March 16, 2016
Bullets: The Travel Guide

I never wanted to be a travel guide, I became one (our family’s) about 43 years ago, when I married Jim and our adventures started. In the beginning it was just the two of us, and since he was so busy, I handled the tickets, passports (when necessary), it was fairly easy and so I did the job with joy. I also was a Stewardess, before flight attendants, (I am that old) so I was used to traveling.

Hi Little One: Bullet Points Family Travel Tips

{It was all so easy and glamorous in the beginning. We even had time to coordinate our stripes!}

We would arrive at an airport, I would take care of checking the bags, getting the boarding passes, getting to the gate and Jim would handle getting a drink before we boarded, he only handled the most important things.

As we added new personalities to our family the traveling became an organizational exercise. Back then we did not have all of the paraphernalia that families travel with now.   Fairly quickly I decided that each person could have one bag/duffle bag, no more – no less. As I was the packer in the early days Jim and I could put our over flow into one or more of the kids bags, when each child took over packing their own bag that was no longer allowed. If there was a certain event involved in the trip I would make sure that appropriate clothes were packed for all. The one job I NEVER (only once) did was pack Jim, he was old enough to pack himself from the start.

Hi Little One Blog: Bullet Points Travel with Family

We all had our own priorities of what was most important to pack. On one trip Jim took the older 4 on a canoe trip to the Boundary Waters, the kids packed their bags, Maggie’s(age 12) most important item was a butane curling iron, Jim was speechless.

When traveling in our 12 passenger Econoline conversion van, the duffles would go under the seats and groceries, etc. would be in the back. If you packed too much it was really difficult to get your bag under the seat. We would push and pull to get it under and usually the clothes in it were permanently wrinkled. Whatever you packed you carried, so at an early age most of the kids learned to pack light.

If we were traveling by air, Jim and I had the same jobs as the early years. I would take care of the 10 bags, 10 boarding passes, holding all 10 passports (if necessary) and getting all to the gate. He would still handle the drink before boarding, but it was not relaxing or as much fun with the group of 10.

Hi Little One Blog: Bullet Points Family Travel Tips

We had the same ups and downs of traveling as everyone else, we were blessed with 10 patient travelers so it was relatively easy with our group. On one big trip, the airline misplaced 12 of the 13 bags, we were camping, very uncomfortable. The 12 bags arrived 3 days late; I bet you are wondering who’s bag was the only one to arrive with us – Mr. Lucky, Jim, of course. We have slept on airport floors, had flat tires, lost the van keys in a river, and had the air conditioning in the van, go out at 105 degrees; all these made the trips memorable, at a later date.

Traveling now is more stressful and certainly more expensive, but if you can take the time it is worth it.

Hi Little One: Bullet Points Family Travel Tips - the Winnebago

*Side note: With all the trips, all the miles driven, I have not one picture of the 12 passenger van or pile of bags. You will just have to use your imagination 

  • Traveling together is a wonderful gift you can give your family, no matter where you go.
  • Keep it light, you need to pack less than you think, I'm talking to you Maggie.
  • Luggage, keep it simple and color coded, if you have two kids or eight. 
Colleen Ryan