel Moms Council. The council is made up of 5 Moms. I love that we come from diverse backgrounds and live in different parts of the U.S., some of us have older kids and some with younger kids. Each of us providing a unique perspective to family travel. We all having something in common though – a passion for family travel. Thanks to Alamo Rent A Car for sponsoring this blog post!

 

Don’t forget that the journey is as important as the destination!

 

Typical vacation planning involves selecting the right hotel, making flight arrangements and purchasing tickets for events and attractions. But preparing for a fun journey involves a lot more than that, especially when traveling with children who get easily bored on the road.

 

Family Travel

This pic was taken at Clearwater Beach in 1991. My family has always loved beach vacations in Florida. My son was toting a fishing pole from the age of 3.

 

Do your homework. It’s important to do your homework when planning a trip. In addition to asking friends, I like to gather information from a variety of sources, including: family travel blogs, sites like Trip Advisor for hotel and restaurant reviews, travel apps, Visitors Bureaus, and the library.

Prepare kids for the journey. Preparing kids for vacation begins with breaking the news. I have learned that how soon to tell your kids about a vacation, should depend on the age of your children. If you have younger kids, breaking the news too soon might result in daily “Are we leaving today?” questions. I’ve made that mistake before. But if your kids are a little older, I think it’s a great idea to let them in on a trip well in advance. This will give you a chance to visit the library to check out books about the place you are visiting, and even let the kids be a part of planning your trip. My son always seemed to enjoy travel a lot more when he had a hand in making decision about out trip.

If you are traveling abroad, consider telling the kids enough in advance to help them learn a bit of the local language.

In addition to telling your kids about your destination and what they should expect to do once there, make sure you share all the details about how you’ll get there. Things that seem little to you, like riding to the airport in a taxi or shuttle, might be stressful for young children.

 

Family Travel - Preparing for a Fun Journey

Road Trip Snacks – Homemade Trail Mix

 

Pack healthy snacks. I don’t know about you, but something about a road trip just makes me want to snack. The same goes for kids. If you are traveling by car, I recommend packing a small cooler with some ice packs to store things like fresh fruit & veggie sticks, string cheese, and yogurts in a tube. Freeze some grapes the night before your trip. They will stay nice and cold in your cooler.

Pop up some popcorn before leaving the house to put into single serve sandwich bags. Try sprinkling on some Cheddar cheese flavoring or your other favorite topping. Make your own trail mix, letting each of the kids choose an ingredient. My best advice is to try and keep it healthy. There’s nothing worse than being trapped in a car or on a plane with a bunch of kids who are hyped up on sugar.

 

Family Travel - Preparing for a Fun Journey

Road Trip Entertainment

 

Entertainment. Whether you are traveling by car or by plane, you’ll want to have a variety of entertainment for the kids. My son was always happy with some Mad Libs and his handheld gaming device. My nieces are all about music when we travel, so iPods and quality ear buds or headphones are a must. Tablets and portable DVD players are good to have on hand. I have always liked good old fashioned road trip games like Counting Cows and License Plate Lingo. If you are traveling with younger children you’ll want to consider which toys will hold your child’s interest without disturbing the people around you.

 

Alamo Drive Happy - Preparing for a Fun Journey

Travel with toys that will hold your child’s attention, without disturbing others.

 

Be prepared for the unexpected. It’s always a good idea to get some basic car maintenance done before making a road trip, and make sure you have a good roadside assistance plan. Always fill prescriptions before a trip,  pack a first aid kit, and know where nearby hospitals and clinics are when you travel. You also might want to check into travel insurance. I have a friend whose husband had a mild stroke while on their family vacation last summer, which extended their trip for an additional week. You never know what can happen, so it’s a good idea to have a contingency plan in place.

Introducing the Alamo Drive Happy Box!

Over the next few months, I will be joining my fellow Alamo Chief Travel Moms to talk about family travel and to share some of our favorite travel moments. We’ll also be sharing some of our favorite products and gadgets that help make family travel easier and a lot more fun. We will be putting together a total of 4 travel themed Alamo Drive Happy boxes, which will include cool travel items hand picked by each of the Alamo Chief Travel Moms. Did I mention that we will be giving some of these fun boxes filled with travel goodies away?! We’ll be giving away 4 Alamo Drive Happy Boxes during an upcoming Twitter party! Read on for more info…

 

Family Travel - Alamo Drive Happy Box - Preparing for a Fun Journey

Alamo Drive Happy Box

 

The theme for the first box is… you guessed it… Preparing a Fun Journey!

What’s in the box?

Recommended by Dear Crissy@crissy

Leatherology Red Leather Travel Wallet

Crissy says: “A great family vacation is well-organized, and this leather travel wallet provides easy access to important travel documents and identification, allowing you to focus on having fun!”

Recommended by A Nut In A Nutshell@blueviolet

Joby Gorrillatorch Tripod Flashlight

Liz says: “Traveling with a quality flashlight ensures you’re prepared for anything, and frees you to relax and think about all the fun adventures ahead!”

Recommended by The Rebel Chick@therebelchick

Juicebar Power Tube

Jennifer says: “Everyone needs a backup battery charger for their smartphones and tablets to keep the kids entertained on long trips – especially planes since there aren’t any car-chargers available!”

Recommended by Me!@aboutamom

Monkey Mat Portable Play Mat

Angela says: “This Monkey Mat provides a safe and clean place for your child to sit and play while traveling, whether you are at the airport or a rest stop.”

Recommended by The Divine Miss Mommy@stacieinatlanta

Etymotic Noise Isolating In-Ear Earphones

Stacie says: “These earbuds let my kids, and me, have a great time – they get to watch a movie, and I don’t get disturbed! These are easy to pack for the car, plane, or hotel, and do a great job protecting your young one’s sensitive eardrums.”

 

Alamo Drive Happy Box - Preparing for the Journey - Family Travel

Preparing for a Fun Journey with the Alamo Drive Happy Box!

 

Join us for the #AlamoDriveHappy Twitter Party!

When: April 23, 2014 9-10 PM EST

What: Join us as we chat about family travel!

Where: Follow the #AlamoDriveHappy Hashtag on Twitter

Hosts: @aboutamom, @crissy, and @blueviolet

Prizes: An Alamo Drive Happy Box (4)  full of fun travel-related items to help make the most of your next trip with the family!

 

Happiness is a way of travel,  not a destination. — Roy Goodman

 

Weekend Winter Road Trip to Stone Mountain, Georgia.

Weekend Winter Road Trip to Stone Mountain, Georgia.

 

I hope you are feeling inspired for some family travel this summer! Please join us for a fun and informative Twitter chat on April 23rd at 9pm EST to talk more about preparing for a fun journey! Watch for the #AlamoDriveHappy hashtag.

Connect with Alamo: web site | Facebook | Twitter

Are you planning any fun summer travel for your family?

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Comments

  1. Oh, what fun! Congrats on this.
    I am not a big road tripper; I prefer to fly. However, we recently took a few car trips, and I enjoyed them through the experiences of our son. He loved seeing sights, playing car games, and, of course, road snacks :)

  2. We will be doing lots of local traveling during out staycation but a Happy Box would be perfect for our car. We have four kiddos and I don’t know why I haven’t done something like this before for safety and entertainment!

  3. Ooh, I want one of those boxes so I guess I’ll be seeing you at the Twitter party!

  4. Snacks & entertainment are must haves!

  5. That is one great travel kit and thanks for the tips.

  6. What a cool kit! Congratulations on being apart of the club.

  7. These are fantastic tips and great products in the Drive Happy box. I was lucky enough to be the recipient of one of these boxes, and I can tell you these products will come in hand on our 70 day road trip this summer.

  8. ellen beck says:

    Looks like alot of fun! We dont get to for long trips or very many short trips as I do cat rescue.

  9. We actually have 10 trips planned for the summer. My daughter’s turning 18 next year, so I’m taking her everywhere she wants to go before she graduates.

  10. Amy Desrosiers says:

    I will be going on a road trip in June and need all the tips I can get for traveling with three kids. I love the juice bar power pack for phones and tablets.

  11. healthy snacks are a must! curbs hunger cravings on the road.

  12. very cool kit!!!! I like it so much thanks for this reading

  13. I LOVE the yellow sun suit – Can’t touch this in 1991 was such a THING!

  14. Those are great tips and we do homemade trail mixes too as I prefer mixing up stuff the kids will eat completely.

  15. Yes we have a cruise lined up just waiting for the final paperwork.

  16. So much fun! We love taking long car rides together and just having fun and looking at all the sites!

  17. We are planning on going to Cali for my brothers wedding! Can’t wait!

  18. These are great tips! We just returned from a two week road trip across the US, and I was very surprised about the items that turned out to be necessities that I almost left at home! Thanks for sharing this info about the Twitter party. I’ll be there!

  19. Hopefully, I can make it for the Twitter party! Traveling is something I have always loved doing since I was a little girl, thanks my mom and step-dad. :)

  20. These are great tips! We are headed on a road trip next month, I will be using several of these!

  21. We are in California right now, actually, but we flew. We have a few road trips planned over the summer and we can’t wait.

  22. I definitely agree that preparing the kids, including snacks, and providing entertainment are all key to a successful road trip. We have certainly been on our fair share of long car rides!

  23. We keep lots of healthy snacks on hand for our road trips. And I keep seeing the monkey mat. I am inlove with it.

  24. Great travel tips! It’s so much easier to travel now that my girls are older. As long as they’ve got snacks, they are good!

  25. I’ve never seen a Monkey Mat before. Sounds like a great idea, the kids can get restless especially if there’s a wait or delay.

  26. These boxes are great! I love my Juicebar!

  27. We love road trips! So true that you have to be prepared. Snacks are a must!

  28. Jo-Ann Brightman says:

    These are god tips. I think it is ideal that each of the moms has a different perspective and advice for traveling .

  29. Being prepared is the key for any travel. I love these little kits that have been prepared and what is in them. Snacks are so important too.

  30. Snacks are super important :) We usually bring books and coloring supplies for entertainment.

  31. Those are some great tips! So far our only travel plans are to go to Wisconsin Dells.

  32. Awesome! I think having something like the Juicebar would be SO handy when you’re on the road, especially if you don’t have some sort of car charger.

  33. I’m taking a trip with my daughter in September and can’t wait. I’m taking a couple road trips with the boyfriend before that though!

  34. I can’t wait to take my boys on a family trip. Luckily, I learned from my mom about being prepared when traveling so I am good there.

  35. I actually prefer to travel by car with the kids. The trick is to make it a fun part of the journey. We always plan extra time into the drive (sometimes a day or two extra) so we have time to make stops and enjoy the sights that so many people just drive right by.

  36. I really love this kit. You guys did a good job picking out some neat items

  37. Loving the kit – what a great idea to keep in the car. Looking forward to the chat – and picking up some great summer driving trip tips!

  38. Great tips! We got a mini DVD player for our car trips.

  39. These are all really great tips! I like the idea of popping pop corn before leaving. You are right, having sugared up kids is no fun when traveling!

  40. We haven’t done a lot of travel this year, but last year we did a ton. Snacks were a must for our travels.

  41. As a family who travels often I have to agree with all of your tips! Keeping both your kids and tech fueled up is important.

  42. We have a trip coming up in 2 weeks! Preparing for the kids with entertainment and snacks is a must!

  43. We found being prepared for the unexpected is key! We once took a trip to Nevada that should have taken four hours and it took eat. So many stops to nurse, change diapers and then the traffic. Crazy! Great tips here.

  44. OMG, I love the MC Hammer short and tank suit!! Haha that’s so cute!! Great tips and I couldn’t agree more about the importance of being organized before a trip.

  45. I love all the picks for the Drive Happy Box! And that trail mix looks perfect!

  46. Great travel tips! Thanks for the information!

  47. kymi (@kymnasium) says:

    I hope to take the kids to my home town this year & the drive in the country is long and far, I need to get tips and ideas to keep our vacation rocking!

  48. That box looks like a must have for ALL trips! It’s going to be fun following your adventures this summer.

  49. My daughter always listens to her headphones in the car. After all, we listen to “old people” music, lol.

  50. This sounds like such a cool and helpful box! I love fishing in Clearwater.

  51. These are great tips! My family loves a good road trip too.

  52. Yes and I wish we were already there. I want to be at the beach now. :)

  53. I’ve learned I can’t tell my kids much in advance about a trip or they will keep asking if it’s time yet! They have been asking about our August vacation for three months already!

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