We’ve done lots of traveling in our 11 years of parenting, and the number of children in our family just keeps growing! (although we are halted at 5, for now at least!) I know that many people are intimidated to travel with their children, and believe me, I get that. It definitely is LOTS of work but with plenty of preparation and a good frame of mind, you can make it work and enjoy time as a family away from home! Here are some of my tips for traveling with a large family:
I don’t start packing too early since we usually need the clothes I need to pack in the days leading up to the trip, but do go ahead and start a list well ahead of time.
I also keep a notepad and pencil by my bed during this time, including the night before the trip. That way, I can add anything since my brain seems to go into overdrive the night before we travel. Once it’s on the list, I’m able to go back to sleep instead of saying, “Don’t forget to pack sunscreen” in my head all night long.
Our 2011 trip- we drove to South Carolina for my cousin’s wedding, then spent time in North Carolina as well. This is in a cave, trying to escape a rainstorm during a hike.
It’s hard getting prepared to leave so early, but trust me, it’s worth it to not be rushed.
This makes it SO much easier in the mornings when you’re trying to dress your little ones and are running on little-to-no-sleep (hello, jet lag!).
4.) For driving trips, consider driving at night.
My parents live 3 hours away from us, and we make the trip at least once a month. We have found that if we leave out around 7 p.m. and the kids haven’t napped, it makes the trip much easier. They usually have a snack (are you seeing a recurring theme? Snacks are important!) and then will fall asleep by 8 and sleep until we get there. Many times, we are able to drive straight through with no stops!(Just make sure you are plenty rested for late-night excursions!)
5.) Adjust your expectations
When it’s just two of you, you can plan several activities per day and eat in nice restaurants. With the family, it’s better to plan one main activity per day. When we do a long trip (7+ days) we usually have one day where we don’t plan anything- just have a day of rest at the cabin/hotel so no one (including me!) gets worn out.