Traveling with a baby/child/husband (woops.. did I just type that?!) can be taxing. Our family lives all over the East Coast so we do a TON of driving. My Mother's about 8 hours away, Father-in-law 13 hours away and my Mother-in-law is the closest at 2. Throw in the New York/Long Island traffic and no matter how you slice it, it's a LONG trip. Our oldest son is really amazing when it comes to long car trips. My youngest? Holy moley.. he's the other extreme (good thing he's so cute). Here are some tips we've found that keeps us all happy to be (and stay) a family.
1. Remain Flexible
I find things are usually made easier when you are able to remain flexible. Forget the time. Forget that you JUST stopped at the last rest-stop and you don't even need gas yet. Sometimes they didn't have to
when you last stopped. You're in the car for a while, 10 more minutes isn't going to kill you. I also recommend NOT keeping track of drive-time. There seems to be this need out there to be able to quickly answer the question "how long did it take you" with the shortest possible time. Why is that? We're not 17 anymore and you're probably driving a minivan. Relax, enjoy the ride.
I like to have a few tricks up my sleeve. I usually try and get a few new coloring or sticker books. The "
" books are wonderful too. Don't bring the treats out until just before you hear, "are we there yet." We recently purchased
LeapPad by Leap Frog
for my son and that works out GREAT. You can plug in headphones and he's off reading, playing games, learning, and the adults can sit and listen to "grown-up" music or TALK.
3. Frequent Stops
Some rest stops have indoor McDonald's Playland parks in them. If not, find a McDonald's off the highway. McDonald's has a great website which lets you find the ones with indoor playgrounds. It's important for the kids to stretch those little muscles. Remember, they have a 5-point restraint; feet don't reach the floor, and have no concept of time and no control over their trip. Give them a break. Face it: happy kids mean happy parents.
4. Where You'll Stay
We mostly stay in hotels when we visit family for the holidays--it's a better way to reduce the stress-level. However, it can be expensive. To save money during the already expensive season, I rely heavily on sites like
, and other vacation sites.
Sites To Check
NEW Hotwire Weekender Packages -- Savings on Short Notice!
Save on 3-day Weekends at Site 59
Travel Deals at Orbitz!
Go ahead, Treat Yourself. Spa Finder, Inc
Click Enterprise for Your Weekend Special Rates