This past week Joseph made a business trip to Kansas City, and I decided to turn the two nights into a fun little get away for the kids and me. Our family does a decent bit of traveling, and I thought I would share a few of our tricks for traveling with kids.
Tip 1: Take advantage of the extras your hotel has to offer.
They offer continental breakfast, and then they have their 5:30 kick-backs. The menu varies each night (baked potatoes, soup, mac-n-cheese, hot dogs, hot wings, baked spaghetti, meatballs, salad, and chips) enough that it was dinner both nights for the kids and me.
When eating breakfast, I try to have the kids eat the hot items and then we pick out some healthy other items to take back to our room for a mid morning snack.
Tip # 3: Research at home what to bring.
Be sure to pack the swim suits and water wings. The pool is always a hit and usually keeps them busy for a few hours. I am always surprised at how cold the water is. Eli and I spent most of our time on the steps, but with water wings, Eden was able to turn blue while burning off all that excitement from a long drive.
While eating out and along the drive, the kids drink water or milk. Then when I let Eden have soda, it makes it an extra special treat. So another fun extra from Drury Hotels is their late night snacks. They offer free soda and popcorn to all guest until 10pm. Getting soda is a special treat for Eden, but I still had her stick to the caffeine free options.
Eli didn’t get any soda, but he did enjoy his share of the popcorn. These paired with a movie in bed made for a fun 1st evening.
Tip #5: Pack a surprise bag.
Before our trip, Eden and I made a trip to the Dollar Tree and picked out a few goodies to put in a surprise bag. She picked a couple things that she thought would be fun, and I picked a few things she didn’t know about. Six dollars ahead of time helps fill all those waiting times that can make parents wish they didn’t go on the trip in the first place.
A head of time I had explained the surprise bag and let the kids hear the time. When they heard the timer go off, they both would get so excited. I think Eli’s excitement was because of Eden’s excitement but that is fine.
I like to spread out the activities and fun during our trip. If I let her, Eden would have done everything in the surprise bag and gone swimming within the first hour of arriving at the hotel. Practicing a little self-control is always a good lesson.
Another great use of the hotel resource is the using the iron for this bead craft. This one kept her busy for a while.
Tip # 7: Fun doesn’t have to equal lots of $.
One of the best items we brought were a set of toy boats. Using the hotel shampoo and body gel we filled bathtub up with more bubbles than our typical home bubble bathes.
The kids loved hiding the boats under the bubbles and would squeal with delight when they would find one.
Tip #8: Try to stay to your normal time schedule.
It is hard to nap and eat on our normal schedule while traveling, but I have found we all do better it we try. We started bath a little early, but I had saved this activity until our normal bath time in hopes it would be our normal clue that bed time was coming.
Tip #9: Look for free activities close by.
We spent most of the day Thursday at the Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead. It has free entrance Monday through Thursday. If you are ever in the Overland Park, Kansas area, it was a great way to spend the day.
Tip #10: Make it educational.
For our family, most of our trips are educational in some way or another. Hey, why not learn and have fun at the same time. Here Eden is practicing her map skills while she figures out what we will do first.
To make the event take a little longer, we only put a little of the rough in at a time. It is tempting to rush from one thing to the next to try and get everything in, but I have found we all have a better time if we really enjoy the activity and maybe not visit each exhibit.
This day was about spending some good time with the kids. I didn’t have other distractions like the laundry or paper work. It was about talking together, laughing, and having fun.
We did this for a good hour before I finally poured the rest of the rough in and had one last go. The opposite of rushing throughout the exhibits is staying too long.
Eden is already asking when Joseph’s next conference in KC is.
The farmstead had lots to offer. Included in our $10 was cane pole fishing, a pony ride, bottle feeding the baby goats, the mining activity, and a horse drawn carriage ride.
Tip #14: Travel with wipes and hand sanitizer.
Eden loved fishing but mommy didn’t as much, as daddy wasn’t there to take the fish off the hook. Mommy ended up having to take 3 fish off and then we gave the rest of our bait to another kid so mommy wouldn’t have to take care of more fish.
While Eli enjoyed playing in the water at the mining activity, I think he may have enjoyed bottle feeding the baby goats even more.
He knew what the bottles were for. I was afraid he might try to drink the milk, but he was too busy feeding to think about eating himself.
Tip #15: Praise the good behavoir.
With only one bottle the kids had to practice that whole sharing thing again. Sometimes it is harder than others but praising their good behavior helps to reinforce it.
Tip #16: Make new friends.
A farm trip wouldn’t be complete without a ride on a tractor and it is even more fun when doing so with a friend.
Someone’s legs were a little short so mommy had to push him around the loop.
When mommy ran out of gas Eli got off and pushed himself.
Tip #17: Be sure to bring your camera.
You will want to capture all those memories of your fun together.
I have also found that hotel rooms have great lighting for taking picture of the kids. Just pull back the comforter to the white sheets and open the windows.
This works pretty well while the TV is on. During the commercials capture a few smiles. They know they only have to smile until their show comes back on.
Getting the littlest ones to smile is the hard part. But sometimes a little bribe of candy from the surprise bag can make for big smiles.
Tip #18: Set a few rules.
1. No running in the parking lot. (We had a very close call this time – not because of my kids but because of a crazy driver. Very thankful we went over this rule ahead of time.)
2. Be a kind and courteous hotel guest. We practice walking down the halls and using quiet voice. We play it like a game now, but it is becoming a good skill.
3. We take turns. Both of my kids love pushing the button at the elevator. Knowing this we decided the outside button was Eli’s turn and the inside button was Eden’s.
Tip #19: Remember there will be tears.
It doesn’t matter how organized, cheerful, and fun I am; both my kids will have a melt down at some point. It is going to happen. I remind myself it is stressful on everyone, including the kids, to travel. I give them an extra cuddle and most of the time that is all that is needed.
Tip #20: Try not to bring too much.
This is hard when traveling with kids, but remember everything you bring you have to put away when you get home.