Traveling with Kids: Travel Tickets

Our family travels together regularly.  Ever since Abbie was an infant, we’ve packed the girls into cars, trains, and airplanes to adventure around the country.  It’s fun, and we enjoy exploring new places with the kids.

Abbie's first trip to the ocean.
Abbie’s first trip to the ocean.

Well-organized travel with children is not an easy task.  Sleep, food, and entertainment must be carefully choreographed if everyone in the family is to stay happy while on the road or in the air.  We are by no means experts at traveling with kids, but we’ve learned a few tricks over the years.  This past spring, we undertook a fifteen day road trip across half the country to Washington, D.C., and home again.  A few friends and family members questioned our sanity, but you know what?  It went really well.

Einstein statue in D.C.
Einstein statue in D.C.

Next summer, we’re heading to Orlando.  Three of us will travel by bus, two by airplane.  And even though we’re not leaving for several months, Todd and I have entered planning mode already.  What can I say?  We like to be prepared.

Meeting Mickey Mouse.
Meeting Mickey Mouse.

Apparently our need to know what’s coming ahead is contagious, because all three of our children always demand arrival time updates when we travel.  I know this is common in kids, but our situation sometimes borders on ridiculous.  One of the girls once asked us if we were at grandma’s house yet before we had even finished backing the car out of the garage.  Sigh.  That is never a good way to begin a three hour road trip.

Grant Park Fountain in Chicago.
Grant Park Fountain in Chicago.

Once kids get old enough to tell time, asking when we’re going to be done traveling is less of a problem.  Preschoolers and young elementary children struggle to understand why they must be strapped into a seat for lengthy periods of time, though.  Out of desperation and the need for sanity, I created travel tickets.

Dude! It's an astronaut!
Dude! It’s an astronaut!

We have learned that kids can usually last just about thirty minutes between questions concerning how much time is left in the car or on the plane, so each of our tickets represents a half hour of travel time.  When we get buckled into seats, the kids get a stack of tickets equal to the amount of time it will take for us to be done traveling.  It once took us approximately three hours to get from Peoria, Illinois, to Indianapolis, Indiana, so the kids got six tickets.

We love our mouse ears!
We love our mouse ears!

A stack of tickets that can be physically held provides a tangible answer to a kid’s abstract question concerning time.  We find our tickets invaluable.  In order to lengthen their useful life, we laminated them.  The tickets are stored in the console of our car for easy access.  In addition, we have many strategically packed toys and games with us when we travel.  Every time our kids give us a ticket, they get to trade in their toy or game for a new one.

If you would like to use the travel tickets we created, click on the link below!

travel tickets