Moving can be one of the most stressful times in our lives. It requires lots of pre-planning. I have a travel bug by nature so every time we move, we make it into a trip opportunity. When it was just my husband and me, we had a blast. The last cross-country move we did we had our toddler with us and boy, was that an adventure, to say the least. We have since moved cross-country twice with him and along the way have picked up some valuable lessons that only come with experience. Here are some tips so that your next move is truly a memorable adventure!
Plan your stops:
We love to sit down over coffee and plan our stops in our atlas. We consider mileage, trying not to go more than 6-7 hours of driving a day. We chart out our stops based on big cities we might hit and book an inexpensive hotel there…using a military discount, of course.
Although it can be easy to feel the need to just drive through and get to your destination, don’t forget to be open minded to unknown possibilities. Keep your eyes open for cool sights off the road and check it out. I can’t tell you how many hidden gems we have wandered upon in the middle of nowhere America. Plus, it gives you a chance to take some awesome pictures, sight see and walk around. And if you have kiddos, frequent stops will surely break up the monotony of car travel and tire them out.
In car entertainment:
My in-laws gave us a car DVD player for long road trips. At first, I felt so guilty at the thought of playing it for our little one year old, but let me tell you, it was the only thing that saved our sanity when nothing else would do. We took a trip to Half Price Books and loaded up the car with tons of fun movies for him and he loved it. Now, he didn’t watch it 24/7 but when he was tired of listening to me read him books or playing with his toys, we were thankful for this other option.
Travel can be expensive, no matter how frugal you may be. Eating fast food can definitely add up and you certainly won’t feel good after a few burgers. Stop in town and go to a local grocery store. We had a medium sized cooler in the car for cold cuts, veggies and drinks and either made a lunch on the go or found rest stop or parks for picnics. We made a fun afternoon out of it too with a blanket and let our son play at the playground. And we tried not to rush or feel guilty about stopping either. It really recharged us.
Traveling with a toddler can definitly be a challenge if you’re not prepared, so car organization is a must. We took an over-the door shoe organizer and tied it to the back of the seats so that we could use the pockets for everything we might need. We filled it with quick snacks, diapers, wipes, a change of clothes, extra socks and shoes, toilet paper (because you never know when you might need some), toys and DVD’s. It was so great having everything we needed within arm’sreach and when our son leaked though his poopy diaper, we were thankful to have an extra set of clothes readily available. Planning for contingencies can really add peace of mind.
Living out of hotels can be both an adventure and a nuisance. You miss the luxuries of home and it can really rock a little one’s schedule. We tried to book hotels near the center of town so that we could get to each town early and take the stroller out to walk to local stores or restaurants. We were able to see so many cool things on foot. After dinner, whether in the hotel or not, we started our usual bedtime routine for our son. We always packed an inflatable tub for him since hotel tubs can be sketchy. We packed a couple bath toys and travel size toiletries. After a long day of travel, the bath relaxed him and he quickly dozed off.
Happy moving and remember that it’s what you make of it…so make it a good one!
Sonia is an Army Wife from Texas and currently resides in Washington State. As a mom of a toddler, with another on the way, she is quickly learning how to balance work and family. She earned her college degree in communications/journalism and recently completed her masters. She freelances for various publications and has dreams of owning her own business in event production to support military families. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with friends and family, traveling and hanging out in the sunshine.
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