Traveling with kids: Trip Tickets

Filed under: Kids — Colleen at 1:14 pm on Thursday, July 11, 2013

We recently returned from a fantastic vacation that included over 2000 miles in the car with four children ages 3-11.  And yet I still describe the vacation as fantastic.

Amazingly, they never asked “Are we there yet?” and got along better than they usually do on a 2 hour drive to Philadelphia.

My secret? Trip Tickets.

Before we go on a long road trip, I make tickets for each child. I create boxes that list each state we will be traveling through and then create additional boxes that break the trip down to 100 mile increments. Every time we enter a new state or hit a 100 mile mark I announce, “Tickets! Tickets please!” and the kids pass their tickets forward for me to mark the progress. Because of the visual cue, they get a sense of how long we will be in the car and do not even ask when we will arrive.

For this trip I also had carnival tickets with me and handed them out throughout the trip as awards for good behavior.   Occasionally I would make announcements like “If you have 5 tickets at the next rest stop, you can get a dessert!”.   I love leverage.   It worked!

Sure, the trip wasn’t “perfect”.  The kid’s each had their moments.  They are kids.  But having the kids mentally  prepared for the long trip and having a nice trip down set the tone for the rest of the vacation.

I can’t wait for the next road trip!

What traveling/organizing tips do you have for traveling with kids?

~Colleen