Heading out on another family road trip which means I have some packing to do. Since we started this great foray into family travel my husband and I – well mostly I – have learned a few things about the tricky business of travelling with tots in tow.
My first tip for travelling with children is planning, planning and then planning some more. When we flew to Disney last year it was my daughter, Ainsley’s first flight. She was four and, for those of you who don’t know, she has sensory processing disorder, which means life is often too loud, too bright, too fast and etc.. you get the idea.
Anyways having a child with special needs means you plan differently and sometimes smarter. We planned our trip to be in a quiet month at the destination. Disney Orlando in April is the slowest month. Fewer lineups mean fewer chances for meltdowns. Then there are the travel tools.
Taking a family road trip is hard work, but it can also be extremely rewarding. It definitely takes some planning though.
Our Family Road Trip Must haves for travel with children
- 1. Nintendo or other handheld gaming device or iPod, iPad whatever works for your family.
- 2. In automobile DVD player.
- 3. MP3s for both children. My Ainsley can’t live without her FP3 from Fisher Price. (Toys R Us and Walmart) We used it often on the flight and in the airport to help her filter strange noises out. Payton has an inexpensive Toys “R Us model loaded with Hannah Montana of course.
- 4. Pens, crayons, paper (Crayola are best as they don’t snap quite as easily as others and my daughter places too much pressure on the crayon so snappage is common.)
- 5. Workbooks from the dollar store.
- 6. Brushes (Ainsley needs Willbarger brushing protocol every 90 minutes to calm and soothe, especially sense of touch.)
- 7. Hibou. My daughter Payton’s school has an owl as a mascot (It’s one of those Shining Stars toys, seen her in picture) and she loves to take him with us so he can be photographed in new and exciting lands. (I bought a duplicate of the school’s mascot, so I needn’t clear it with principal every time.)
- 8. First Aid Kit. (Amazing how children can get booboos even while sitting still in a van.)
- 9. Fisher Price camera. Ainsley loves to take pictures and it helps distract her.
- 10. Teddy bears for each child. (Build-A-Bear bears we made two years ago.)
- 11. A great music CD they love. Over the years this has varied from Hannah Montana to Selena Gomez to Jack Johnson and even Rainy Day Music. This also works as a road trip must have for kids because if I need to time them out while driving I can turn it off instead of pulling over.
- 12. Leapster (by Leapfrog excellent learning tool and sort of early version of Nintendo for Ainsley)
- 13. Sunglasses. Because even through tinted windows sometimes the sunlight is much too bright for children with sensory processing issues and that can lead to screaming meltdown. Not good on the highway.
- 14. Chapter books to read when they get bored of all the other stuff.
Happy Travels! Taking a Family Road Trip soon? Where are you going and what do you rely on to get there in one piece?