Sunday, September 12, 2010

More Car Travel Tips

I recently took both kids to Spokane to visit my college friends while my husband worked on stuff around the house. According to mapquest, this drive was an anticipated 6 1/2 hrs. Having made it 100s of times in college I knew this to be true...if you don't stop for more than 1 quick coffee/bathroom and 1 gas/bathroom breaks. So, I allotted some stopping time and guessed the drive to take 8 hrs allowing for 3 (1/2) hr breaks. Wrong. The way there took 9 hrs and we stopped 6 times, 4 of those hours and 4 of those stops were from Tri-Cities to Spokane (usually took me 2 hrs in college). {sigh} BUT, the kids did great. I know I shared a post before {here} about car travel with kids, but I wanted to share some of the things I learned about taking LONGER car trips.

1. Completely disregard how long it SHOULD take. This sounds obvious, but if you have expectations, you will only find yourself frustrated.

2. Plan on a few places to stop and stretch legs/get the wiggles out. It's easiest if you know the route, but if you don't, solicit friends/family to help. If you can find a few places that have playgrounds or a park to run in, you'll have much happier kids.

3. Test the DVD player BEFORE you leave the house. If you don't, make sure you have a smart phone with gps to the nearest Target. Enough said. 

4. Make sure you have some cash with youIf you're in a rush but need immediate coffee, you don't want to have to look for a drive thru that accepts card.

5. Sit in the driver's seat and test arm distances of items you'll need before you leave. You don't want to be hunting around for things blindly or trying to reach for something just beyond your finger tips. Next trip I'm considering buying one of these.

6. Bring several new toys to bring out after you get sick of hearing "Are we there yet?". The $ store is a great place, or the $ bins at Target. Also, keep some things for the return trip!

7. Music is wonderful.  Even if you remember to bring more than 1 CD, plan on hearing the same song 100 times. 

8. Be silly. See tip #7. Especially important if you forget to do tip #3. 

9. Bring a small cooler with some healthy snacks (string cheese, sandwiches, etc.) and some extra sippy cups of juice or milk. This really comes in handy when the first sippy cup has been gone through within the first 20 minutes. And also helps mommy from eatting so much of the junk.

10. Don't pack a whole lot for yourself.  Once you get the pack n play, toys, dvds, bikes, cameras, etc. you will not have any room left. In fact, you'll be busting at the seems...stuff overflowing. Or, get a bigger car ;)

11. Remember tip #1. If the kids are upset, stop again...and again...and again. And if you have to, wait until they fall asleep, grab another cup of coffee, turn up the Veggie Tales music (maybe with some headphones) and be silly all by help keep you awake of course :)


  1. These are great tips! When I first became a mom one of the things that shocked me most was that everything suddenly took three times longer than I was used to. I realized I had to try to leave 10 minutes earlier than I normally would... just so that I'd only be 10 minutes late. Ha! I can only imagine long car rides with toddlers and young children. Oh boy!
    p.s. I'm your first new follower - yay! :)

  2. Yay! Thanks Adriel! I love your's actually what's finally inspired me to write my own :)

  3. I just got home a month ago from a 6 week, 9,000 mile, road trip with my 6 youngest kids. Crazy ... but fun!

    We took our first cross country road trip when our 2 youngest were just 2 & 4 (we had 9 kids with us on that trip). We drove 8,000 miles in 3 weeks ... to New York City and Back.

    I remember MANY long road trips with my van full of little ones.

    :) :) :)