Tips on Traveling with Your Kids :: Visiting Aging Relatives

Tips on Traveling with Your kids

Was talking with a friend the other day on the phone and got a great idea for Sursee Gal.

We were talking about her impending trip to see an ill  grandparent and what that was going to look like with her child in tow.  This year over Spring Break they needed to visit an aging parent- not Disney World.  She just wasn’t all that sure about the trip and what it would mean for her child.

 What would they do while they were visiting the grandparent who was not feeling well?  How to make it fun for the child was the topic of the day.

I immediately went into warp speed and started hurling ideas at her over the phone.  My friend, ever the sweetie, said, “You should write a SURSEE post about this!”

So here it is…hope these tips help you plan out your trip.  Your trip might or might not include visiting aging parents, but I think these tips will help all of you no matter what type of trip you are taking.

First idea is wrap small little SURSEES for the children that they get to open each day on your travels.

It can be small.  A doo-dah or fun activity type gift.  Maybe a little artsy-craftsy set that they can use to create.  Maybe a new book, we loved the Childhood of Famous Americans series.  Maybe a small Lego set or Playmobile set to build.  It doesn’t have to be much when it is wrapped up and tied with a bow.  The excitement is in the surprise.  I kept a box of little SURSEES that I could use when needed.  I picked up things over the year at the Dollar store or at Target and saved them for times like these.

One great SURSEE  that will last the whole trip is a Smash Book:

smash book fun


A Smash Book supplies many days of fun over the vacation.  When you stop at restaurants they can add doo-dahs from the restaurant, maybe even write a restaurant review for each place.  This is a great way to get your elementary or older kids writing.  Younger kids could dictate to you.  I firmly believe even a child who is too young to physically write should be given opportunities “to write out” his thoughts.  Let him dictate to you.

When you cross state lines, go into the visitor’s center and get some pamphlets and brochures to go into the smash book.  Another perk is these places have great, clean! bathrooms.  A must for travel.

Nature stuff can get smashed in the book, too.   I like how the smash book comes with a pen and glue stick. There are also things you can buy that add fun to the making of the smash book like these:Smash Book doo-dahs

Also, you can find little envelopes, arrow stickies and much, much more!  Find the Smash book supplies at Target, JoAnne’s or an office supply store.  All of these can be part of the SURSEE gifting over each day of the trip.

Books on tape are a great way to while away the hours in the car.

Listening to books on tape was one of my favorite parts of our road trips. I would go to the library and check out several books.  We laughed with Lemony Snicket, were inspired by the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and were tickled by Henry and Ribsey’s antics.  There are books to listen to for every age group.  You can find books on tape at your church library, Half Price Books and online.  The sky  is really the limit here!  This is also a fun thing to ask friends to share; call around and see what other families have on hand that you can borrow.

Daddy Dates and Mommy Time on the Vacay

If you are visiting a sick relative or an aging parent, divide and conquer.  Why can’t your kids go hang out with Dad while you sit and chat with an older relative?  Then switch.  Make sure and do something fun, fun, fun in the city you are visiting.   Take advantage of what that city has to offer.  Or look at your road trip and plan out some fun stops along the way.

Your kids can spend time with the older relative, too.  It is important for them to see that people age, and they as children,  can be such a blessing to their elders.  We call that the Circle of Life over here.  Maybe they could have some questions ready, that you all have discussed, to ask the grandparents or relatives,  and then write those conversations in their smash book.

Last Idea.  Buy a Disposable Camera.

One fun thing we did was buy each of the boys their own camera and let them just take pictures.  Didn’t worry about it.  No control here.  Sometime we even took their Beanie Baby and took pictures of the stuffed animal in location.  We have some pretty funny shots of Seaweed from several trips.

All in all, the success of this kind of vacay is in Your attitude, Mama.  You can make the Spring Break trip a memorable and fun time for all.  Do a little planning.  Talk through the time with your kids and hubby and get their ideas.  Wrap a few SURSEES, grab some books to read and listen to.   And most importantly, have FUN!

What do you do to make your car trips full of SURSEES?  Do tell.











books on tape

daddy dates mommy time

divide and conquer

restaurant reviews.



  1. Love this! We are traveling soon with all the kids…great ideas that we will defiantly be using!

  2. I loooove all of these ideas! So great–especially the smash book and disposable camera! Can’t wait to add these to my bag of tricks! One thing we have done in the past was make a binder of activities to do when we crossed state lines. When we got to new state there were some fun coloring sheets, activity sheets, and I would try and find books from that state to read as well from the library. I can’t tell you how much my kids loved this! It was super easy too because I just went to that states website and they often had lots of free printables and info for kids.

    • I think your kiddos would love doing a smash book on your next trip- even for field trips, what a fun history of those days!

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