We travel quite a lot with our children. As expats living overseas, it's sort of a way of life for us. As anyone who's ever travelled with kids knows, with young children in tow, a long journey can easily become a miserable experience for everyone if the kids decide they've had enough.
But there are definitely things a parent can do to help make the journey tolerable, if not enjoyable, for everyone. Aside from ensuring that you pack plenty for the kids to do on along the way, one way we've found to be incredibly important is building active playtime into the trip. For long-haul air trips, that may mean taking two shorter flights with a reasonable layover, rather than one longer haul, so that they can have a chance to get off the airplane and run around in an airport. For long car rides, it means timing your departure just right to maximize sleeping in the car, and it also means making rest-stops longer than just a quick bite to eat and a bathroom break.
We recently took a trip to Slovenia for a family vacation (our third time visiting there - such a beautiful place!). As always, we made sure that we spent a full hour at rest stops - plenty of time to play before getting back in the car.
We are lucky here in Europe that many rest stops have built-in play areas, either indoors or outdoors, which we seek out and make use of (we even mark good ones on the map for reference for future trips). But if there is no play area around and the kids are in need of a break NOW, we bring a ball or some such toy, so that we can stop at any rest stop and have a bit of running around nearby.
A bit of outdoor play along the way makes a world of difference to the journey, we find!
At the last Outdoor Play Party, Create With Your Hands shared this fun and easy DIY garden play stream! What a clever and creative way to combine water play with outdoor play when you don't normally have water in your garden to play with.