Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Tuesday's Tip on Travel

DH and I have burned some rubber on the roads leading out of Florida into Georgia. We've been to the NC mountains, Macon, Georgia, Atlanta, Raleigh, NC, Hilton Head, SC, Savannah, and to the beach in North Carolina. These trips are not for those with weak stomachs. All of these routes take a minimum of 6 to 10 hours. We add to our excitement by carrying five children with us on these excursions. Two of the five have known carsickness. I have learned the art of traveling quickly, lightly, and with little vomiting action. Here are my tips:

-Choose a place to visit that has a washer and dryer. If you are staying with someone else, ask in advance if you can use their machines like you are at home. Bring plenty of detergent, Shout, and dryer sheets, and leave them with your hostess as a thank you for letting you use her machines. Being able to wash your clothes will save you when it comes to packing.

-Pack as lightly as possible because clothes procreate in your bags. For a 2 week trip to North Carolina, I only packed 3 pairs of underwear per daughter (with the exception of our 3-year old who needed more just in case). This did mean that I had to stay on top of our washing, so if you think you'll have little time to wash, add a pair or two more.

-Choose 2 great looking outfits for yourself and up to 3 smocked dresses or cute outfits for your children. If you are staying for just a weekend, you only need 1 or 2 special dresses for girls, and a nice pair of shorts or pants for a boy with 2 polo shirts.

-Plan your outfits in advance so that you know what you need for each occasion. We dress up to play Bingo at the beach, so I packed matching dresses for our girls and a nice shirt and shorts for our boy.

-Pack one pair of shoes for the beach or pool. Little children do not need a new pair of shoes for every bathing suit while on vacation.

-Pack 2 or 3 bathing suits and swim shirts.

-Pack 2 pairs of playclothes/ shorts and t-shirts and 3 pairs of socks.

-Pack one pair of nice shoes for children that will match every outfit. We chose gold Sun San sandals for our girls.

-If at all possible, do not pack towels and sheets.

-Leave the family pet at home if you have a good pet sitter/boarder.

-DO pack a cooler with water, drinks, and snacks like fruit or cheese sticks.

-DO fill a water bottle with ice and water for each child but encourage them to not drink it all at one time.

-Do bring a book per child for them to read, one or 2 games, and some art supplies for rainy days.

-If you are going to leave extra early in the morning, give the children a bath and then have them sleep IN THEIR CLOTHES. Leave out their toothbrushes, toothpaste, ONE hairbrush, and their shoes. Those things can easily be added to the car in the morning. This eliminates a big pile of pajamas and a struggle to get dressed when you are trying to get out the door. Our family of 7 left at 6 am because the children slept in their clothes!

-Go to the grocery store and buy yogurt or make hard-boiled eggs or buy fruit to eat in the car on your way so that you don't have to stop for breakfast.

-Get on the road early before their is a lot of traffic and your trip will be shorter! If we can do it, you can too!

-Pack new DVDs or ones the children haven't viewed in a while for entertainment as needed.

-Give Dramamine or Bonine to those who get car sick.

-Invest in a GPS. It makes a huge difference!

-Leave for your trip with a FULL tank of gas. Refill it when you are are down to a half tank!

-When you stop for lunch or dinner, use the restroom, but then eat in the car. This will save you a lot of time!

-Pack a nice hostess gift. Offer to bring a cooler full of casseroles or to buy food when you arrive. You should also bring your own alcohol.

-Bring your camera and make sure the batteries are charged and that you have a new memory card.

-Pack a travel journal if you like to write.

-Leave your room better than you found it. Wash the sheets, clean the bathroom, vacuum, or sweep.

-Write a thank you note to your host/hostess while driving for all of those hours!

-Drive carefully and be safe!


Travelbugmom said...

You are a brave one to take such long trips with so many little ones! I thought we were the only crazies to do it years ago. Great list! I found that headphones help too and a book on tape for hubby and I! Are you on vaca now? If so, have a safe and happy journey.

PS wanted to ask you something....email you me when you are able....

Mom on the Run said...

We used to do the epic half transcontinental trip from Atlanta to Nebraska every year when our kids were little (back in the stone ages...pre DVD in the minivan). I always packed white underwear, white socks and lots of white shirts for everybody because it was just one load of laundry. Navy or jeans shorts (remember, this was the 1990's!) to match. No matter what the forecast, always threw in a pair of jeans and sweatshirt (Nebraska weather is totally unpredictable...it can be 100 one day and 65 the next). I actually always packed one beach towel per person, but made sure it was accessible in the minivan--works as a blanket if the a/c is too cold, quick clean up for spills, etc.

It's definitely an art traveling with a large family. Another thing I did early on was order each child their own monogrammed suitcase from Lands' End (sadly they don't make this style anymore, but we still all use them...and I got them when J4 was 3!) Everyone was always expected to carry their own luggage and if it didn't fit, you didn't bring it. So much easier than trying to locate stuff in one big bag when bedtime rolled around. We once traveled with DOTR's brother and wife and their 4 kids and they brought everything under the sun--we travel light and it is so much easier. You find out you don't need everything you own with you at all times very quickly!

Mama Tully said...

Great tips! The idea of traveling with kiddos seems soooo overwhelming! We only have one right now ands it's already such a project!

JMW said...

GREAT tips for the long road trip! We're in a similar boat - already had the trip to the beach in NC (we flew, though, but still the logsitics can be staggering) and then we're heading to the mountains in Blowing Rock next week. This time, we're driving. God bless you for doing this with five kids - shew!

Jo said...

Whew ~ you have been on the go this summer!

Love your tips ~ have used many of them when my guy was little. I'm still guilty of over packing. I always throw in more than I'll need at the last minute just in case.

Have a great week ~

Annie said...

You always have the best tips!

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Seersucker Scrapper said...

Great tips! The drive to our house is 4.5 hours and we couldn't make it without the portable DVD. One of my favorite modern inventions! ;)

3 Peanuts said...

Sounds like we travel just like you! I even bring my drying rack with me when we rent a beach house;)

Black Labs and Lilly said...

Such great tips Mama Henley! The more I travel on my own, or plan trips with friends, the more I understand the importance of having a solid plan in place to get to my destination quickly, safely and efficiently!

Anonymous said...

Bingo at the Beach? I know what that means: The Cloister! I spent the happiest days of my life as a Junior Staffer. I don't think I'll ever make it as a guest though..I should've put that on the husband checklist! Maybe in my next life.......

Love your blog and your timeless, classy comments. It's how I was raised...

Southern Champagne Wishes said...

I love road trips and those are some great tips for anyone! I do find that planning an outfit for each event or occasion helps tremendously, rather than taking a lot of things and deciding later.

Thank you for stopping by my blog today! Yours is fab!