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Thanksgiving Travel Tips

Today is Thanksgiving in the United States, and for many people, this means traveling long distances to be with family and/or friends. It is possible to travel with children and to still remain sane enough to participate in holiday festivities; it just requires a little more effort.

When I became a parent, I quickly gave up driving through the night. Before kids, I could leave at midnight and drive through the night to avoid the traffic. After a few hours of sleep, I could expect to function reasonably well enough to participate in the festivities. After kids, I discovered that driving through the night just didn’t work for me anymore. When I was ready to go to bed in the morning after driving all night, the kids were ready to get up! Not only that, but a few hours of sleep didn’t give me the energy or the attitude I needed to run after lively children.

Now, if we need to make a long trip, we drive during the day and we allow plenty of time to get to the destination. I usually add 2-3 hours onto our driving time estimation. This allows us time for rest stops, eating, and bathroom breaks.

I’ve found that it’s helpful to view the drive as part of the adventure, not just something to get through. Towards that goal, we try to stop at several roadside attractions along the way just to do something different. The children really look forward to these stops! When I was nursing my son, it also allowed me time to feed him in the car while everyone was out.

It’s also helpful to pack fun activities for the children to do during the car ride. If your children are older, you might consider buying some small trinkets at the Dollar Store to reward them after so many miles (or hours) of good behavior. There are travel games that you can buy at the store too which can help. If your budget won’t allow that expenditure, you can play license plate bingo or “I Spy” during the journey for free!

Another good idea is to stop by the local library and check out the great selection of music and books on tape for children. My children love to listen to stories when we drive and it helps to keep them amused!

Remember-and remind yourself of this during the journey-getting there IS half the fun!


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