7 Tips for Traveling with Children and Having Fun

As most of you know, I love to travel and I have totally passed on the travel bug to my family! YAY :) We love to go on adventures big or small and explore new places!  Flying for a family of 4 can get expensive, so lots of our trips are road trips!  But, on the occasion where we do get to fly, we still use the same system for traveling with our kiddos because it seems to work great for us!  So, if you'll be traveling with children this year and are a little nervous (as well you should be!) take a deep breath and check out the tips below on how to make traveling with children less stressful and lots more fun!

1.  Prep the kids.  If you'll be in the car for a few hours, let them know.  Tell them how long the flight is going to be.  Depending on the age of your kiddos, you don't have to be exact.  A simple, "We're going to be on this plane for a long time." Is enough.  This helps keep the "Are we there yet" chants at bay, at least for a little while! 

2.  Keep your expectations low.  Kids are kids.  They will get cranky, they will ask a million questions, they will get bored, they will need to go to the bathroom 5 minutes after you asked if they needed to go and they said no.  If you mentally prepare yourself for these situations, they may not seem so major when they actually happen.  Don't expect perfection from them, but do tell them what type behavior you want from them.  I find that if I tell my kids how I want them to behave beforehand, it's easier to redirect them when they get rowdy or off track.  

3.  Have entertainment.  Yup, I am not above having my kids watch movies or play games on an ipad or laptop when I know it's going to be a long trip.  We also pack them books, small toys, pencils, crayons, and paper to draw.  For our last road trip we printed out a few family-friendly road trip games online, such as license plate games and I Spy.  We even found Road Trip Bingo game cards!  

4.  Plan a surprise (or two!) On our road trip to Ensenada, Mexico this past spring, we used our Happy Family Movement Road Trip in a Box kit.  This was a blast!  The kids really loved opening up the packages at the designated times and taking breaks to play with water guns, blow bubbles, or just have a dance party in the middle of nowhere!  The kits are no longer available to purchase, but you can totally make your own!  Just grab a few fun dollar type toys, wrap them up, give them instructions on when to open them and wait for the fun to happen!  You could do simple things like temporary tattoos, gummy worms, stamp kits, an inflatable beach ball, etc!!! The possibilities are endless and will definitely make for a memorable trip!  

5.  Rest.  This one, I learned from experience!  We totally didn't plan for much rest on our summer trip to the east coast and we hit the ground running when we go there.  This was a huge mistake and we ended up with some major cranky jet lagged kids in Washington DC!  Once we slowed down a bit and they got a good night's sleep, we were great.  The remainder of our trip was awesome!  From now on, we start our trips a bit slower, don't plan a ton of activities when we first arrive, especially if there's a time difference, and we find it makes for a much better trip overall!  

6.  Start travel traditions.  We love to goecache! So, for us going on a trip also means we get to do a fun geocache in another state.  The kids expect it now and it's part of our road trip tradition.  Whenever we travel to California or Utah, you know we're going to have Chick-fil-a because we don't have any in Vegas.  Also, when we go on road trip, you know Johnny Cash's Everywhere Man is gonna be playing!  Our traditions aren't too big but they're ours and we love them!  Whatever your tradition is, big or small, your kids will love it.  Traditions make kids feel special and who doesn't love that?

7.  Have Fun!  Some of my best memories as a child are from family vacations and I really want my kiddos to have these kinds of memories too!  I love it when one of my kids starts off a conversation with, "Remember when we did/went..." We know that traveling with children can be tough and tiring, but it's also so worth it!  And the best part about traveling with little ones is that they don't remember the time when you were stressed out at the rental car ticket counter or the time they made you upset because they broke a coffee mug at the souvenir shop, nope, kids tend to forget that stuff pretty quickly.  They'll remember the little things.  The ice cream cone you got them at the beach, the fun rides they rode over and over, the jokes you told, the giggles, the fun, the good stuff.  And at the end of it all, that's what really matters.  The good stuff!  

Here's to safe travels, fun adventures, and making memories that last a lifetime! 

Road Trip in a Box | The Happy Family Movement

I am so excited we FINALLY got to use our Road Trip in a Box kit from The Happy Family Movement!  If you haven't been over to their website, you're missing out on a great resource for family fun!  I met Josh & Jenny, the fab couple behind the website, a few years ago at a photographers workshop and have gotten to know them throughout the years.  They took our family photos last year & we just love them!  They are truly inspiring and I love how they are honest about family life and focus on living intentionally.

Isn't the packaging just too cute?!?! 

Isn't the packaging just too cute?!?! 

Anyhow, awhile back I won this Road Trip in a Box kit from the giveaway they hosted (woohoo!).  We have been on lots of trips since then, but none were road trips long enough that I felt we needed or could use the Road Trip in a Box until now.  We took it out and used in on our road trip to Ensenada, Mexico.  You can read all about the trip HERE!  

The Road Trip in a Box comes with a manual that helps plan your trip and has helpful tips on what to pack, etc.  It's great if you're new to road trippin' with kiddos or if you haven't been to successful in the past ;) It also includes activities with instructions all wrapped up with a designated time to open them during the trip.  These activities really helped us have fun during the trip and gave the kids something to look forward to, as well.

I highly recommend checking out their website for lots of family fun ideas, especially their Summer Bucket List Challenge coming up!  Of course, if you are planning a road trip with your little ones, this Road Trip in a Box is a real lifesaver.  It's just got simple and fun activities that the whole family will enjoy together.  It makes the time driving to your destination part of the adventure and not just a long boring drive.   Our kids would really look forward to when it was time to open a new package because they knew they'd be getting out of the car and doing something fun.

Check out more from The Happy Family Movement and their Road Trip in a Box is on sale right now!  You don't want to miss out on all the fun! 

Spring Break Road Trip 2014 | Las Vegas to Ensenada, Mexico

In case you didn't already know it, I love to travel!  I love getting out and seeing new places.  I get it from my parents :) Anyhow, our last family trip was in August and it didn't go so great (Elysse got sick and we had to cut it short!) You can read all about it HERE.  Needless to say, I was itching to get away as a family.  Diego's school is year-round, so rather than the conventional 3 months off during the summer, he gets 3week track breaks throughout the year, the first was in November and now in March.  We figured we'd take advantage of the time off and call it Spring Break!  Our little road trip consisted of driving to San Diego from Las Vegas then from San Diego to Ensenada, Mexico.  We arrived late afternoon to La Jolla Beach where we were all ready to run around in the sand and stretch our legs!  

The next day, I got up early and went on a quick 2 mile run before our super fun whale watching tour.  We were told not to expect too much since they don't always see whales, but we were in for a major treat!  We first saw a huge pod of about 100 common dolphins playing and jumping over the waves made by the boat.  This was Elysse's favorite part since she was really able to see them up close.  And then, not only did we see whales, but we saw them mating! Yup, 3 huge grey whales (2 males, 1 female) were frolicking and courting right in front of our boat.  It was an amazing sight!  Talk about getting close to nature!  Diego had a few questions afterwards....awkward!!! Aside from those whales, we also saw 2 others in the distance for a total of 5 whale sightings!  

After the tour we had some lunch and drove the second half of our trip to Ensenada, Mexico.  We  were all beat from the drive, but we were super hungry so we found a taco place and enjoyed some delicious local food!  The next morning we went to see La Bufadora, one of the largest blowholes in North America.  The street leading to the blowhole is lined with vendors selling all sorts of things from food and drinks to toys and tshirts!  The kids loved it and Diego got to haggle with the vendors! It was pretty funny, but they did come down in price for him ;) 

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Yes, they were hoping people would give them money.  Nobody did! 

Yes, they were hoping people would give them money.  Nobody did! 

I wasn't expecting the weather to be as warm as it was so I didn't pack swim suites.  Elysse was dying to play in the sand at the beach, so we made a quick stop at Wal-Mart (yup, they even have Starbucks & Costco!) got some bathing suites for the kids and spent the rest of our afternoon playing at the beach, collecting seashells, and enjoying the beach all to ourselves! It was perfect! 

The next day, I woke up a little early and did a quick 20 minute interval workout that my trainer gave me before we left.  It felt great to get 2 workouts in during the trip, especially since I wasn't being 100% paleo ;)   On our last full day, we drove out to La Cava de Marcelo, a cheese farm I had heard of on Trip Advisor.  It was so worth the drive!  We enjoyed a nice tour of the farm, learned how they make their artisan cheeses, and had a tasting of 5 different cheeses in the cave.  Afterwards, the kids played around and we ate a delicious lunch al fresco!  We ended our evening with some shopping along the main street of Ensenada and a seafood dinner!

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This trip was a lot of fun and wasn't too packed with activities, so we were all able to just relax and enjoy our days away from the routine.  The drive back to the US however, was not very fun and traffic to get across the border was over 2 hours, even with ReadyPass, which is faster.  I think the regular line was about 4 hrs!! As soon as we crossed the border we headed to Balboa Park so the kids could run around and stretch before the long ride home.  

Huge thanks to Happy Family Movement for their Road Trip in a Box!  Those packages made our trip a lot more fun.  I'll be blogging all about that on Monday, so stay tuned!  Thanks for sticking around and reading all about our latest adventure!  Do you have any fun adventures planned with your family soon? I'd love to hear about them in the comments below ;)