Saturday, August 7, 2010

Road Trippin' With Children

We love us a good road trip!  I am always excited to get to spend hours alone with my family.  I love sitting next to Mav and chatting the hours away as children sleep.  Ruth- our 13 ear old- has said her favorite art of the trip is the drive.   Here are some tips we have learned over the years that might help your family love them too.
  • Adjust your attitude.  This week we took a trip with another family us in our car them in theirs.  7 children altogether.  We stopped a lot.  Pee pee stops, poop stops, and puke stops.  Amazingly we were all happy and if anyone was frustrated by pulling over every hour of our 5 hour drive, it didn't show.
  • Prepare your children's spaces.  Water, snack, book, stickers, DS, stuffed animal etc.... all within reach. (don't forget car chargers)
  • Have a change of clothes accessible.
  • For young children we have always kept a potty chair and wipes in the trunk.  Line in with a plastic bag for easy clean up.  You never know when 10 miles to the next stop might just be too far, or a decent bathroom is nowhere to be found.
  • We prefer to stop at Starbucks when possible and use their bathrooms.  A Starbucks app can direct you to the nearest one.
  • Sing songs.  Play car games, like eyespy and turkey lurkey.
  • We do bring a movie or two although my favorite is listening to old time radio shows and audio books.  The latter two are so good for your child's imagination and you can download them for free on iTunes.  Movies take away the role of their "minds eye", but a story enhances it.
  • I like to have snack in the car they don't always get.  Bubble gum and suckers are best because they are sugary and last a long time.  Plus it is hard to be loud with a sucker in your mouth.
  • Keep a barf bag handy.  We use ziploc freezer bags because they help contain the smell.
Now here is the best thing we have discovered for long drives.  Picnics.  No fast food play area needed.  (I simply can't let the girls play in one. shudder)  and sitting in a restaurant waiting for your meal is hard to do when you've been sitting so long already.  We pack a lunch (or dinner) along with a blanket to sit on and find a park where we can stop.   Most towns have a school yard or city park that is perfect for running around and getting some energy spent. (I am hoping to discover  city park app, so far I only found a dog park one)  Even if you don't pack a meal, going through a drive through then the park is a great choice and most grocery stores have delis with all the fixins for a meal.  (We always go for salami, rolls, fruit, and cheese.)

I would love to hear your favorite road trip sanity savers.


  1. I'm with Ruth! I loved the driving part as a kid and love it now. I was mostly by myself though as my sisters are 9 and 13 yrs older than I. We spent 2-3 weeks every summer driving all over Alberta, BC, Washington, Oregon, Idaho & Montana. We camped when I was little, then camping cabins, then hotels the last few years. I credit those trips with my ability to sit and just *watch* things and be completely content. I had books, crafts and games with me; a discman as I got older but no electronics besides that really. This is also how I am able to name all 50 states; my Mom and I would quiz each other out of the back of the KOA camping guide :)

  2. We do a lot of road trips! It always takes all day (sometimes all week) to pack and prepare. I ALWAYS forget to bring a trash bag in the car. Yes, suckers are the best. Suckers got us to Texas and back :)

  3. P.S. I too love to talk and plan with my husband on the drive!

  4. Thanks for sharing these tips! I, too, have four daughters but the oldest is just 5. As a child, I endured 5-hour trips to and from boarding school, and I think there's a value in learning how to entertain yourself mentally. Road trips certainly teach that!


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