Erica is a writer, editor, wife, and mom. She has always found employment with an English degree and she excels at nurturing children and animals but struggles to keep houseplants alive. Erica currently writes at

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So Much Family Travel

I didn’t think we were doing any family travel this summer, and then suddenly the calendar blew up…in a good way, I think?  Now the kids are going to three states and I’m going to five.  Or that may be six and eight, if you count the places we drive through on our way to another place.  All in one month.  Welcome to hell Mississippi.

Glasses are very "in" this summer.

Thank goodness my kids are 3 and 5 years old now.  When my youngest son was 18 months old, we passed earplugs out to a planeload of people — that’s how awful his screaming was (and how awful we knew it would be, hence the package of 80 pairs of earplugs in our backpack).  We swore off air travel until our kids are 12.  Then last summer, we ended a 10-hour drive like this:

This summer we’ve obviously lost our minds decided to jump back into the fray.  What I’m most worried about is keeping the travel activities varied, so here’s how I’m breaking down their travel bags (which I pack but am not really complaining).  I’ve learned to go with less-is-more to cut down on weight and mess.

Family Travel Trip 1

12 hours in the car, each way.

    • iPad with movies + headphones and a headphone splitter
    • Nintendo DS, Fisher-Price iXL
    • Books, toys (which all ended up on the car floor and weren’t played with at all)
    • Juice boxes, water, granola bars, grapes, gummi bears
    • A repeated mantra: “GO TO SLEEP.”

Family Travel Trip 2

9 hours of air travel

      • iPad with movies, headphones, splitter
      • Nintendo DS, Fisher-Price iXL
      • Play-Doh mini cans and a few tools
      • New coloring books, snack Ziplocks with crayons & colored pencils
      • Empty sippy cups (to fill after security checkpoint) so we don’t have seat spills
      • Graham cracker snack bags, fruit snacks
      • Gum, lollipops
Note: If I had a younger toddler, I would also take an umbrella stroller and a kid leash.  I cannot even fathom losing a kid in an airport, where anyone could board a flight with a kid and no proof that they belong together.

Family Travel Trip 3

5 hours of air travel

      • iPad with movies, headphones, splitter
      • Nintendo DS, Fisher-Price iXL
      • New “summer gap” educational activity books
      • Wacky Wax Art Strings
      • Empty sippy cups
      • Goldfish, trail mix, gum, lollies
After all of this, I have a few business trips.  I’m going to breeze onto the airplane/train with a tiny bag, plug in my earbuds, look at the other family sucka’s, and SLEEP.

Here are some other travel posts from Today’s Mama:

Traveling with Baby

Traveling with A Toddler

Mama Resources: Travel Safety Tips

Favorite Gear: Phil & Ted’s Traveller Crib



I don’t mean that Mississippi is hell.  Just that we pass through it on that long drive and they have awful roads.




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Comments (3)

  1. Melissa Choate 07/11/2012 at 3:26 pm

    That video is hysterical! Any parent who has taken a road trip with kids can relate!

    By the way, what an awesome idea to bring ear plugs for the other airplane passengers.

  2. Shannon 07/10/2012 at 8:59 am

    LOL – that sort of looked like the end of our 3.5 hour drive last week. My kids are wusses compared to yours! I’m feeling ya on the flight alone….I CAN’T WAIT!!!

  3. Erin Oltmanns 07/10/2012 at 8:46 am

    I DIE LAUGHING whenever I think of this video. I know it probably sucked, but it is so funny AND SO ACCURATE.