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Traveling with School-Age Kids
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Traveling with School-Age Kids
by Lorry Patton
BEFORE YOU LEAVE:
* Start the trip a couple weeks before you leave by marking the days off on a calendar. Waiting can
be very exciting.
* At the same time, make a list of what to pack, You decide on the type of clothing, but let the
children choose their favorite items. A week before departure day, go over the list and clothing choices
with the kids to make sure everything fits and is in good repair.
* Let the children have their own bags, such as a back-pack or a small carry-on with rollers. A couple
of days before the big day, let them pack their bags. Let them include a small favorite toy and book
to read. In your carry-on bag, pack hard candies, gum and wet ones. Your bag will also include a surprise
toy for each child in case of unexpected wait times at airports or train stations and a disposable camera for
* The night before departure, at bedtime, discuss safety and security rules, like where to meet if
you get separated and who to call if the adults get sick.
* Decide on how much money the kids can spend each day for anything they want.
* Make an itinerary of each day's plans and include a couple of activities that are flexible and
optional. Make time for free time. Also include hotel numbers, contact names, confirmation numbers
and transportion information.
ON THE ROAD
* If you are traveling by car, bring pillows.
* Keep the kids occupied with the I-Spy game, or the game where everybody takes turns naming countries
in alphabetical order until one by one they run out of countries. Let the children create a game. Like
count how many red cars on the highway, or how many convertibles.
* Stop frequently at rest stops. Let the kids jump and stretch and run to burn energy.
* Have snacks handy, like dry cereal, pretzels and trail mix. Fill a cooler with ice and bottled
* To keep the kids from whining in restaurants and in stores, make rules ahead of time on how much
junk food they can have and what the budget is for meal times in the restaurants. Decide before you go in
what they can or can't order off the menu. For example, desserts might be more than your budget can handle,
so agree to buy a chocolate bar in the gift shop and leave the $5 chocolate cake in the display case.
* If you're flying to your destination give the kids gum to chew and buy favorite magazines for
everyone. See if your doctor will recommend an off-the-counter decongestion tablet if the kids have sinus
problems. The change in air pressure can be painful. Ask for the bulk seats for more leg room and take
advantage of pre-boarding. Chances are good that the pillows and the blankets won't be gone.
ONCE YOU ARE THERE
* Review your safety rules.
* Each day have your itinerary handy but be flexible with a few attractions. Let the kids decide
whether to go see the dinosaur museum or science center, whether they want to go to the beach or to the zoo.
If they disagree, find something else on the trip that they don't mind eliminating and do both the beach
and the zoo.
* Save time each evening to relax in the pool.
* Have the children save stubs, tickets from theatres, programs and maps of sights and attractions to
make a scrap when they get home.
ON THE WAY HOME
* Let the children review the trips activities in a journal and mark with a score board on the way