Budget Travel has a list of 10 locations where you can ‘unfasten your seatbelts and get out and walk.’ It could be that none of these places are close by for you. However, there are probably some fun places to get out and walk around in your neck of the woods too. Check your local and regional city/chamber of commerce websites for budget activities. There might be some federal or state lands nearby that you could check out. One friend of ours decided to do several day trips during one week for their ‘summer vacation.’ This way they did not have to pay for any lodging. Their kids got to see some new museums, beaches and parks without the hassle of packing for a week-long vacation.
We’ve recently discovered the Sheep books by Nancy Shaw and Margot Apple. These short rhyming books are a kick and usually get peals of laughter from The Boy. The illustrations are great and they are the perfect length for a before bedtime read aloud. Our favorite is Sheep on a Ship, closely followed by Sheep in a Jeep and Sheep in a Shop.
We used to be able to pack up the car (including the dog and all her paraphanelia) and hit the road quite easily. Now, with The Boy, packing has taken on a new meaning. We really have to consider every nook and cranny in the car and pack like we’re solving a puzzle with all the gear needed to keep a pre-schooler happy on a trip. And you can forget about the dog. She got demoted to a dog-sitter during vacations soon after The Boy was born.
Before you start cramming everything into your car and lashing stuff to the roof, consider these tips.
1. Many hotels and resorts provide baby gear such as pack and plays and high chairs. Restaurants provide booster seats. Call your destination before packing to see what baby/kid gear might be offered.
3. If you are traveling to visit relatives, ask them if they have baby equipment already or if they know of friends/neighbors in their area that might be willing to lend to you.
4. Unless you have a 15 hour flight or a seriously long road trip, you really don’t need too much for actual travel time. Keep your kids entertained with games like I Spy or the Alphabet Game. Take along books on tape or cd for the car. If they are old enough, give them a specific ‘travel’ bag that they can fill will activities. Or, my favorite, plan your travel for during nap time and hope they sleep most of the time!