**The following is another article I wrote for Southeast Texas Family Magazine in October 2018. It was written about travelling in the fall, but I am typing this up now, realizing that my impulse to travel is apparently pretty high in the spring, too!
One of the perks of living in SETX is having an extended period of beautiful weather. Travel and exploration doesn’t have to come to a screeching halt just because school is in session. Families can enjoy this season, and the benefits of traveling in autumn. This time of year, my wanderlust kicks into high gear, and I conjure up excursions for my family.
I tend to keep our fall family trips short and easy. Small road trips are easier to pull off with several kiddos who also need to get back to learning (bonus points if they can learn on the trip!) and are perfect for a weekend getaway. Just because the vacations are shorter and closer to home, doesn’t mean they have to be less exciting. With a little creativity and effort, you can turn even the drive itself into a fun adventure.
My favorite time to embark on a journey is late afternoon. By doing this, I give my kids time to peruse and sample the crate I pack full of entertaining activities such as: extreme dot-to-dot, interest-oriented magazines, window clings, sticker-by-numbers, face-making sticker books, word searches, travel games, and more. Just about the time their interest starts to wane, the sun is setting, and the party really ampls up. I pass out glow sticks, bracelets, and necklaces. My children wear some, using the majority to create a glowing chain to stretch around the perimeter of the back seats, hanging from the clothes hanger hooks. We recently discovered glow balloons for the floor as well. This is also the perfect time to introduce a fun new album or podcast. We have rocked out to “Teen Beach Movie”, belted out with Toby Mac, as well as been enthralled by the “Adventures of Finn Caspian” podcast.
My kiddos have always been good travelers, but they particularly enjoy these mobile parties, complete with individually packed snack bags they can partake in at their leisure. I choose foods that are easy to clean up after, and can replace a sit-down or fast food dinner. Offerings along the lines of pepperonis, cheese sticks, chips, grapes, nuts, and trail mix keep them happy and full It’s especially exciting to surprise them with treats that they rarely get to indulge in.
Inevitable, even the best of travelers do grow weary of deriving, and since it is night, they all snuggle into their blankets and pillows, and drift off to sleep to the sound of peaceful instrumental music, surrounded by the soft light of their glowing creations, leaving my husband and me quiet time to talk and enjoy each other’s company until we reach our destination.
We always have a blast on our short vacations, taking advantage of cooler weather, smaller crowds, and cheaper prices, but I absolutely love cruising with my family, and having the journey be just as fun as the destination.