Some of the best times in my life have been while traveling. I traveled to Maine the summer I was 19, working at camps, schools, and Alpine Huts. I spent another summer traveling and backpacking in National Forests with my Dad to Oregon and Washington State. My husband and I went to California soon after getting engaged (the famous 19 mile day hike occurred on this trip) and we spent a month traveling across the country from Alabama to California,
a flight to Hawaii, and back across country camping and seeing the sights. It was the best time: Just hanging out, seeing the country. We also flew to Hawaii for a week to spend time enjoying the back roads, farm stands, and hiking. And on that trip, we conceived our first child. And two and a half years later, our second child was born.
And everything changes with kids. We have made a few small trips to the mountains of North Carolina, Tennessee, the Beach…but nothing like this five thousand mile trip.
Traveling with kids: It is an adventure, and a disaster waiting to happen. Pack to little food and the whole trip goes down the drain. Pack to many activities into one day and we all meltdown. Knowing your family. Your kids. Yourself. It is all key.
Thankfully, planning and having alternative plans is what I have training in. After four years as an Outward Bound Instructor (and many other years leading backpacking and hiking trips elsewhere) I know how to plan a trip.
My family requires food, rest, and entertainment to keep it going. Thus, during long drives on this trip we would have a cooler with snacks, food, Kombucha, etc. within easy reach. Otherwise, it would be a 45 minute, or more, pit stop to unload items off the coolers in back, get the food needed, and then make snacks and head out only to stop an hour later for a pee break. And no one has time for that on a 5,060 mile trip.
Technology: to allow movies, electronic games, or not. On our short road trip to North Carolina to see how the kids would travel, we found out our son would get car sick if he watched movies while driving through the mountains. He already loved listening to Audio books from the library so we bought him a few audible audio books and that worked really well. He could look out the window and see the sights (which we really wanted) and be entertained. Our daughter listened to a few audio books as well but not as much. She liked to draw, listen to music, color and the best things was a Melissa and Doug Fairy Sticker set with clothes, etc. that she played with for weeks. Another issue was if we should get our kids their own technology, mini ipad, phone, etc for the apps. We decided to let our son use our family ipad (which I had uploaded kindle books on for reading to the kids at night) and our daughter used a small mp3 player. It worked out really well with no added expense.
For the adult seating section: my husband used his phone audible app for listening to books while driving through the night. I listened to some as well. But my main job was navigator. My smart phone (which I have only had for a year), google, google maps, and I became awesome friends. The difference between the last road trip we took with a computer that required a plug in to get internet, and this trip with a smart phone that could get instant road info, weather, wildlife, where to go, business info, etc., etc., was amazing. It really made the trip much easier.
Guide books and info: Google and I were good buddies long before we left. I used Trip Advisor reports, Fodors, and more sites to get info on places to go, campsites, etc. I also checked out travel books from the library to get some good info on where to go. I typed all of the pertinent info onto a word document and printed it out right before leaving. This had phone numbers of the places we were staying, places we wanted to go, health food stores, ideas on where to go once we got to our destinations, etc.
from almost every day. It held up well to everyday use, washing when needed, dried quickly and will be going on every trip we have from now on.
What was in that herbal first aid kit? Lots of organic, herbal, goodness. Lavender Home and Body Spray for calming, 4-Thieves Herbal Vinegar, Hand Sanitizing Spray, Super Surface cleaning spray, Healing Balm, Soothing Balm, Lip Balm, Activated Charcoal Balm, Peppermint Tea, Lavender and Peppermint essential oil, elderberry tea, comfrey leaf and bentonite clay. Want to learn more about how to use each one of these items, and make some of them? Check out my Fall and Winter Family Herbal Wellness Class coming up August 28th from 6-8 pm. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to register.
Now that these basics are covered, back to the trip.