Travel Tips

With the holidays upon us, many of us moms will be hitting the road and airports with our precious little wiggly ones in tow.  This might be an appropriate time to start thinking, “How will we get there in one piece?”.  Here are some tips I’ve accumulated from recent trips:

Car Travel:

For an older child, buy a travel lapdesk.  A friend recently loaned me this one for a road trip and it was a lifesaver for eating meals and snacks, coloring and puzzles.  You don’t have to spend a lot of money on this- I even found directions on how to make one out of a box.

Start collecting little toys and prizes for your trip and keep them hidden until needed.  I like to look for them at the Dollar store or the dollar bins at Target.

Let your little ones pack their own backpack with a few treasures and projects they will want to take with them on the trip.

Car games- Play “I Spy” with letters on signs and objects (cars, trucks, planes, cows, etc.)  There are tons of great car game ideas on the internet- here is one site that had a ton of free ideas:  www.momsminivan.com

Food- Don’t forget to pack some healthy options so you won’t be stuck buying sugary junk food on the road.  One road treat with sugar:  A milkshake for kids will quench their thirst, but not result in an immediate potty break.

Air Travel:

If you are flying with a lap infant, don’t forget their birth certificate for proof they are under 2 years old!  Allow plenty of extra time if you have to wait in line to check in at the counter with your baby.

The Nashville airport now has a separate security line for families and an enlarged security area (more room for all of our diaper bags and strollers!).  Our last trip through this area was far more pleasant than in the past.

Pack extra snacks and diapers, enough to last for double your expected travel time, in case of delays!

Keep a few surprises for on the plane- a new book, a new movie (if you are traveling with a dvd player), a new puppet.  Also, our kids are interested in objects easily found on the plane- plastic cups, pictures of the plane and magazines.

Airplane rides are a great time to talk with your preschooler and anticipate the trip ahead (or review events from the trip).  It’s also a great time to talk about family members you will be seeing and pray for them.

– Christina Stewart

Do you have some great travel tips?  Please post them as comments below!

Coping with the “Sour Hours” Alone

My husband Dave travels for business during the week frequently.   While it’s nice to have a break from cooking a full dinner every night, sometimes it gets pretty lonely around here during the week. This has always been a struggle for me, especially during the 4-7 pm “sour hours” when we are usually getting ready for daddy to come home, eat dinner, talk about our day, play and help with bedtime.

So here are my tips for filling the time and getting through the evening with sanity:

Get out of the house right after nap.  We have most recently gone to the zoo, the mall, and various parks. Most venues are less crowded from 3-6pm. During the summer we head to the pool at this time and don’t even need heavy sunscreen.  We also will run errands and grocery shop just to get out of here and break up the evening.

Eat dinner out. Most of the time this is something simple like Taco Bell or Wendy’s and sometimes we take it to the park for a picnic. This means I don’t have a mess to clean up at home either.

Do something special. We’ve had a dinner picnic on a blanket in the living room, an ice cream outing, gone on a long walk, and had movie night. Sometimes an extra long bath with lots of playtime is in order.  Just because Daddy is not home doesn’t mean we can’t have a fun time without him.

Have a buddy. I have several friends who also have husbands that travel and sometimes we go to dinner together when our husbands are gone, or at least touch base and give each other support during the week. It’s nice to have someone who can understand the isolation of being a temporary single parent.

I’m so glad my husband is not deployed for months at a time, in a foreign country or gone M-F every week. All of the travel does make me appreciate him more the evenings he is home with us. And most of all, we are thankful he is working hard for us at a job he enjoys.

– Christina Stewart

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