- If you are stopping on the way, pack one bag with everything you'll need for that night. That way you don't have to unpack the entire car. This has really streamlined our travel -- especially with all the kiddos in tow. Shove pajamas, toothbrushes, a change of clothes for each child (and parents) in a smaller bag and keep it accessible. Then when you roll into the hotel in the late hours, you only have one bag to grab along with the sleeping kids.
- Try to plan activities for the car ride. Our family is a big fan of listening to audio cds. That means for car trips, we'll often hit the library before we leave and load up on audio books. We've listened to Madeline L'Engle read the Wrinkle in Time. Laughed at the antics of the Gallagher Girls and Heist Society. And Eric and the kids could listen to Adventures in Odyssey over and over. All of these are great ways to help the miles roll away. We've avoided videos because I'd rather have the kids read or use their imaginations with the help of an audio book.
- Have a flight coming up? Those can be especially challenging for the younger kids. This is a great time to pull out new books and toys. A friend introduced us to wikki sticks -- a lifesaver for long flights. These wax sticks can be used over and over and provide lots of creative activities.
- Once your there, plan activities for all ages. Sometimes that means we can't do something I'd love because it's not right for the 18 month old. Other times we plan something the 11 year old loves. But make sure the activities are a mix. And be aware that little kids won't enjoy museums unless they're hands-on, so maybe save the art lectures until they are older.
What do you do to make travel work with your kids?