At last! Spring break is around the corner and we are excited for a mini vacation. Kerry and I are taking the kiddos to Williamsburg, Va to soak up the sun and fun! We’re hitting up Busch Gardens Adventure Park, Colonial Williamsburg and will stop in at the College of William & Mary. Even though we don’t have high schoolers, I’ve been told that the W&M campus is gorgeous and worth checking out. I didn’t realize that W&M is 324 years old. Amazing! It will be good for Jackson to experience a college environment that has such a long and rich history.
As far as getting there, Williamsburg, Virginia is about a 7 to 8 hour drive from home. I’ve already started to prepare for the long road trip by stocking up on snacks, drinks, movies, and games to keep the kids fed and entertained.
Last summer, we drove to the Outer Banks, North Carolina, but broke up the 12 hour trip into two days. We’d never been in the car for that length of time in one stretch, and I wasn’t sure how Jackson and Catherine would do. Ends up, they were totally fine and we realized that we could have made the drive in one day.
I’m always searching for tips on traveling with kids, which is why I’m so excited to have Jenn Record as a guest blogger on Connecticut in Style today! Jenn and her husband, Dan, travel extensively with their two children. She’s a pro at this and I’m so happy to share her advice with my readers. I especially love her tip on bringing a lap desk! Catherine is an avid drawer and this will keep her happy for hours.
| Catherine’s all ready to go with a lap desk and art supplies |
Tips for Traveling with Kids
Here is Jenn’s article on Must Have Items for Traveling with Young Children
With warmer weather, and longer vacations on the horizon, I am excited to hit the road with my family. We prefer to drive because of the opportunities it affords to see our country in a whole new light: new land, new people, and new traditions. For the past four summers, my family has taken off for weeks at a time. We’ve become very proficient at packing, with a little help from Sarah’s posts on packing tips and packing a carry on suitcase.
My husband and I both feel strongly about limiting the amount of screen time our children have and we prefer to travel with more engaging ways to occupy our children. Here are some of our “must pack” items:
1. Melissa and Doug License Plate game: We call my son “Eagle Eyes” because of his ability to quickly spot out-of-state license plates. He loves tracking how many cars we can find from different states. This game makes it easy to keep track, as well as learn the American geography. We also love it because there are no loose pieces. If you are tight on space, here is a link to a printable version.
2. Lap Desk: We prefer one with a cushion, like this one from Pottery Barn that can double as a pillow for tired heads and that has a closed compartment. It also helps to contain writing utensils, postcards, paper and other small objects my children are notorious for collecting.
3. Crayon holder: In warm weather you don’t want them melting all over your car! We like this crayon holder from Personalization Mall, because it’s easy for little hands to put the crayons back, and the holder can easily be tossed in your pocketbook or backpack to bring with you. If you’re a seamstress, there are tons of tutorials for DIY on Pinterest.
4. Word searches, puzzles and I spy games: keep those young minds alert while school is out! We love downloading and printing games from sites such as MomsMinivan.com. We like the Travel Auto Bingo game – easy to transport and keeps everyone entertained.
5. Healthy snacks: The best way to ward off meltdowns (from kids and adults!) is by making sure no one goes hungry. Our kids love Honest Kids juice boxes or Poland Springs small water bottles to keep them hydrated. If we’re staying at a hotel, we always grab an extra piece of fruit at breakfast to eat mid morning. Before leaving on a trip, we like to stock up on granola bars, freeze dried fruit, fruit crushers, and fruit strips from Trader Joe’s. We tend to shy away from food that would melt (like chocolate) or stain clothes or car seats (like berries).
6. Zip lock bags: these lifesavers have multiple uses! We use them to collect souvenirs, like shells from a beach walk, or to carry small toys or card games, and to keep snacks organized. Ziploc bags can also be used to collect trash and or in an emergency when someone gets motion sickness. We also keep a spare set of clothes for each child in a ziplock bag under the car seats, just case someone has an “accident” and we don’t have time to return to the hotel.
7. Postcards and stamps: I haven’t personally done this, but I know several people who have purchased a postcard for everyday of their trip. Each family member writes his or her highlight from the day, and then they mail the postcard home. At the end of the trip, they bind the postcards into a scrapbook as a memento. Pinterest has a collection of variations on this concept. There are some times when we use technology on our trips. Google maps and Waze help us avoid traffic jams and delays. We also like the Food Network’s Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives website, where you can search for local restaurants. We have a fairly hard rule about NOT eating at fast food restaurants. We prefer to eat “like the locals.” It gives us a sense of the area and we often pick up tips about places to visit from the local patrons. Safe travels!
Jenn Record is an English teacher in Darien, Connecticut. With her husband, Dan, and children Charlotte and Nathan, she has driven over 15,000 miles in the past five years, visiting almost half of the country. She also writes about her family’s travels for Kidventurous.com
| I picked up a couple new games and a movie |
Organization is so important on a long road trip. One of the things that I treated myself to was a Mark & Graham 2-in-1 Car Organizer. I use it on a day-to-day basis for shopping. It can hold three grocery bags, or two grocery bags and a removable soft sided cooler for things like milk and frozen foods. On a trip, it is ideal for storing snacks and keeping drinks cold.
| love this 2-in-1 Car Organizer from Mark & Graham |
| it features a removable soft sided cooler for ice and drinks |
| cold drinks for the road |
| assorted snacks |
| these wipes are a life saver for keeping hands clean after rest stops |
| even got it monogrammed with MOM |