Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Road Trippin'

Traveling with kids, although not technically DIY, is still a learned skill that many people struggle with. So I'm blogging about it. Ha. 

Translation: I'm leaving on my first real road trip with children tomorrow and I'm scared stupid.

{click on photo to be taken to pin}

In honor of this momentous occasion, I decided to share some traveling tips I picked up while googling in a blind car ride-induced panic researching like a calm, collected individual. 
  1. Service your car. We've seen enough movie sequences where cars die in the desert and hilarity ensues. It's only funny when it happens on the big screen, I promise.
  2. Make the journey just as much a part of the trip as the destination -- play road games, stop and smell the roses while checking out the world's largest ball of string, and go to the hotel pool as a family. This means the vacation starts the moment you pull out of your driveway, so have some fun.
  3. Conversely, if you're against breaking up the trip into multiple days and turn your nose up at hotel stays, be prepared to leave in the cover of darkness so the kiddos can spend the first part of the trip in blissful sleepy silence. You'll be so glad they did.
  4.  Play games!  This site called Momsminivan has a large list of road games for kids, and here's a list of 10 kid friendly apps for your smartphone. That is, if you can wrestle it away from your technology-loving husband who insists on having the GPS up and running during a 400-mile stretch of straight road.
  5. Check out a book on tape from your local library and listen as a family.
  6. Stop every 2-3 hours. I'm sure it will be tempting to just drive on through, but this will help avoid potty emergencies in the back seat and even a quick stretch here and there will help break up the monotony and time spent in the car for your kids, which will make your life 117% easier. That number, by the way, is a totally legitimate statistic. Yep.
  7. (Pillows + Blankets)Road vibrations = Naps. Memorize that equation, or at the very least write it on your hand.
  8. Schedule snacks and meal time instead of indulging in mindless munching. You'll save yourself lots of travel induced caloric guilt, and it will also give the backseat hostages yet another thing to look forward to.
  9. Pack a cooler with things like sub sandwiches, grapes and pudding cups and find a place to have a picnic. It will save you some money on restaurants, and give you a chance to stretch and relax. I still remember stopping at state parks in pretty areas as a child; I loved having picnics on the road and they were a special part of the trip experience.
  10. If you do eat out, consider finding a local spot and sitting down at a real restaurant instead of driving through a fast food joint. This will help break up the drive time again, plus it gives everyone some time to decompress and helps keep your car from filling up with cold french fry bits.
  11. For hotel stays, pack a separate small bag with everything you'll need for the next morning. It's like carry on luggage for the car trip, and you won't have to haul everything into your hotel room.
  12. Keep crayons in a ziploc bag. I've seen this tip just about everywhere, so I'd listen.
  13. Pack a health kit for the car - bandaids, wipes (or a clean washcloth in its own ziploc, my mother swears by this) and sanitizer. One site I found suggested a plastic bag throw up kit. Hey, airplanes do it -- and getting carsick is zero fun.
  14. Wait to pull out movies or video games until you've been on the road at least a few hours. Make your kids amuse themselves for the first bit of the trip when they're fresh and the novelty of the drive hasn't worn off. When they start getting frazzled, that's when you start pulling things from your sleeves to keep them entertained.
  15. Put together a car surprise bag for the kids -- coloring books, a new toy, a treat. Every couple of hours let them pick something from the bag. This doesn't have to cost a lot of money, in fact I'm a fan of doing things on the cheap. I bought things like sour gummi worms, sticky hands (the kind you would get in a 25-cent vending machine at the front of a store), whoopi cushions, activity books, dinosaur figures, and gum (I might regret that one though!).
Let me know in the comments section if you have any other fabulous tips!

This is our last trip of this marathon three week crazy fest, so I can't wait to get back and start doing normal things again, like painting things and digging holes for fence posts.

I get antsy when I can't tear stuff up for too long.


  1. Good Timing! I'm talking Road Trip Survival Kits today! :)

    Stop on over if you'd like... And have a fun road trip!


  2. Dual-screen DVD players are the best invention ever. No more "he can see more of the screen than I can!!!"

    And, no matter what every 'travel with kids' advice-giver might say, my kids never EVER sleep in the car. I've never figured out why.

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