Packing for Family Travel: 6 Steps for Success

Maybe it was due to the fact that I had to help pack the boys up for a trip that I wasn’t going on (more on that soon!), but I recently found myself reflecting on the way we go about stuffing our suitcases prior to an adventure.  And I realized something: We almost always go about packing in the same way.  And it works! Rarely does anything significantly important or essential get left behind.  At least not anymore.

 Now that we have a system in place, things like drivers licenses, boots for a cold weather destination, toothbrushes, and medication are all stowed safely in our luggage.  Yes, each of those items were forgotten by one of us at one point or another.  We are much more prepared these days.

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Why Travel is Good for Your Parenting: Perspective from Lake Wenatchee, WA

There are so many reasons to travel:

  • To see family

  • To escape

  • To explore the natural world

  • To gain perspective

Travel also opens up my mind to the new, to change, to better myself, to realize, and see that there might be a different way to do things.

A friend of a friend, not a parent herself, taught me how to be a better mom. 

Only she doesn’t even know it.

Lake Wenatchee, Washington | WildTalesof.com Continue reading

11-Day Road Trip: Packing for a Family of 4

Do you consider yourself an expert packer? I’m somewhere in the middle of an expert and a novice.

Like many, I have mixed emotions when it comes to packing for a trip.  On the one hand, having to pack means we are about to embark on an exciting adventure! But on the other hand, it takes a lot of work to decide what we need, organize all those essentials, and fit it all into bags and suitcases.  I worry about over-packing and forgetting necessary items all at the same time.

Last month, when it came time to start getting ready for our Oregon-California road trip, I agonized about getting it right.  We had 6 different overnight destinations.  Thus, I wanted to make sure that we had a system that wouldn’t leave our car looking like a tornado blew through.  I didn’t want to waste a lot of precious adventure and family time trying to figure out where something was located.

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Wine Tasting with Kids in Sonoma’s Dry Creek Valley

While visiting family in Sonoma during our Spring Break road trip, we spend an afternoon exploring wineries of the Dry Creek Valley.  The area, specifically known for their zinfandel grapes, is located on the west side of US 101 in Northern Sonoma County close to the towns of Geyserville (tiny) and Healdsburg (small).  The landscape, as one would expect, is absolutely gorgeous, void of a lot of development,  and lucky for us, free from crowds.  Whether that was due to the weather (rain off and on), time of year (early April), or just the fact that this particular region has remained undisturbed from a lot of other retail, I can’t be completely sure, but I certainly appreciated it!

Wine Tasting with Kids in Sonoma’s Dry Creek Valley | WildTalesof.com

Wine Tasting with Kids in Sonoma’s Dry Creek Valley | WildTalesof.com Continue reading

Traveling to and through High Altitude Destinations with Babies

When we road tripped from Seattle to Oregon and California, we traveled through more mountain passes than I could count or keep track of.  One of our longer stays was also in the small mountain town of Truckee, California where the elevation is about 6,000 feet, a far cry from our usual comfortable and damp sea-level living.

We took a couple of things into consideration (and preparation) knowing we were traveling with our newest (now 4-month old) adventurer, and we also picked up a few tips and ideas along the way to make high altitude travel most comfortable for babies.

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Oregon-California Family Road Trip: 11-Day Itinerary

We recently embarked (and returned all in one piece) on our first {family of four} multi-day road trip.  The journey was eventful to say the least, and to my surprise, a whole lot more enjoyable than I anticipated.  I’ll admit that I expected wild tantrums occurring in the backseat along with piercing baby cries that would be impossible to quiet.

And while there was some of unpleasantness, it certainly wasn’t the norm.  More often, we found ourselves enjoying the scenery, having the luxury of researching possible lunch and rest stops, and actually engaging in grown-up conversation! The one thing that did cut into our travel time (and sometimes sanity) was the amount of bathroom stops required for a 3.5 year old!

We’ll dive into more specifics of each of our destinations (and even pit stops) in the coming weeks and months (we covered a lot of ground!), but first we want you to see the bigger picture, and a few statistics for fun.

Day 1: Salem, Oregon

A good distance away (but not too ambitious) from our home in Seattle for the first leg of our trip, and also the home of my husband Slaed’s aunt, uncle and cousin.  Here we visited with family and took some time to explore the capitol.

Salem, Oregon | WildTalesof.com Continue reading

Treasure Walks and Early Spring in Seattle’s Washington Park Arboretum

What is it with 3 and 1/2 year-olds and treasures? Is this a thing? Maybe its just our little guy, but lately all he can talk about is treasures, from finding treasures to receiving them as a reward.  The good news? Anything can be a treasure.  So as long as we call it such, anything can have the potential of being special to him.  The bad news? Since everything has the potential to be a treasure, we can spend a lot of time waiting around for a lollygagging preschooler investigating every nook and cranny along our way.

Sometimes it all works out though, like during our visit to the arboretum this past weekend.  As soon as Bergen was “released” from the jogging stroller to walk on his own, he requested the use of one of the bags we’d brought along for the dog’s (ahem) deposits.  I credited him for his smart thinking! He declared that he was going to search for treasures, and then for the next mile or so, he picked up anything that happened to catch his eye.  Rocks, sticks, leaves, blades of grass…they all went in the bag.

If you’re looking for a way to focus walks and hikes with your young children, you might just think about bringing a bag along for collecting! It’s easy, doesn’t require a whole lot of pre-planning, and Bergen was more than willing to toss the treasures back when our walk was complete.

Treasure Walks and Early Spring in Seattle's Washington Park Arboretum | WildTalesof.com

Treasure Walks and Early Spring in Seattle's Washington Park Arboretum | WildTalesof.com

While Bergen was focused on finding treasures, I had the chance to admire early spring in the arboretum.  Yes, while the east coast is suffering through snow, ice, and bitter cold, we are experiencing abundant sunshine, flowers in bloom, warmer temperatures, and even (it seems to me) more active wildlife.

Treasure Walks and Early Spring in Seattle's Washington Park Arboretum | WildTalesof.com

Treasure Walks and Early Spring in Seattle's Washington Park Arboretum | WildTalesof.com

 

Have any more tips on holding kids’ interest while walking and hiking? We’d love more ideas!

You can also check out our other tips for hiking with a preschooler.

 

Come join the conversation! We’d love to have you join us on all of our adventures by “liking” our facebook page and following us on twitter! You can also keep up to date with each and every post by subscribing to the blog via email.

Treasure Walks and Early Spring in Seattle's Washington Park Arboretum | WildTalesof.com

Treasure Walks and Early Spring in Seattle's Washington Park Arboretum | WildTalesof.com