We invited our friend Jaime of Relish to write a guest post featuring her travel tips and hacks for getting the family out on the road for an adventure together. Read her great advice below, and share some tips of your own.
Our family of three’s motto is “accumulate experiences, not stuff.” Travel and being exposed to and learning about other cultures is a cornerstone of our existence. Many people think our wanderlust is a bit crazy (especially as a single mother to two boys Jameson 7 and Clayton 6), but it’s our passion. On a recent jaunt through the US and Canada, we clocked 5300 miles traveling through 7 States and 5 Provinces. If your thinking/dreaming about hitting the open road, here are a few tried and true, helpful hints that served us well:
Buy an Atlas
Buy an Atlas (an old-school book of maps that we use.) And check out your route as a family. Identify some of the “must see” stops. Doing this provides kids with excitement about the journey through a sense of inclusion and responsibility. It also helps reduce questions like “where are we going?” and “when will we get there?!!”
In our family, we each have one Burton carry-on roller bag. Toss in a mesh trucker hat; they can get wet and keep kicking. Have bathing suits, sweatshirts, and flip flops easily accessible at all times.
We travel electronics free, with the exception of my phone, which doesn’t have any games, movies, etc. No judgment if your family does. It’s a personal call. However, I would suggest discussing usage guidelines before you roll out.
Bring Belly Fuel
I load a small cooler each day, and we have one insulated carry-bag for fruit, bread, PB&J and any other snack-stuff. I can just grab these both when we make stops along the way or when we get to our accommodation. It’s extremely cost-effective.
Little Travel Hacks
A few Zip and Lock bags in different sizes bags are a MUST, and you will find a million uses during your trip.
Load toiletries, sunscreen, etc. in a large closeable container, and include extra tampons (my boys highly recommend them for bloody noses). Compact travel chairs are a must! We roll with the Big Agnes X Burton camp chairs. They break down to a size of a large cosmetic case and come with a carrying bag.
The boys both load the back pocket of the driver’s seat with books, coloring books, and colored pencils. We learned the hard way about how crayons melt... no Bueno.
Logging the Experience
We all picked out and packed special travel journals. It keeps my guys busy for hours drawing and making notes of what we see daily. *Super cool to look back on after your travels.
I let the boys pick a small treat each day… could be a new book, a magnet of the state we are in or ice cream..just a little something.
ALWAYS have cash! We went to cross the Mackinaw Bridge on our last trip when I realized I was out of cash. (*Note- they will direct you to an ATM and hold your passport while you do so.) I learned a valuable lesson.
Travel Extras to Bring
Cover yourself with a few extra items to bring along.
- First aid kit
- Baby wipes
- Towels (in case you find a rad unplanned swimming option)
- Extra blanket
- Sleeping bag(s)
Be flexible and patient with your timeline, stops, and kiddos. You will take a wrong turn, hit traffic and things will never go exactly as planned; however, you’ll never be able to replicate the experiences you have on your trip, so RELISH it and have fun!
Jaime is the owner of Relish in Vermont and is the mother of two amazing boys, Jameson and Clayton. As a former professional snowmobile racer, Jamie’s family is often referred to as “Team Wilhite.” Make sure to follow Jamie and her kids’ adventures as they travel around Ireland!