As a seasoned traveler with young children, and once in a while without them, I have come to learn a great number of things that I think might be of use to the rest of the world. And since I am so generous and giving, I have decided to share them with you now. You’re welcome, world.
1) When you get out of the car after a long drive and your children start fighting, simply choose the lightest child and move them somewhere else. You might be tempted to grab the heaviest child based on “they should know better,” but this could lead to back problems in the future.
2) To find out where, and exactly how severe, your sunburns are, simply step into a hot shower.
3) Always let your children pick which bed they want in the motel room. The beds are exactly the same level of crappiness, but it makes your kids feel like they have a say in things, even when you and I both know that they have to do whatever we say.
4) If you are going to buy your kids souvenirs, make sure they are cheap and terrible. With any luck, they will be broken before the vacation is over and you will not have to bring them home with you.
5) Speaking of not bringing things home with you, a great trick is to only pack clothes that are old and full of holes that you are wanting to get rid of. After you wear each item for the last time, you can just toss it in the trash! And nobody cares how you dress anyway, because you are on vacation!
6) Pizza is cheaper than McDonald’s. If you are going to be eating out every meal (and you probably are), get a lot of pizza. Remember when you could eat fast food for under $5? Well, those days are gone. Not only is the stuff terrible for you, but it is super expensive. For four of us, it costs about $30 to go through a drive through these days, but we can get a large pepperoni pizza and a 2-liter soda for $20, sometimes less. And they will deliver it to your hotel room!
7) Do not bring any books. You will not read them. You will mean to read them, but you won’t actually do it. All they are doing is weighing down your bag. And Kindles count as books. Leave them safely at home where they will not get filled with salt water, sand, and ketchup.
8) After six hours in the car with your kids, you will be tempted to do anything they ask in order to keep them happy. Do not give in to this.
9) The later you can keep the kids up, the later they will sleep. This is a good rule of thumb, except when it backfires. Sometimes you let the kids stay up 3 hours late, and then they get up at 5am. On those occasions, the whole rest of the day is a wash. Just stay in your room, order pizza, and watch free HBO. Your toddlers will love “Game of Thrones.”
10) For a meal that is even cheaper than pizza, try candy.