travelling with a kid

We are on our way home from a mini vacation to my sister’s house in New York State. It has been a whole lot of driving for such a short visit but worth every mile/kilometre!

Having a chance to see my sister, her husband, and our niece and nephew is a rare treat – we try and visit once a year but they are the real troopers who haul the kids up to Canada more often than most sane families would dare. As mentioned before, all of our nieces and nephews live outside of the country which sucks, but at the same time, it is an excuse to travel.

Long gone are the days when Mike and I would get up at 3 am and beeline it out of Montreal, aiming to make record time to Halifax in the VW Golf TDI.

Now with a child, we have had to adjust and here are some tricks we’ve learnt on the road. David is five and has road tripped several times to Montreal and New York and also around California, Spain and Florida so he’s a backseat pro. This being said, it’s not always fun and he’s not always enjoyable but you can’t blame him.

  1. Always try to book a hotel with a pool. Especially if it will be a long day in the car and especially if you have another long day in the car the following day. A pool is a great way to burn some stored-up energy and it’s a great bribing insensitive on the road “Five more hours and thennnnn you can swim”.
  2. Food. Lots of snacks. It’s vacation so don’t stress about being healthy but the more you pack, the less gas station and fast food stops you will require.
  3. Invest in a good pair of earphones. I love these. They enjoy their movie and you can enjoy a good podcast or music up front.
  4. Stay at a hotel with free breakfast.
  5. Take the fastest route always. Kids don’t care much about the scenic route.
  6. Fill a basket with books, markers, paper, activity books, small toys and even an iPad. The more they can reach, the better.
  7. Start the day on the road early and finish early and plan ahead as much as possible so you can stay in a kid-friendly location.
  8. If you can, bring movies to watch on the road.
  9. But, if you have something like a movie, save it for when it’s really bad – do NOT give them all of the good stuff too early.
  10. Expect the unexpected and embrase the rest stops and playgrounds.

We decided to take a day off in between a seven hour day and a ten hour day of driving ahead. Right now I am at a hotel in North Conway, New Hampshire which has two pools, an arcade room, a movie room, DVD rentals, access to easy hiking, shopping and family restaurants. It is actually cheap (less than $100/night) because it is not peak season and it has hopefully helped us recharge before tomorrow’s journey.

Images below: A trip to the Discovery Centre in Binghamton

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Images below: A kid free night at an AHL game. Who knew there were two Nova Scotian’s on the Binghamton team. We spent most of the game yelling Port Hawkesbury! Antigonish! Thank you to Mat’s mom who got the kids to sleep before we got home.IMG_1543 IMG_1550 IMG_1556 IMG_1558

Images below: Binghamton has an awesome playground
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Images below: Hiking in North Conway, New Hampshire
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Let me know if you have any additional tricks. Safe travels!

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you take the good, you take the bad

We are super fortunate to be able to book a trip to England (2 weeks!) but in the grand scheme of things, it sucks that we have to travel so far to see our family. And, what sucks more is 5 out 5 of David’s cousins live out of the country. Actually, 5 out of 5 were not even born in Canada so we don’t get to see them nearly as much as we’d like.

The positive is we have a good excuse to travel and traveling is really important to us. David, not even five, has already been to Montreal twice, California, Spain, Washington DC, Florida and New England (Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and New York) four times … and almost all of these trips have been to see family.

Last year we took a non-family-visiting-adventure to Florida with friends and had a blast (and with the winter we’ve been having, it’d be really nice to go back) however we’ve decided to head to (the less than tropic) England. I am really excited! We haven’t spent quality time in England since pre-child and can’t wait to make the journey. Plus, bonus, we have even more family in England with my cousin and her husband in Oxford!

Traveling with a child offers a lot more challenges but it also forces you to try new adventures and obstacles you may not tackle when staying home. Each age seems to have its pros and cons but the one thing I’ve found is you can’t rely on your itinerary as much, and most of the time, I’d rather bring David along for the experience then leave him at home.

Would I prefer to have all of our family in one place? Damn straight! But, as it is now, I am happy to accept New York and England as destination we will continue to visit as much as possible. It could be worse.

So, stay tuned for some jolly ol’ British posts and an update to my life list as I plan to check-off two things!

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California. 7 months

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Montreal. 14 months

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Spain. 18 months

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Washington DC. Age 2 (minus 1 week)

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New Hampshire. Age 3

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Florida. Age 4 (minus 2 weeks)

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New York State. Age 4

psst. We also have extended family in Newfoundland, Alberta, North West Territories, Yukon, Ontario, Ireland and Hong Kong so there will always be places to go and people to see.

psst. If you like what you’re reading, please subscribe and share. xomeg