This is Day 155 of the Green in 365 series!
By Renee from Joyful Mom
Our family travels! We don’t go to exotic places but we are always on the move exploring/learning/growing as a group! Sometimes we are gone for a few weeks at a time and sometimes it is just a day trip . . . but I always pack my own food for traveling. This is why:
1. Less Waste
Our family typically buys in bulk, it makes sense for us to package our own snacks in the correct amount for each child. My 11 year old eats more than my 5 year old and I’m able to accommodate each child’s eating needs/likes. I pack sandwiches in tupperware/bento boxes and we also use the container as a plate–eating fast food that slides off the paper wrapper or eating out of a bag isn’t something that I want to model as normal behavior.
We pack our own reusable water bottles–I feel good about not putting 6 cups/straws and plastic lids into the environment.
If I take the 6 of us through a drive thru–it can be $30 easily. So instead I pack sandwiches, crunchy chips or popcorn, a little sweet–cookies, and we drink water on the road. I use the leftover Pringle container for the pretzels so they don’t get smashed.
I pack apples and watermelon/melon in glass containers so they won’t get smashed. I’m able to provide real food cheaper than processed food more expensively.
Did I just say Pringles? And now I’m saying Healthier? Yes, when we travel I often pack potato chips–they help alleviate the nausea that goes along with car sickness–have you ever heard a pregnant woman talk about craving potato chips–same thing! A few potato chips is better than an order of extra large fries!
A road trip laced with junk food makes everyone feel just a little “off”. I find that an apple and some peanuts are a great snack that keeps hunger away–until the bigger stop.
4. Time Saver
Usually whenever we stop on the road we go to the bathroom, have a snack and get back on the road. One exception to this rule is Madison, WI where we always stop off at Ella’s Deli and have a meal–we plan our trip around it.
Planning your own meals saves time–if all the kids fall asleep and it is lunch time–I keep driving until someone has to go to the bathroom! When they wake up is when I will stop and “make dinner.” We rarely eat at restaurants when we are on the road, it just takes too much time and is too expensive.
We plan our stops for bathroom breaks, meals, coffee breaks and run around breaks. We have found that a longer break every 3 hours is what works best for us (now–when the kids were smaller we stopped way more frequently).
My husband and I have found that a well planned car trip makes everyone much happier. We also go over the schedule with our kids and explain that we need to plan to be flexible. When everyone starts out on the same page the uncontrollable, unforeseen changes that pop up are easier to manage.
These are some of my other proven travel tips:
• The Surprise Box: When my kids were smaller I traveled by myself most of the time but I had a secret weapon–The Surprise Box! In this box I wrapped different little toys and trinkets in colored tissue paper (each kid has their own color) and when we would stop it would be a surprise if they were able to pick from the box. I didn’t have them pick at every stop–it was usually when I needed it! The toys would coordinate with each other–like a bag of “random” legos and at the next stop they would get the instructions! Or my favorite thing is a doodle book and at each stop they get a new marker or two!
• Water: I only let the kids have water on the trip. If it spills no big deal! I also carry at least one gallon of water on the road–great for hand washing, cleaning up car sickness, and you just never know . . .
• The Mommy Stash: I keep a stash of nuts, water, mint gum, and chapstick within reach when I’m traveling. These items I use on almost every big trip I take.
• Dinner: Depending on my destination I often pack a dinner as well. That way I know that I’ll be set if a 6 hour trip turns into 9 hours! Yes, I have microwaved a frozen lasagna in the lobby of a hotel!
• Pack magazines, books, kids atlas, flash cards, and audio books: I often introduce my kids to one book on CD and then have more in the series in book form. This provides them with enough interest to often read through all of the books. We also play, “I’m thinking of an animal.” and we need to guess by asking specific questions, “does it have feathers?”. They love Wild Kratts so I never get the Honey Badger or African Bee!
• Have Fun! I love to travel with my kids and explore new places. I also know how kids love their routines and schedules–keeping them on track with activities, eating schedule and bedtime routine helps make everyone feel at home–no matter where we are. Even when we sleep in a tent… we keep a schedule.
How often do you travel with your kids? Do you think that you might travel more if you had a really good system in place? I’d love to hear your tips or your funniest travel story! For everyone who shares a story, I will also share a story–I’ve got quite a few!
Be Blessed as you travel! Be safe!
Renee is a wife, mom of 4, writer, speaker, creative artist, joy-seeker, a student of life and a teacher of universal lessons. She writes about it all at Joyful Mom–in everything give thanks.
Find all the Green in 365 posts.
If you’d like to learn more about living green and living frugally I’d love to have you as a Live Renewed reader! You can subscribe, either by email or in a reader, to get the latest posts, ideas and inspiration for living frugally green. You can also connect with me on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest!
Please visit our Sponsors:
Diaper HQ – Your cloth diaper headquarters.
List PlanIt – Lists to put your world in order.
Jenuinely Pure – 100% natural and pure products for the body, face, home and baby.
Mighty Nest – Every product sold on Mighty Nest is free of harmful chemicals and handpicked for durability and design.