As I mentioned yesterday (in this post) we planned and took the kids on a day trip to Bainbridge Island, WA — a beautiful island in the Puget Sound with mostly rocky beaches, lots of marine life and a cute little town. It’s a quick drive and ferry ride from Seattle (4 hours roundtrip for us) making it an easy spot to visit for just the day. Trips and traveling with kids can be tricky and although we don’t do a ton of it, I did learn a few things earlier this week that I think are worth sharing. Especially since we are headed into vacay season!!!
Here are my top 3 (with a hidden 4th) tips for day tripping with kids:
1. GETTING THERE CAN BE HALF THE FUN – I’m not usually very good at road trips. For me the journey is not half the fun, it’s a painful necessity. I prefer to arrive at our destination as quickly as possible, while a couple or all our kids sleep. But our latest day trip has me thinking differently. When I asked the kids what their favorite parts of the day was, they all mentioned the ferry ride (searching for crabs was the other unanimous highlight!). I know not every trip can involve a boat or alternate form of transportation, but there are other ways to break up the journey and enjoy the process a little more.
^^^ Griffey randomly climbed onto the hydrant and started saying, “Awkward turtle…”, repeatedly. And it was, LOL. (insert silly monkey emoji here)
2. GEAR MATTERS SO OVERPACK – I’m a chronic under-packer. Piling a ton of stuff into the car, especially things we might not need, has a funny way of stressing me out. Is that weird? I like simplicity and organization in small spaces and I like for people not to have to climb over things to get out of the car. But again, I digress. Taking more of a cub scouts approach on day trips – be prepared – definitely adds to the experience. I can think of a couple things we packed and didn’t use (picnic blankets and beach towels) that I will be packing again and a couple other things (a baby/toddler carrier, bandaids and kites) that I wish we would have packed. This is where a car roof cargo box might come in handy!
^^^ The scavenger hunt printable I shared yesterday ^^^
3. IT’S WORTH SKIPPING NAP-TIME FOR – Take this with a grain of salt because it really comes down to ages and how many nappers and high maintenance little ones you have. As you can tell by the last two pictures, Poppy was exhausted by the end of our day and not pictured were moments of complete chaos where everyone had a need, complaint or idea at the same time. But leaving mid-morning meant that Poppy got a 45 minute power nap on the way to the island which helped and having lots of snacks, quick distractions and a double stroller with a seat for Griffey (the kid would let me carry him forever I think!) helped a ton too. Overall, the meltdowns and tears passed quickly and dealing with them was totally worth it!
Now let’s talk about the hardest part (if you are like me) of skipping naps and quiet time: giving up a solid couple hours of productivity! My business, sanity and family depends on those precious daily hours. Losing them tends to have a ripple effect and aside from asking for help or replacing them with hours of sleep, I have no idea how to make up for it. But I do know that quality time and special memories win every time!
It’s been so much fun going back through pictures from our day. I don’t think we managed to get one with all of the kids together and smiling, but we did get this gem where they all look totally confused. Ha! I about died when I saw it and kinda like it more than a smiling one. Weird is so much better than perfect. Which I guess can be my 4th tip for traveling with kids… or doing anything with them for that matter!
What are your best tips for day tripping with kids?