Thursday, June 5, 2014

Vacationing with a big family

As summer vacation has gotten underway, the harsh realization that we have many a big trip planned this summer has hit me like a ton of bricks. I'm nervous...there is so much potential for things to go wrong! I have been scouring the internet for tips on taking a very long road trip with kids of all ages and I found a few gems-plus some of the tricks I've been using before.

1. Pack a lunch box instead of a cooler...each kid gets a lunchbox packed with snacks and a few drinks. This has to last them the day, and if they run out, it's too bad, so sad. This has worked WONDERS for me in the past!

2. Walmart sells colored lunch baggies-buy them! My kids have a nasty habit of leaving trash in the car. Each child picked their own color of bag and I packed all their snacks accordingly. When someone leaves trash out it's no longer a game of he said/she said...if your baggie is on the floor, you're getting in trouble.

3. Pack the suitcases as far in advance as possible. I've already started packing for our trip to Michigan in a few weeks-the stuff that my kids don't need but we will be taking, that is. Actually, the girls' suitcase is completely packed, and the boys' suitcase is almost done. I'll pack mine later on!

4. Invest in some activities! We recently had a dollar store open here which has been a fantastic place to get cheap coloring/activity books and keep little ones' hands busy. I packed a medium sized tote, small enough to fit on the floor, full of fun activities for the boys and girls to do. 

5. Presents to open at certain intervals. I purchased other small gifts from the dollar store so the kids would have something to open when we stopped. I also picked up some of the $5 DVDs from Walmart and wrapped those. At each stop, ONE kid gets to open ONE thing...

Things that do not work for me...

1. Packing specific outfits in gallon ziploc bags. I find my kids like to march to the beat of their own drum...predetermined outfits are a no go.

2. Letting the kids pack their *own* suitcases. For one, we don't have the room to have them all take their own bag. Second, I cannot trust my kids to pack a proper amount of clothes. They would wind up with tons of swimshorts, two t-shirts, and no underwear...