I love to travel, and when I had kids, I wanted my kids to love it just as much as I did. While I’ve traveled near and far with the kids, I usually do it with my husband by my side. But this summer, I’m going on a new adventure — taking a road trip on the East Coast with just myself and the three kids. I’ve traveled alone with them before, but never this long by myself. The trip has been memorable, and I’ve tried to make it as easy and stress-free as possible. Here are some tips I’ve learned along the way.

1. Take advantage of people’s willingness to help you out.

This is probably the most important and helpful thing you can do. With three kids, I know I can’t do it all. Especially when it comes to traveling. Whether we are in the car, on an airplane, or staying in a hotel room, I always make sure to ask others around me for help. Most people are more than willing to help you. If you are checking into a hotel, tell the people at the front desk you are traveling alone with kids. I’ve done this, and they were willing to go out of their way to make my stay much more comfortable for both me and the kids. If I’m at the airport, I tell the attendant as I step on the airplane, and they always come up to me during the flight to see how I’m doing and ask if the kids or I need anything.

2. Be prepared for those moments when you can’t get to them as easily.

First, make sure you have plenty of snacks and a change of clothes handy while traveling. (That’s a given, even when traveling with an adult!) But also be prepared for those moments when you can’t easily get to the kids in the back of the car, or on an airplane. I’ve found that having toys that are easy to pack, like these Melissa and Doug wooden toys, can help keep a couple of the kids occupied while focusing the attention on the little one that needs me. They’re also great to keep kids entertained in a hotel room while you put all of the clothes away and get organized in the room.

3. Manage the kids’ expectations.

I went into the trip with a little bit of a reality check. I knew without my husband or extended family with me, there were going to be certain things I couldn’t do with all three kids and just me. For example, it’s much easier for me to take all three kids to the pool, than to the beach. So although they wanted to go to the beach, I prepped my older kids ahead of time and let them know why we couldn’t do all that they are used to. While they are still a bit too young to fully understand, they did somewhat, and had fun on our more laid-back adventures.

4. Relish the quiet time so you can regroup.

As soon as all three kids fall asleep in the car or in our hotel room, I make sure to soak in every bit of the silence. The day has most likely been full of ups and downs and just a little bit hectic. The quiet times at night help me prepare for the next day’s adventure. It’s always a bit overwhelming for me with all three kids, especially when I am somewhere that I am unfamiliar with, so by finding a time to focus on me and to regroup, I was able to help make the trip more special for all of us.

Traveling with kids can be stressful and overwhelming, but traveling *alone* with the kids takes it to a whole new level. With these tips, you can hopefully put some of the the stress aside so you can focus on making magical moments together