Traveling Memories

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Categories Parenting

Traveling with small children is tough for every family. Oh how I have dreaded flying with twinfants–you know what I mean!

Our family recently made a two day January car trip through flat prairies land as far as the eye can see, and we have more travel coming up this spring. While we prefer to drive over fly with three kids (and their stuff, and their carseats), and our kids are older, it doesn’t get any easier. We have tried everything to entertain the kids: new books and toys; games and candy; lots of stops at McDonald’s. In the end, we fall back on handheld game devices and DVD players–all three kids playing on watching with headphones means peace for the driver. Extremely bad parenting according to the experts in the books, magazines and websites. But I’m want to absolve you of all the guilt and tell you to do what you need to do to get to your destination safely–with your sanity intact!

As my kids get older, it becomes almost as much about the journey as the destination. At the end of the trip, while we all emerge from the crumb encrusted car tired and frazzled and sick of each other’s company, I can’t help but notice that there has been some bonding between siblings–some good has come from the hours on the road. An “we’ve been through this together” camaraderie. A “remember when we saw the giant airplane wings on the back of the truck…” reminiscence that continue to be discussed for hours as we drive. My husband and I join in with our memories of long car trips as kids: when there were no DVD players or ipods or carseats(!), when you could ride backwards in a station wagon or sleep on the floor of a sedan, where stopping for a bite to eat was not convenient as it is today and was always an adventure.

I think these trips form the foundation of our children’s lives and become part of our family history together. I end up being grateful for the excuse to to travel, grateful for the hours on the road, grateful for the whining, and the bad food, and the “he’s looking at me” and the “are we there yet” statements. I’m grateful once we are all out of the car!

How does your family handle car trips?

Leslie H. is a freelance writer to a spunky eight-year-old girl and two adventurous four-year-old boys.

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5 thoughts on “Traveling Memories”

  1. You’re just in time with this post , as we will be heading on a plane for vacation in a few short days with twoddlers. I have my hubby’s help on the 3 hr flight down, but I’ll be solo with my 2 two year olds on the flight home. As long as I keep telling myself, “We are making memories…We are making memories…We are making memories…,” perhaps the not-listening, crying, nitpicking and tantrums won’t seem as bad 😉

  2. I remember a 3 day car trip to Florida when I was very little, my 3 siblings, parents and grandparents all packed in the station wagon. I guess it really was memorable bonding bc I can still remember what games we played and what food we snacked on! We will soon be flying to Florida with my 5 kids and am sure it will be no less of a production!

  3. Traveling with kids, much less twins is definitely stressful! Without going into detail, a few months ago I made a 3 hour flight that turned into an almost 6 hour flight due to weather and detours. My 3 year-old and 16-month twins (lap babies) were beyond done. The twins cried, no SCREAMED, for at least half of it. My bag of tricks, toys, snacks, bottles, DVD’s, etc. were of no use after the first 3 hours! AmazinglyI kept my cool, knowing that there was no more I could do for the babies since they were several hours past bedtime. I just kept reminding myself that they would be over this within a day or two, and the rest of the plane’s passengers would probably forget about it within a few days as well. I am in no hurry to fly again. And when I do everyone will have their own car seat to sit in and a DVD to watch!!!

    We also did some car trips which were much more successful since we could stop more often. Yet, they weren’t easy either. It’s hard because my husband and I like traveling, but we’ll just wait another year or so until it’s more fun. :)

  4. We haven’t travelled anywhere long distance since the twins were born. I had visited Finland when I was 28wks pregnant with them and after that we’ve made sure our parents visit us annually. Not because I necessarily dread traveling with them, more because it’s so expensive I feel it’s ‘wasted’ money if they can’t even remember doing all these cool things with us. But we’re getting closer to the time when we feel it’s time to actually for us to do the traveling. So this next September we’re going on our first flight .. to Finland. The kids are saving money for tickets and we’re talking about all the fun things we’ll see. I’m not sure if my husband will end up coming with us but even if he doesn’t I think it’ll be a totally doable trip with 5 and 4 year olds. But I’ll totally be prepared with enough electronic equipments for everyone to occupy their time. Just in case.

  5. This has nothing to do with the above article. I just wasn’t sure how to ask a question! I have an 11 year old, a 2 1/2 year old, and twin 7 month olds. We live in a 3rd floor apartment (no elevator). I was wondering if anyone had a suggestion of how I could safely get myself, the twin babies, and the toddler down the stairs and into the car without the help of anyone else? Thanks in advance!

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