So we went on vacation this past week and I must say it was the best vacation so far. We drove the whole way up and back down from Florida to Indiana. I know were crazy, haha! But it went really really well. Let me tell you what we did.
First, we broke up our drive into 5 to 6-hour trips and stayed in a hotel each night. We got our hotel ahead of time so they were really cheap. But if you can’t do that look into AAA or look for coupon books for hotels they have good deals in there too. We only chose ones that offered free breakfast and got lucky because most of the hotels we chose had pools too. This is key to getting your children full and getting that morning burst of energy burnt out. My kids loved the waffles every morning and the morning swims before we had to check out of the hotel. Also keep in mind, it’s a hotel relax about some things, let the kids jump on the bed and splash some water on the floor, they’ll send you extra towels. Relaxing about the hotel helps your kids to relax and it makes it a fun safe place for them to fall asleep faster.
Did I mention we drove my husband’s Prius up there? I told you we are crazy. I was dreading that part the most being locked in a tiny car for a long drive with two whiney kids and my husband who likes to talk. I prefer to listen to my books. Even though we were a little cramped driving up there and back down in the prius really helped cut our cost. Gas in most of the places was a lot cheaper than in Florida, at one point we filled the car up for $15 and were able to go 500 miles! I personally wanted to drive our big comfortable van, but it was worth the sacrifice to save so much money in gas.
(Insert photo of tablet)
To keep our kids entertained we didn’t have a DVD player or anything like that, they did have their tablets and we put a couple of movies on our son’s tablet and rigged it up so both of the kids could see it. I also bought a gray bucket from target that came with a lid for some of their toys, coloring books and dry erase boards. Thankfully it fit in between them and they could easily take stuff out themselves. Another great thing about our Prius was it has built in USB ports so everything could easily charge while they were watching or playing with their tablets. I also brought them separate bags of colors and markers so there was no fighting. Sharing is caring and I get all of that but sanity in a small car is worth so much more.
Making use of rest stops and welcome centers is a great idea. My kids like to look at books so getting them a couple of “books”, magazines about the state were going through was a lot of fun for them. And getting them out of the car to walk around even for 5 to 10 minutes was a big sanity saver too.
Once we got to my brother and sister in laws house was where the real “fun” began. My children are used to a schedule and being able to play freely by themselves and we spend a lot of time at home. So being on the go go go was a big adjustment for them plus learning new rules was hard too. Being patient and getting them out of the house was a big help as well as explaining where we were going to visit and go do helped a lot too. My oldest has some sensory issues like most 5 yr. olds so this was the hardest part for him. Explain this to everyone around him and helping them understand this made things easier for my son to adjust rather than being labeled as a “bad kid”. Instead of going into what sensory issues are I will save it for another post. Adults don’t realize children have issues just like adults, and the child, unlike the adult, doesn’t know how to handle these problems or even how to get help.
After a couple days they adjusted and were just fine we went to a lot of nice places in the Indiana/Ohio area. The Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal (cincymuseum.org) was a lot of fun, even though most of it was closed for construction the children’s museum was perfect for our kids. They had soo much to do! And they change out their events monthly, last month was Lego month and they had A LOT of Lego’s. See the pictures below to see just how much fun they had!
We then took a day to go to the Cincinnati Zoo, I know your problem like, oh my god why! Well to put it frankly, it’s a lot of fun, a lot to learn and see. And if you keep an eye on your kids then its also VERY safe. They have a new Hippo exhibit which also includes some new fish, also there is a new tiger. I enjoyed seeing the wolves even though only one was out. I really like that they rescue the wolves and then try to release them back out into the wild. The food isn’t too expensive if you head to Lorosa’s pizza parlor in there it’s not much for a whole pizza and that fed five of us. Also if you’re like me and my kids we LOVE finding Pokemon, and they have A LOT of stops and a couple of gyms there. My son was soo happy when he finally caught a Squirtle. They even have a building dedicated to nothing but BUGS! I thought my son who doesn’t like bugs would get very upset but everything is well contained and he really enjoyed seeing the different type of bugs. In the building, they have some clear pipes that show how the ants travel. It was a very cool building you can even walk around a small butterfly garden.
Another day we explored the surrounding towns and just drove around. It was really cute to see how they distinguished themselves from each other. There were Amish towns and even small German towns. We even stopped at a local flea market which was a lot of fun to see what people around there sell to each other. In Florida you don’t see many animals in a flea market, maybe a bunny or some birds, up there they had everything from cows to goats. Next time I’m packing an extra suitcase haha!
Overall this vacation was very nice so, to sum up, my tips to make your next vacation better here’s a list. I love list!
Tips to make your vacation better:
- If you’re driving break up your drive to at least 5 hours and get out to stretch your legs. Kid’s car seats are not very comfortable and their little feet will start to fall asleep.
- Pack snacks and sandwiches ahead of time to take with you in a small cooler.
- Sanity over sharing is a no brainer; make sure each child has their own entertainment item.
- You can put movies on tablets, YouTube was my friend here.
- Plan your trip to go with the flow, mark down a couple of major things you want to do then put in some time to explore.
- Buy I car charger that has multiple ports, and even extensions if you can. This is a Sanity Saver!!
- To minimize luggage only pack clothes for a little over half the trip. You can wash your clothes and no one is going to know you wore the same thing twice during your vacation.
- Put all liquids in plastic bags, the saran wrap over the bottle with the lid on it did not work for us.
- Get your hotel at least a week ahead of time for cheaper deals.
- Remember children have the same anxieties adults do, but just don’t know how to deal with them properly.
I hope your next vacation is a great one!!