Thursday, July 28, 2011

Jackson Hole, Wyoming Part Three

Okay, so we had this awesome trip out to Wyoming. New adventures and risks for all of us. But, let it be known that this was not a trip without drama and meltdowns. Traveling with your family is hard. I never call it a vacation, because most times I'm dealing with the same stuff I deal with at home, only in a different location.

Some things I've learned over the years of traveling with the boys are below. Some are tried and true, some just work for our family and some are just plain bribes. What I did realize with this trip, is it is essential to travel with your kids. Be it to far away places or to the park in the next town; creating memories with your kids lasts a lifetime for all involved.

One thing we strive to do is keep them fed and rested. We plan breaks into our day and try to space out activities. Going with the knowledge of these planned breaks helps eliminate that need to do EVERYTHING in one day.
Now that the boys are older they have a say in what they would like to see and do. They help plan the adventures and we try to stick with that plan.
One of the boys has to know the schedule right to the minute. Not the way most of the world flies, but for his world it works. Straying of the day's activities can be a disaster so we try to stick to the routine.
When little and we had to go on long car trips, my husband would make a huge map with a countdown of miles. As we would pass landmarks or cities the boys could check off how far they had gone and see how much more they had to go.
Of course now, they bring there itouches etc...
but we still play car games too: I'm thinking of an animal is an all time favorite.

The boys have been traveling on planes since they were little. One of the things that we would do to help them focus and not kick the seat in front of them was to have little trinkets in our arsenal. Matchbox cars worked great along with Star War characters etc. Of course, eating on the plane was always a big hit too.
Again, now they have their books and i...whatever and that keeps them satisfied.
So, what were our mistakes on this trip?
Yellowstone in a day is not advisable(Remember that rule about planning and taking breaks?). Two hundred miles in a car in one day with a teenager and a preteen in the backseat does not make for a pleasant day. There are just so many bison, evergreen trees, geysers that a young man can look at before his brother looks better and it's time to start fooling around and then it goes downhill from there. At one point, I became my mom and threaten to come over the seat and take Christmas away.

The other mistake occurred the last day we were there. We were to hike Death Canyon, a major hike. We had already exhausted ourselves from all the activities during the week and we did not take notice of one boy getting anxious over the name of the hike. Add in changing the plan a bit and, bingo, we had the makings of a huge meltdown. Not one of our finer moments as I'm sure every animal in the Grand Tetons went running for Yellowstone.

I've come to realize that the bad memories fade and the good ones remain.
Proof is in the trip we made to Toronto when the boys were small. The whole, hot trip they were just horrible. There was a pool in the hotel and of course that's all they wanted to do. Why they would want to go walk around Toronto when it was that hot was beyond me? But anyway, we finally decided to give in, buy a movie in our room, and we locked ourselves in the bathroom. Me with a bottle of wine and Andy with a sixer. The boys, to this day remember that trip as an "awesome" weekend! Go figure!

So enjoy the link. It's the last time with the vacation photos, I promise.
And, I'm curious, what our some of your travel tips that you use when traveling with your family?


Denise | Chez Danisse said...

I know my mom could share some, well, interesting stories about a certain summer of traveling with two very opinionated teen girls (quite focused on being cool) just discovering their interest in boys. Oh my... Poor Mom. Memories.

MadMad said...

At least you guys LOOK good doing it, though! What a beautiful family! So All-American (not quite sure what the means, really, but you guys just exude something shiny and happy that must be it) and healthy-looking. I have no tips for trips - I may use your "taking away Christmas" one, though. That's a keeper!

house on hill road said...

the food breaks are key. if we keep one certain kid fed, everyone is happy. also, we always have some kind of down time in the afternoon if we can. it makes the biggest difference!

glad you had a good trip. we are hoping to take the girls on a westward roadtrip in the next couple of years.

Andi said...

I agree the bad fades. We took a lot of family trips when I was young and I can't remember one bad thing. I am sure my parents can say what went wrong. :)
The Toronto story made me laugh out loud. :)

Lisa Clarke said...

I love your vacation tips (and "taking away Christmas" made me laugh). I have two boys a few years younger than yours, and their idea of a great vacation has always been having a hotel room to play in. Bonus points if the hotel has a pool.

We had a weekend getaway recently that I thought was terrible - all I did was yell, I thought. Then the 8yo brings home the "weekend news" he wrote in school the following Monday, and I see that he proclaimed it the "best weekend ever." You just never know!