Traveling with Littles


There comes a time when us as parents get brave enough and decide to venture out of our comfort zone and take the kids on an adventure.  Depending on the age and how brave we are feeling, this could be a day trip to the zoo, a weekend trip to a new destination or a week vacation, these adventures can go downhill so very quickly.  We have all gone on one of these trips that crashed and burned so quickly that we vowed to not leave the house on a weekend again until they are in high school.

My wife and I try our best to culture our kids (whether they like it or not) and travel to different places and see new things.  I know that it is a lost cause to try to have them eat local cuisine, but you better believe they will see me trying new things and I take that as a small victory.  My kids lived for their first few years in the Virginia Beach area and then moved to Maryland about 18 months ago so they have gotten to see very different cultures and sights.  From the beaches, farms, Busch Gardens and the Navy bases in VA, to the museums, White House and all of the professional sports in the DC area, they have gotten to experience more than many adults.  They are so very fortunate, and have no idea.


As we have matured as parents, we have made smarter decisions when it comes to these trips.  The difference between our first trip to Disney and our second was nearly night and day.  We realized that we could bring food in to the park and they usually break down with hunger and fatigue when you are nearing the front of a line that you have been standing in for a very long time, BOOM – sandwich!  My wife’s minivan has a DVD player in it, making driving it more bearable on these trips.  We have a snack bag that is constantly packed and ready to go at a moment’s notice.  We learned the difference in snacks, some are better for long car trips but snacks are imperative no matter the length of the trip and how recently they have eaten.  Though I am older and don’t like driving at night, you better believe that whenever I can plan a long road trip to leave at night, it is as good as done to hope that they fall asleep just for an hour or two of silence and a chance to listen to my music or podcasts.

Another lesson we learned is to bring spare clothes, and I don’t just mean for the tiny humans.  I can’t even tell you how many times they managed to projectile vomit in a way that not only ruins what they are wearing, but also manage to soil their parents.  Now that Brenn can read, it makes trips a lot easier as we can just give him a book while Lilly is car-coleptic and falls asleep in the car constantly.  I am so glad that I no longer have to deal with formula, diapers or car seats on road trips.  With both kids in boosters, we can even take my car on longer trips more comfortably and we don’t need to be in an SUV or a van.

From time to time, I will be the first to admit that I get cocky.  I had a day off work recently and we decided to go visit Fort McHenry in Baltimore.  It was a cold day and I had to run an errand before we went out there.  That’s where it went downhill…  During the 4 minute, I repeat 4 minute video telling the story of the fort and the Star Spangled Banner, Lilly wanted to be held and then proceeded to wander off and try her best to escape.  There were numerous tantrums that followed, and anyone who has been there knows that it is on the water and involves a lot of walking outdoors.  A cold, windy day was not the best choice for such a history lesson.  After getting in the car and hearing how hungry everyone was and how it wasn’t fun and tired they were, we decided that they would enjoy museums much more when they’re teenagers.  So a month later, we went to the spy museum in DC, I’ll let you fill in the rest.

Stay strong and prepared out there dads!

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