Make traveling with the kids easier

Published 4:01 pm Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Spring Break is almost here and the businesses along I-65 South are gearing up to welcome every car, van and busload of families.

School kids are already experiencing “spring fever,” so it isn’t too early to pull the suitcases down and start packing for a road trip.

Traveling with children can be fun when you are prepared for the road ahead:

Let children pack their own travel bags: While the age of your child will determine whether they can pack their own clothes, most children can pack their travel bag. Make sure the bag is appropriate for the space (such as backseat or airplane). Help them consider the length of travel, time of day and who is playing with them. A board game is great for the hotel, but hard to use when the parents are driving.

Seating arrangements: Talk about this ahead of time to avoid back-seat fights with siblings.

Consider changing seats at each stop to break up the monotony of the trip.

Allow time and places for children to work off their energy: Every parent has heard “he is touching me,” “she is looking at me,” and “are we there yet?” Be ready for these adorable outbursts!

Be prepared for messes: Baby wipes can be used for everything from wiping hands after pumping gas to changing a diaper, cleaning faces and even getting fingerprints off the windows. Have a stash of gallon size zip-loc bags to use for trash.

Consider taking along a friend or babysitter: Parents are not the only source of entertainment. Bringing along a friend or someone to give the parents a break may mean more fun for all. Many resorts offer supervised programs where they can enjoy activities geared for their age.

Food and sleep: No one (parents included) does well when one is too tired or too hungry. Try to keep to a regular schedule as much as possible. Pack snacks and favorite foods that will remind everyone of home. Eat as healthy as possible.

One last thing before you lock the front door and jump into the car: Take a quick inventory. Is everyone present (“Home Alone” anyone?)? All toys and suitcases packed? Nothing left on the car roof or garage floor? Spring break or bust.