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I’m not a fan of road trips.
I really hate riding in the car for a long time. We took a ton of road trips when I was a kid since my mom hates to fly. And while I’m grateful that I got to travel and see so many parts of the country, I think I learned to hate road trips at a young age. And I still dread being in the car for over an hour. I get bored, cramped, and carsick.
But flights are expensive. So if we want to travel these days, we have to load up the minivan and hit the road.
My kids are pretty good travelers in the car. Lucky for them (and for me as a mom) we live in an age of portable DVD players and iPads. So we just plug them into the matrix…er…give them the iPad, and let them zone out to a movie or two while we’re driving.
Here are a few more tips for road trips with kids.
Schedule the drive during times when your kids would usually be sleeping
We love leaving really early in the morning for trips. If we’re lucky, we can get the kids in the car without really waking them up. Our other choice is to leave in the early afternoon, right before naps. Driving with napping kids is the best. It’s quiet, and no one is asking you for snacks or toys or water or any of the other million things kids seem to need all day long!
Bring ALL THE TOYS
Seriously – just let your kids bring any and all toys they want. Books, dolls, games, etc. Stop by the dollar tree and get a few toys or coloring books so they’ll have something new. These shower totes are great for storing toys for the trip. Sure, your car may look like Toys-R-Us after an earthquake, but the kids will have plenty to play with. And of course, don’t forget to load up the iPad with movies and apps to use when you’re desperate.
Bring ALL THE SNACKS
You can never have too many snacks for your kids. We have two of these tackle boxes that I fill up with all different kids of treats before we hit the road. The box usually entertains the kids for a long time while they pick and choose what they want to eat. You can also bring a cooler full of other healthier snacks. We’ve got this cooler and it’s perfect for storing drinks and snacks in the back of our van.
Stop and let them get the wiggles out
Sure – it’s tempting to just swing through the Starbucks drive through and keep traveling, but kids need breaks. Stop at fast food restaurants with play areas or at rest-stops with lots of room to run. Blow bubbles or kick a ball around.
Try and remember to have fun
Play games. Buy paint pens and decorate the car. Listen to family-friendly podcasts. Talk to your kids about what they’re excited to do once you get to your destination. Sure – it’s a long drive. It’s stressful. The traffic! The weather! The kids!! Just take a deep breath, turn on some great music, and remember that you’re making memories. And if worse comes to worst, make your partner drive and pop a Dramamine. Next thing you know, you’ll be waking up at your destination!
Do you have any great road trip tips? What kind of things do you bring for your kids?