Stress Free Vacation with Kids

So we recently went on vacation for a week out to Michigan to see family. I will tell you what, I had a blast and so did my kids. No stress here! We did a few things to make our vacation as cheap as possible plus easy and stress free. So here is how we did it!

1. We planned our vacation up to 4 months ahead of time, We knew where we were going and when we were leaving. It was a 17 hour drive “without potty stops”. Yep 17 hours with 3 kids  that were 4 and under in a 5 passenger vehicle. We knew all this so we didn’t keep a tight schedule we took our time. That is very important to do. Take your time, don’t rush it and most importantly GO WITH THE FLOW. That means whatever happens, happens.michigan-map2. So knowing how long our trip was. I knew I didn’t want our vehicle full of toys and stuff. We needed to only bring the necessities and a few things to help the kids entertain themselves. So my creative brain went to work. I started making the kids a 2 in 1 travel pillow click here for the how to. This 2 in 1 pillow made a huge difference. The kids were able to color or drive their cars on the hard surface or remove the pillow from the hard surface and use it for taking little naps. Plus the pillow worked great when we got to our vacation spot. We didn’t need to bring pillows. So the plus was No HUGE pillows taking up space.


3. I then chose a select few toys for the kids to bring in the vehicle. 3 cars, a coloring book, crayons, doodle pad and 4 books per kid. That’s it! I knew that they would also be busy looking out the window and watching the new surroundings going by plus they would be busy asking questions about their surroundings. It worked great. Now I didn’t just throw everything into a bag. I made a pocket seat cover for the kids. You can make one as well. I will be showing you how next Wednesday June 26th. It was very easy and simple to do. The pockets are Velcroed on and can be easily removed.


4. Once we were 5 days from leaving for our vacation, I went ahead and started the process of packing. Yep 5 days early. I worked a little bit on it everyday starting with washing clothes I knew they would be bringing. Which really made life easy with my NEW laundry schedule and routine. I will share this with you later. I then Ziplocked our kids clothes and sealed the air out. Making 2 little boys clothes fit into a small suitcase very easily. a total set of 10 outfits, 2 beach towels and room to spare. Click here for a how to.


5. To help cut costs on our vacation we packed a small cooler and filled it with a couple of water bottles. A large tub of egg salad. In one of those canvas bags that you get free just about everywhere. We packed a loaf of bread. paper plates, cups, plastic silverware, chips and wipes. Very important to pack wipes especially with 3 little ones. We froze our water bottles so it would help keep the cooler and food cold. I had made so much egg salad that we used it for day 1 and day 2 of driving. A total of 4 meals. On average when average when we go out to eat we spend anywhere between $20 and $30 per meal and that is with eating at a fast food restaurant. Which is not very healthy. Total savings on food was $60 to $90. On our way home we packed meat sandwiches. We would stop at rest stops along the way and eat. It gave us and the kids a chance to stretch our legs and for the kids to run some energy off.

6. Because we stayed with family on our vacation it saved us a ton of money. There was no need for a hotel. Which saved us approximately $40 – $70 a night Total savings $160 – $280 or more.

7. The family we went and stayed with didn’t have any children or grandchildren that lived near by so they didn’t have any toys for the kids to play with. So I packed a backpack that was filled with some “NEW toys” all came from the dollar store. I packed 2 buckets and shovels “My boys love to dig”, some foam planes they could put together a ball and lots of glow sticks they could share with cousins that were coming too.

8. Because my daughter is still only 9 months I’m still breast-feeding here. So I brought my favorite breast pump that is a manual. I love this pump because it has a let down lever that helps with pumping faster. the cup is soft and not hard. You can position the pumping lever in any direction that is easiest for you. I pumped it directly into a bottle put the bottle top on again and gave it to her. Whenever we did stop to stretch our legs I would nurse her naturally. The worked great and I wouldn’t have done it any other way.  The handheld pump I used was the pictured below. You  can also click here to view it as well.


This vacation overall was a breeze. No stress. No Worries. No Problems. If I had the chance I would do this vacation again. This is the way to go on a vacation with kids without all the crazy stress.

QUESTION of the DAY – What are things that you do to have a stress free vacation with or without kids?


About ajoyful

I'm a wife, a momma, a housekeeper and a penny saving one at that.

Posted on June 20, 2013, in DIY - Do It Yourself, Money Saving Ideas, Pointers and Tips and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I love the idea to make a bag for each kid for the car.

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