The house echoed with little feet running across wood floors. My niece sprinted around the long kitchen island, hands waving wildly, on a private mission.
In one kitchen corner, my little sister and sister-in-law’s heads bent together, looking at pictures on a cell phone. At the long table nestled in by windows overlooking Coeur D’Alene lake, my two tall brothers stretched out, drinking coffee.
The front door opened, closed with a bang. Little bare feet pattered, shaking the light fixtures, as my nephew ran from one end of the house to the other.
A few weekends ago, my scattered family gathered from both sides of America. One brother flew in from Anchorage with his family. My other brother and his new wife flew in from Washington D.C. We converged on Coeur D’Alene, a town nestled by a winding kidney-shaped lake in Idaho’s heart to celebrate my little sister’s weekend wedding.
Leaning against the kitchen island, I sipped coffee and watched my family. More than four years have passed since we’ve been under the same roof at the same time. Over a decade ago, we crammed into a station wagon and roadtripped the East Coast, surviving on music piped into individual headphones, and an ability to mentally separate into a private world.
I grew up traveling with my family. Not all trips were smooth — but every trip was worth it.
Here’s how you can have a successful family trip.
Traveling With Young Kids
Daphne Earley is roadtripping across America with her husband and three young children.
With young kids, it can be hard to explain why you’re traveling, or help them understand the importance of seeing the world.
“Our favorite thing is to tell them bedtime stories of the places we’re going to and the fun things we plan on doing. With my older child, we have him research online for interesting places that he might want to see. And we pick one of the things he finds for one of our go-to destinations. It can be as simple and fun — like finding a popular ice cream shop in one of the cities we are visiting. Which is exactly what we tasked him to do in Sedona, California.”
Traveling as a family is fraught with excitement. And traveling with young kids is that on a higher level. But Daphne believes it’s worth it.
“We travel because we believe that we are more than just the place we choose to live in. We are citizens of the world. Earth is our home. Because of this, we feel we have a responsibility to show and teach our children other ways of being and living. We want them to form connections with people from all walks of life. So one day, when our children go out and try to find their way in the world — no matter where that journey takes them — they’ll know they are always home.”
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