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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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
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
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.”
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
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?
Amanda H. says
These are great tips! My family loves a good road trip too.
Yes and I wish we were already there. I want to be at the beach now. 🙂
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!