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Organize Yourself For Summer Travel

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Hi, we are Alicia Rockmore and Sarah Welch, cofounders of Buttoned Up Inc , an organizational lifestyle company that helps busy people get more done by helping them successfully organize less. We are also the co-authors of the recently published book, Everything (Almost) In Its Place (St. Martin’s Press). As moms, we know how difficult it can be to make traveling fun for kids no matter what the mode of transportation is. Here are some tips for making a car trip fun and educational for your kids as you travel this summer:

#1: Be Prepared for Everything
Just as you have your house stocked in case of an emergency, you’ll want to make sure you’re prepared should anything happen in your car as well. Your glove compartment should hold a pair of sunglasses, the trunk should have extra water and a blanket, and you should have a first aid kit under the passenger seat. In case of an accident, a helpful tool is something called Collision.kit by Buttoned Up which includes information cards and a camera to ensure you have everything you need to record the details of the incident (Available at www.franklincovey.com; $20). Make a code word like “SpongeBob” and if Mommy uses that phrase it means road conditions are difficult and it’s time for everyone in the car to be quite. If you set up a ground rule like this ahead of time you’ll save some stress if there’s a downpour or bad construction.

#2: Know Where You Are Going
‘We’re lost.’ The two words nobody wants to hear on a road trip. (That, and ‘I’m queasy.’) Fortunately, nowadays it’s easier than ever to know exactly where you’re going before you get into the car. For those of us lucky enough to have a GPS system, it will do the work for you. If you’re still on your own, use internet site like Google Maps, or MapQuest to plot your destination and print out the best route to get there. Before you leave, make a map that the kids can follow along on as well. You can teach them about distances and time. Just get some self laminating paper for it so their map doesn’t rip or get ruined if it gets wet. It’s also fun to let them pick one place they want to stop along the way—Even if it’s a skateboard park.

#3: Keep the Backseat Happy
And now for the hard part: the backseat. Don’t worry, though, since a little preparedness will go a long way in keeping kids (and adults) not just occupied, but genuinely entertained. Most importantly, always bring plenty of snacks, plus trash bags and wipes for the resulting mess. Fuller stomachs make happier kids. As far as keeping them entertained, DVD players are becoming ubiquitous in many of today’s cars, but try some of the classic games, such as the license plate game, or ‘I Spy’. Not only are these more interactive, but they tend to be the ones your kids will remember when they grow up and go on their own road trips.

#4: Let them Document the Trip
Give older kids a travel journal right before you leave for the trip. Encourage them to write and draw whatever they see or hear that’s interesting to them. Also, present the kids their own disposable camera. You might be surprised the new perspective they capture of the trip.

#5: Give them a “Trip Allowance”
This money can be rationed for items at theme park gift shops, the gas station for snacks, or souvenirs. However, make it very clear that they have to ration it properly because once it’s gone, there’s no more money. Be sure to stick to your guns. Set up a system ahead of the trip as well to earn extra “Trip Allowance” money by weeding the garden, cleaning out the garage or organizing their summer clothes. It’s a great extra incentive to teach them about hard work and earned rewards.

#6: Get Historical
My 7 year old daughter loves to learn, especially about history. Find educational stops along the way. These places are usually free or cheap but are interesting for everyone.

#7: Video Record the Trip
No matter how silly it seems at the time, vacations videos (even if it’s just of your family belting out songs like “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”) capture some of the most hysterical and fun moments that you can revisited 5-50 years down the road. If you have a video camera, make it a priority to videotape the kids as much as possible—they’re only young once.

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  1. Newsmediaspan says

    This is awesome! Can I feature you and your Traveling with Kids posts?

  2. vegan4life says

    nice prize ty.

  3. Betty N says

    These are some good ideas to get kids ready for a trip and to have in place as you travel. I hope many read this post even though not many commented on it.

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