- Pack an "Always with you" bag. No matter the age of your child there is always something you will need immediately. Better to have it with you in the cabin of your vehicle, on your back at the event/location you're at for the day, or in the airplane, under the seat in front of you.
- In said bag, ALWAYS pack a back-up/spare outfit, down to unmentionables, for each traveler, including yourself and spouse.
- For kids in diapers/training pants, pack 1 diaper/Pull-Up for each hour of travel on the main part of your trip. Also include an UNOPENED package of wipes.
- ALWAYS take your children's OTC medications. Never assume that you won't need that Tylenol/Motrin, Mylicon, teething gel/tablets or nose-sucker!!!!
- Include waaayyyy more snakcy things than you can imagine your child eating in 2 days. Munching on Cheerios handles boredom, unending questions and the hunger all at once.
- Pack things that your children like to play with/do, like a coloring book and box of crayons that are new. Splurge on the couple of bucks for a new book that will be a treat. Save those toys from the kids' meals at fast food joints.
- Pack a box of Shout wipes, or a Tide-To-Go pen...trust me...somehow they'll find a way to smear grease all over themselves and you!
- Find a small fan to pack in your bag to create white noise in your kids' sleeping area at your destination.
- Use travel sites to book suites at hotels that are TRUE suites to give the kids a place to sleep away from you and your spouse. You'll all be happier. Trust me!
- Pack laundry detergent and have cash to use on-site laundry facilities and then pick some time (during naps?) to actually DO laundry at least once before you head home. Again...trust me.
Once you've reached your destination, be prepared to handle the following scenarios:
- refusal to nap/sleep
- refusal to use the potty when at home they are stellar potty performers
- refusal to eat
- whining that never ever happens at home
- accidents that result in the need of band-aids and neosporin (which you should pack), as well as a dose of Tylenol/Motrin
- lost or broken sunglasses for any family member
- lost or broken toys from home
- constant cry of "but I neeeeed it!" from family members (including the grown-ups)
To back these things up, let me share some of our adventures with you.
It all started with a camping trip in our new travel trailer. It is a snazzy trailer, in which we are safe and comfortable from wind, hail, rain and snow storms. I know this because we endured it all. We have a kitchen area, and a bathroom, plenty of places to keep things like clothes and toys, and can even hook up a tv and pick up satellite channels if we wanted to.
On the first trip, things were fine...cooking was great, sleeping was fun. Even the dog had a good time. 2nd trip, also good, we flew solo, had a great time, enjoyed exploring a State Park that is actually only about 10 minutes from our house. 3rd trip it was sprinkling and then pouring just as BB finished the set-up of all things we needed set up. We spent the first 6 hours of our trip inside the trailer reading, playing cars, playing cards, and building Lego towers. The next day, everything was MUDDY. I hadn't planned on things soaked in mud, or accidents which required clothing to be washed. Now, don't get me wrong...we had full hook-ups and enjoyed fresh water, power and sewer...it was nice. However...at this camp ground, the laundry was at the other side, only took quarters...I had to buy stuff at the little store, just to have money to operate the machines. It sucked. Had I packed our own detergent, extra clothing, and a box/bag of change, we'd have been golden...however...
On our trip to the In-Laws in August, Captain Chaos threw up before we even took off on the plane. I had no bags to put soiled clothing in, nothing with which to clean up the boy, BB or the car seat...we spent the entire trip praying it would be dry on the way to the folks' house so we could drive with windows cracked to alleviate the smell...then, I ended up doing 14 loads of laundry while we there for 10 days. Yes, you read that right...between sick tummies, and not using the potty, we had to wash our clothes every day, sometimes more...
On our recent trip to the In-Laws, we packed grocery bags, extra clothes, wet wipes, laundry detergent, extra pull-ups...but no OTC medications. The 6th day we were there, Captain was so excited about seeing his cousins and, being in "performer" mode, he was all riled up, goofy, laughing and, as many 3 1/2 year olds do, not exercising what little judgmental ability he has. Being encouraged by cousins and Uncle MotorcycleMan, was spinning around and around in the living room. He got dizzy and fell over a couple of times, chose to ignore Mommy and Daddy telling him to stop, and finally fell over into the coffee table, and hit the bridge of his nose square on. He scratched it pretty badly, also scratched dangerously close to his eye, whacked his head and his elbow, and was miserable. He was swollen, achy and cranky. We had to make an emergency trip to the pharmacy to get a bottle of Children's Motrin, from which we have used 3 doses total. I had to spend extra money for something that I have 2 full bottles, and 1 mostly full bottle of at home because I didn't plan on emergencies... OH! I almost forgot that the next night he was trying to turn around in his chair at the dinner table and somehow managed to tip it over and crack his head on the laminate wood floor...good times I tell ya!
It sucked. In addition to the emotional stress of the whole wonky family situation (which I'll share soon, after I process the whole mess a bit more), we had the stress of Captain's injuries (which could have been much much worse than they were), as well as the stress of knowing we were costing MIL and FIL many things...ugh...
That being said, there were many highlights of our trip, and we're already trying to plan for a summer road trip to see Grandma and Grandpa and use the trailer and camp. I'm not sure how a road trip with a 5-month-old will go...any advice?
The baby is due mid-March and BB was thinking maybe late August for our trip so we can go and be back before school starts up again, assuming that we're enrolling Captain in school again next year. The timing won't matter if I home school starting next fall.
Help! I need your advice on the traveling and the home schooling!!!!