We had 5 days to drive from Trenton, Ontario to Gander, Newfoundland. More than enough time, but we had certain rules to follow because this was a military move and the Canadian Forces has their own way of doing things. Basically we needed to leave and arrive on certain days and that influenced the trip itself. We did our best to keep it fun and avoid burnout though. These are a few of the things that got us through this trip without any full on breakdowns!
Maybe most parents have already purchased their children headphones for their tablets but we weren’t those parents. We don’t spend that much time in the car and unless it’s a longer trip we don’t let the kids bring handhelds with them. They usually bring books, plushies, or colouring stuff. This was a longer trip though. The longest! So all of the tech was coming with us. We needed every form of entertainment we could! For B and I’s sanity headphones seemed like a good call and they really were. We got 4 pairs and two splitters. The splitters allowed them to watch movies together which kept them busy and quiet for a little bit. An extra bonus is that we can use the headphones in our homeschooling this year.
Here’s the thing, kids need real food. And not just healthy food but food they’re used to. A surefire way to infuriate your cranky 3 year old is to fill them with garbage. Their schedule’s already a mess. There’s a lot going on, some of it out of your control. One thing you can control is the snack situation. We prepped loads of veggies, fruit, raw nuts, popcorn, dips, fresh bread, and crackers for our trip. This allowed them to eat an open lunch most days (which is what they like to do at home) and gave us extra healthy sides to go with some of the dinners we ate in our hotel rooms. (Another good tip, is to eat in your hotel room a few of the nights. Going out every meal is exhausting, expensive, and just too much food. Eating in allows you to rest, and you can have a movie night!)
This is the prefect time to use all of that fancy lunch stuff you have! We brought our lunch containers, snack bags, water bottles (always), juice/smoothie containers, real cutlery, and a mini knife and cutting board. This allowed us to put together food and snacks for them easily along the way. A bonus item is an electric kettle. They aren’t big and you can plug them in anywhere. We used it to make instant oatmeal for breakfast, and tea at night!
Don’t over pack. Try to pack with one top layer in mind. I brought one zip up hoodie for each of us, that way all we needed was t-shirts and bottoms. Multi-purpose shoes are also a good call. Those water sandals your kids rock all Summer are perfect and even come in grown up sizes! They’re great for exploring because you can climb, walk on trails, and get them wet. Try to keep it simple, and stay in a colour group when possible. If everythig you bring goes well together you can mix up outfits when necessary. It doesn’t hurt to bring some change with you to do a load at some point in your journey. We were lucky in that we opted to do one really long driving day so that we could spend more time at my sister-in-laws on the front end. This allowed me to wash all of the clothes they had worn through the pack/load/clean days of our move. So we left Ottawa with nothing but clean clothes! I found lots of good capsule wardrobe ideas on Pinterest too.
(If you take a ferry, bring their puffy vests! It may be Summer but it’s still cold out there! Mistakes were made…)
Take A Minute
Take a minute to do the touristy stuff when you can! Because this was a move and not just a fun trip we had time constraints but we still tried to get in some sightseeing when we could. It gives the kids a chance to stretch their legs and unwind but it also makes them feel like they’re on a real trip and not just us trying to get our lives moved from A to B. Take advantage of the chance at adventure. Take the cheesy pictures! Make those memories any chance you can!
Happy Travels FamJamily!