Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Travel with Kids: Road Trip

We left for a road trip on Sunday.  We headed to California, where we're spending a few days at Disneyland and then our last couple days on the beach. It's a trip we've planned for almost a year, and a great one to be our last trip of 2010.

Our kids are great travelers.  Without any prompting, Lydia packed her own backpack for the trip.  She chose to bring baby dolls who are smaller, because they fit easily into the backpack.  She packed her iPod Touch and headphones, as well as her favorite blankie and a few lollipops. Exactly what I would have packed for her. (and have packed for her numerous times in the past.  It's so nice to see that she was paying attention.)

The boys did the same, bringing things that would easily fit in their backpacks and keep them entertained on the road and at the hotel. They both packed their own clothes as well, and while Bo went through them to check, very little needed to be changed or added (Nate underestimated his need for underwear . . . but otherwise they would have been fine.)

The car we took on the trip is smaller than our minivan, and we weren't sure how the kids would do sharing a single backseat.  To my delight, they did just fine sharing a small backseat for the 7+ hours we spent on the road.  They kept busy playing with their electronics for part of the trip, looking out the window for part of the trip, and we all listened to an audiobook for a few hours.  The only frustration was the delay caused by road construction -- nothing within our vehicle.

I planned in advance, knowing we would have a refrigerator at the hotel, and brought 3 bags of snacks and food as well as drinks.  The food I brought has given us the freedom of not freaking out over the cost of eating out, since we have only had to eat one meal out per day. It's not easy to eat inexpensively within Disney, but since I brought breakfast items, lunch items and snacks I've been able to keep the food costs low on this trip. Bringing food from home has also lessened any frustration from my picky eater refusing to eat restaurant fare. If necessary, he can order just a drink while we enjoy a meal, because I know there is peanut butter, crackers and apples waiting in our room for him to eat.  On the other end, eating out just once per day allows my adventurous eater the freedom to try new foods because if he doesn't like them, there's peanut butter and crackers back in the room! 

The kids have settled into the routine of staying in a hotel with no problems.  Lydia immediately came into the room and unpacked her small bag into one of the drawers. The boys knew they needed to make an ice run and scouted out the ice room as we headed to our room the first night.  Everyone jockeyed for position in one of the 5 sleeping spots, but there were no arguments or complaints -- just simple discussion about who was a bed hog and who kicked off the covers.

I started 2010 with a wish to travel more as a family, and we definitely spent a lot of time traveling this year (both as a family and Bo & I independently for work.)  I am grateful that I'm raising 3 kids who are excellent travelers, and I can't wait to see where life takes them.  In fact, I can't wait to see where 2011 may take us!

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