Lessons from Spring Break

Spring BreakWe went on our first Spring Break road trip this past week. We had an awesome time exploring the Smoky Mountains and spending time as a family. For me, I often finish a trip thinking through all of the things I planned well and things I want to do better next time.Especially when its a road trip with lots of time in the car.

Here are some highlights of things I will keep in mind the next time we travel.

1. Car Snacks are key! Be sure to plan healthy and plentiful snacks to share throughout the trip. ¬†Also, try to expand outside of your normal snacks to make sure you don’t get sick of the food you’ve brought. For example, I focused on granola bars and gorp as some of our primary snacks, but you can only eat so many nuts and raisins!

2. Books on CD are a great resource to give the kids something to listen to while driving. I brought 3 books to share with the kids, but then learned the books were only 5-12 minutes each. I should have visited the library and borrowed a dozen!

3. Reading to the kids is also a great way to pass the time in the car. We brought a chapter book that I had read as a child and both the kids and I loved listening to the story. This felt like a great way to have the car ride go quickly without resorting to videos (not that videos didn’t have a time and place as well.)

4. We stayed in 3 different hotels for our trip. While the kids loved the adventure of asking where we were going to be sleeping the following night, I learned that for their sleeping habits sake staying in one place probably would have been a better idea. It’s always kind of hard to wind down your first night in a new hotel.

5. If the kids know that souvenirs are going to be purchased on the trip, consider buying them sooner than later. I noticed that the “excitement/stress” of knowing a souvenir is going to be purchased can detract from other adventures because of the anticipation. Buy the souvenir and get it done with!

6. Depending on the type of trip you are doing, some kids might be more excited about certain events than others. When possible, let the kids help to pick some of your daytrips. If each child knows they are going to have a say in doing an event that is special to them, they may be more willing to go along with an event that is not of their choosing.

7. Plan some ‘downtime’ into your trip. While our desire is to seize the moment and cram everything possible into our brief vacation, kids often function best if they get some time to just chill. Whether this is staying at the hotel for a morning and playing in the pool or scheduling an afternoon break with some games and movies a little rest time is better than a meltdown later in the trip.

We can’t wait for our next road trip. Armed with some extra snacks, more books and some child input on our activities, I’m sure it’s going to be another great adventure.




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