Published on July 2nd, 2013 | by Tania Monaco
Travel Tips from Tinker Bell
Today’s post comes to us from Tania Monaco, writer at tania2atee. We know that every parent has a great story about their kids, so feel free to share yours in the comments section below!
The date has been booked and we’re heading to the cottage again this year. We are by no means seasoned cottagers. No, you could classify us as newbies, novices, green.
We packed up the sheets, towels, toys, food and clothes last year, and drove north with my sister-in-law and her family, for a week of fun, sun and memories! While in theory it seemed like a great idea to have four kids (aged 8, 4, 3 and 1) in a small, but cozy, cottage, they gave us a run for our money. The three bedroom cottage meant that our Little Bird shared a room with her two cousins, and our Little Mouse slept in a playpen with us, which resulted in late nights (our nephews go to bed later than our kids), early mornings (the skylights in our room woke up our Little Mouse at the crack of dawn) and a record number of freezies consumed.
We needed a vacation when we got back!
However, the kids had a blast. We had a ton of fun and decided we’re going back. So the dates have been booked, and I’ve started my lists of things to remember. While I struggle not to over-pack, and think of activities to keep four kids entertained, I know we’re not in a remote area and all amenities are within a ten minute drive, if needed.
So the other day, while looking through my stash of toys (kept for emergency birthday parties and rainy day distractions) I came across Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure: Tiny Adventurers.
Tinker Bell is a feisty little fairy, and in this book she is on a mission to the lost island north of Neverland. Throughout the book, Tink and her friends have a few mishaps and scary moments, but there are travel tips to help along the way. I found these tips related more to me than to my kids. And were a good reminder for my preparation for the cottage.
TIP #1 – BE PREPARED: Make a checklist of all the items you’ll need with you on your mission.
While I don’t consider going to the cottage a mission, necessarily, it is quite the adventure. Ensuring eight people have everything they need may involve a few lists, but I’m on it and already have them started. Check!
TIP #2 – TRAVEL SMART: Whether you are travelling by land, sea or air, be sure to have a safe mode of transportation.
Because four kids and four adults need a lot of stuff for one week at the cottage, we took a minivan and an SUV and were packed in like sardines! (Note: this year I may need to review that checklist in Tip #1.)
TIP #3 – STAY ON COURSE: If you find yourself in an unexpected situation, stay focused on your mission.
This can happen even on short drives. While we planned to go to Wasaga Beach one day, instead of actually going to the beach, the kids got distracted by a huge park and play structure we saw on the way there, so we decided to pull over and let them play for a while. Needless to say, we failed to stay on course, and never did make it to the beach.
TIP #4 – ACCEPT HELP WHEN YOU NEED IT: Even though you might like to do things on your own, sometimes you might need a little assistance. Don’t be afraid to accept it.
On one of our adventures to Blue Mountain, my brother-in-law decided he was going to make his way back to the cottage, and left without us. The problem (for him) was that we had the GPS, and the way back to our cottage was by the back-roads. We called him, however he insisted he could find his way, so we went back. After a while, he called and asked me to help him get back, but I didn’t know where he was in order to direct him back (a slight problem). Eventually he pulled over, asked for directions and got back on track. We think he learned his lesson and hope to avoid that this year.
TIP #5 – REMAIN CALM: Try not to panic if you run into trouble. It wouldn’t be a true adventure if you didn’t encounter some obstacles.
I think this is a good tip for anyone travelling with kids. There are always moments of adventure, and obstacle, however remaining calm will always help the situation. Even if it involves trying to convince my nephew that walking through the swamp wasn’t a good idea, as we’re eating freezies at 7:30 in the morning.
TIP #6 – KEEP YOUR STRENGTH UP: Make sure you eat and drink on a long trip. Adventurers must stay strong and healthy.
This isn’t a problem. Frequent stops for coffee, Timbits and Happy Meals along the way made the trip there bearable (and longer).
TIP #7 – GO FOR IT! When you have a good chance to move forward on your mission – take it.
Luckily we rented a cottage in a well-known area and were within minutes of grocery stores and parks, etc. If we ever ran into an issue, it could be solved pretty quickly (except getting lost in the back-roads – see Tip #4).
TIP #8 – BE CREATIVE: Got an idea? Make it happen! Work with things you have to create something even better.
Our Little Mouse still naps and with three other rambunctious kiddies running around, it was hard for her to settle down, so we took that opportunity to take the older children to the pool in the afternoon, while my husband and Little Mouse used that time to take a nap!
TIP #9 – THINK FAST: You must be quick-thinking when an adventurer gets risky, or you’ll find yourself in trouble.
When in doubt, add water or electronics (but not at the same time!). With a cottage that is equipped with a Wii, satellite TV and Wi-Fi, it was easy to get lost in the everyday comforts of home. There was only so much Wii baseball we could play, but on those early mornings before we wanted to change out of our pjs, or on the occasion it rained, it came in handy. When we couldn’t take anymore, we would turn it all off and the whole crew would go outside. Whether we were going to the pool, having a “painting” party with cups of water and paint brushes, or a water fight with spray bottles and water guns, the kids had a blast.
TIP #10 – MOST IMPORTANTLY … HAVE FUN! Smile, laugh, and enjoy yourself – you’re an adventurer!
Although the summer road trip was a new adventure for us, we made the best of every situation. We know what to avoid for next year and are already counting down to this year’s trip. We had a lot of laughs and look forward to creating more great memories.
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