So often I am asked "How in the heck can traveling with three kids be relaxing?"
Here are a few ways we make
- We discuss our route - miles we are traveling and time it will take us to get to where we are going.
- The number of days we have to travel.
- We decide on where to stop for the night and the hotel we will be staying at.
- We look for attractions along our route
- Plan something really FUN.
When we are finished with our planning we know where we are going, how long it will take us, where we are stopping and our plans for each day.
In the planning process we take votes on what to see and where to go. Ensuring that each of us is doing something that we wanted.
Before we leave we take a day and do our snack and food shopping. We plan our food & drink menus for the trip. We each pick items for the group. We know how many drinks each person has per day and the amount of snacks. We have learned that nothing hurts a fun time more than when one of the group has eaten all the snacks or drank all the drinks. We also buy a couple cases of water for the Jeep. We pack our Jeep Survival Bag with all the items we will need.
In the Jeep everyone has their spot. I am the driver. Caleb being the oldest he is the co-pilot - in charge of tolls and changing the radio. Isa is our map/sign girl and Davey is the food & drink guy. Every trip we take a paper map - I think learning how to use a map is key to a successful trip. With the map it is fun to listen to them work together to make sure we are on the right road. I always tell them ..."Work together so we are not LOST!"
MEAL & RELAXING TIME:
We always have picnic meals - being out of the Jeep goofy off we think is key to happy travel. No way are we sitting hours in the Jeep then having to behave in a restaurant. This is our time - the kids play and adventure around while I enjoy relaxing. What is nice is some of the newer rest areas have outdoor fun equipment for kids. Our meals are simple - sandwiches - chips - fruit and veggies. Every meal has a simple dessert. Everyone is responsible for making sure the items are back in the Jeep when we are finished at the rest areas.
Each child has a allowance for the trip. They will not get more money! NO EXCEPTIONS! They must use their money for anything that they want. If I stop and ask - I pay. If they want - they pay. This keeps money under control - as my grandfather used to say they do not
"DOLLAR me to DEATH".
"DOLLAR me to DEATH".
I keep three envelops in my purse. I hand out their money. I will discuss a purchase with them but they know it is their final decision. They also know that they will NOT get anymore money for the trip. They have learned to spend their money wisely.
- No arguing - seriously this is a great way to end the fun! I know they argue but they keep it quiet and away from me! :)
- Only one suitcase and one bag per person.
- Only two pair of shoes per person and they MUST fit in your bag or suitcase.
- Take your turn - I promise them all we will do our best to make sure we are all getting to do something we want.
- Keep your hands to yourself.
- We discuss almost everything. No one is a LONE RANGER ~ we work as a TEAM.
- Everyone goes to the bathroom every time we stop - a little tinkle is better than having to stop again in 30 minutes. :)
- Pictures - they are all responsible for picture taking. They have phones and iPads.
- Clean up after yourself
- You are responsible for your own stuff. Keep your clothes in your suitcase - dirty clothes in the dirty clothes bag.
- Carry your own items.
- We all pack the Jeep. Drinks & food is behind Davey. Map is in Isa's door pocket.
- Radio rules - we take turns - 30 minutes for each person. Starting with the youngest first.
- Davey & Isa share the charging station in the back seat - Caleb & I share the front charging station.
I know these may sound like a lot or rules to some - but I honestly think they like the rules. They know what they are responsible for and they are in control. They are fast to remind each other if anyone forgets a rule. Even ME!