Traveling With Children

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 Now behold, two of them were traveling that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was seven miles from Jerusalem.

Luke 24:13

We just got back from another trip with our children.  My husband had a week of training in Cincinnati, Ohio.  Since we homeschool we had the freedom to join him there.  We had to be a bit creative with this trip because we did not budget much for it.  Perhaps some of our ideas can help you:

First, we made some meals that could be safely stored in the small dorm size fridge in our room.  Spaghetti can be made ahead and frozen in a freezer baggy.  This will keep it cold while traveling, but will thaw in the fridge.  We also made ahead sloppy joes.  We took canned soups, our own hot tea, and went to Big Lots for some bottled beverages.  We also took some snack foods from our pantry, and prepackaged applesauce.

The hotel had a great full breakfast that was free:  Waffles, oatmals, toast, bacon, bagels, muffins, juice, milk, hot cocoa, hot tea.  We made sure we were up and ready for the free breakfast.  If your hotel does not have this, packages of oatmeal are portable and hot.  You could also take along some homemade granola.  The hotel also put out cookies every evening for guests, so we could enjoy those rather than purchase desserts out at restaurants.

We did eat some dinners out.  Since my husband’s meal was covered by his company, the rest of us ordered meals and spilt them.   We did not buy sodas or dessert at the restaurants, so our meals were reasonable.

For entertainement we went to the Creation Museum in the area (we already have a membership).  We went to one of the Cincinnatti museums.  There they had a program where the kids could bring in nature items, or do a scavenger hunt and earn points toward prizes.  The children got to leave with some very beautiful and unique rocks.  We packed our sandwiches and snacks and drinks to make this day affordable.

We also spent one day just reading, using the pool and watching some of the fun shows on cable.  Since we do not have cable at home, this is a rare treat for the kids.

We spent another day having a pampering day and used the hotel’s pool, hot tub, and gym and declared it a pampering day.  We clipped everyone’s nails, painted the girls’ nails, and did intensive conditioning/combing on the little girls’ hair.  If you have daughters with long, easilly tangled hair, you know what I mean.  This is a 45 minute ordeal.

Overall it was a fun, relaxing trip, with very little money spent.  We also packed very light:  no more than two days worth of clothes, and used the hotel laundry to wash them as needed.  This helps keep the room a little less crowded.  If you do this, premeasure your detergent into ziplock baggies, bring along a few dryer sheets, and pack plenty of quarters.

We took an air mattress with us.  Our experience with hotel roll-outs has not been the best.  We made the toddler a little pallet on the floor.

Each night, my husband used his laptop as a CD player and we listened to Little House on the Prairie on CD as we went to sleep.  This made the transition a little easier since we had everyone together in one room.  The kids all settled quickly so they could hear the CD.  You can get great books on CD or tape from the library to take on trips.  We finished the CDs on our trip home.


  1. JHS

    Thanks for participating in this week’s Carnival of Family Life, hosted at Write from Karen! Be sure to stop by on Monday, May 12, 2008, and peruse the other wonderful articles included in this week’s edition!

  2. Jane @ Kidzarama

    Hi Malia,

    Those ideas are great & I’m going to borrow some of them when we go away next month for a couple of nights. We always end up spending more than we mean to (oops!), and I guess we’re not alone there.

    I especially like the frozen pre~cooked meals and the pamper~day. Although I just know my son would want his nails painted too.
    Hmmm, maybe I should re~think that one.

  3. PlanningQueen

    Came here via the carnival. We always make sure we have a good stock of audio books when we travel as well.

    BTW – I have a free e-book to download on my my site that you might be interested in called Planning With Kids Top 100 Tips.

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