Sunday, May 20, 2012

Travel Tips, Anyone?

The family and I will soon embark on our first-ever family road trip. We're loading up and hitting the open road to visit my brother's family and I'm giddy. It's a trip I've been wanting to take and now we are going and I can't wait! I miss them like crazy.

However, this road trip business is all a little new to me. We've flown with the big kids before, so I know how to plan for something like a four hour flight, but I'm a little foggy when it comes to preparing for a twelve hour trip in the (awesome) minivan. Yes, that's right, TWELVE hours. With a three year old, an almost-two-year-old, and an infant.

Just a tad intimidating.

This is the planning we've done thus far:

-Leaving early (like EARLY early) and driving straight through. We would consider breaking up the trip if we didn't have our little Variable X (Lydia) who may or may not do well in a hotel room. Driving straight through might be brutal, but stopping and unloading and wasting money on a (potentially) sleepless night in a hotel room and then loading up again and hitting the road sounds more brutal. To us, anyway. So, drive on we shall! The plan is to leave early early early and arrive that evening.

-Downloading Adventures in Odyssey on our iTunes, cutting down on the DVD-watching.

-Packing each of the kids' outfits in separate Ziploc bags, so all of their clothes will be organized in their suitcases.

So. The actual trip part of the road trip is where we need advice. Books? Music? Movies? Toys? Any ideas?

To those who have traveled for several hours in a car with more than one little one, do you have any tips for me? I could use them.

Have a lovely day!


  1. we've done twelve with both boys a couple times to wisconsin and back without a dvd player or many toys. the thing that always helps when the kids get fussy is if one of the parents sits in the back and plays with them. good luck i am sure it will be fine!!

  2. A friend of mine brought cookie sheets to use as "desks" for art supplies. If the sheets are magnetic that could be fun too!

  3. I'm glad you posted this. My sister and I are driving to Nashville with our daughters and I'm a little nervous!!!!! Anxious to see the recommendations:)

  4. We did a 15 hr. road trip to the beach & back w Liam twice last year - the 2nd time he was 18 mos. old. I got the idea from a friend of making activity bags ahead of time to pull out every once in a while - I think I made 12. Each bag had a different book, DVD, and activity ... Some of them were sort if themed together, but he was little enough I knew that much effort would be lost on him. The activities were things like a little sticker book, magnetic letters & a cookie sheet, pipe cleaners and a little box w holes poked in it that he could stick them through, etc. If you google toddler road trip activities you can find tons of great ideas. It really helped to keep him from getting too bored, since every hour or so that he was awake I could give him something new to do. I think it would work even better now that he's older. Good luck!

    1. These are all sounding great! Thanks everyone!

  5. This is my favorite blog post I found!

    Something else I'm doing (we're taking a 4 hour car trip in a couple of weeks --- I CAN"T wait!) .. I joined a children's book of the month club, and instead of giving E books when they come in the mail, I've wrapped them up so when she gets really bored she has a "present" to open. (I'm cheesy like that :))

    Hope everything goes good!!


  6. Oh man! This kinda stuff is right up my alley! Wanna have a play date? You can peruse the travel toys/activities I've collected for ideas, and if we aren't traveling during your trip, you can take it all with you! I have lots of advice floating in my head too, if you wanna hear any of it... I'm a serious type-A planner , and we've been on several long roadtrips, so I'd consider myself qualified:)

  7. Very useful tips which helps how to travel the world around with safe and pleasure journey. Thanks a lot.

  8. we traveled from florida to colorado...and back w/ an 18 month old and 3 year old. we did DVDs (but not more than 2 a day), activity pads w/ colored pencils, color wonder books, CDs, stickers (and then I'd collect them and throw them away at rest stops), lunch at rest stops w/ games of tag and running around, "fun" snacks. I took time whenever we'd stop to clean up and reorganize so we were ready to go again and everything was back in reach.

  9. I've driven from Jersey to Florida {18 hour total driving time} twice with kids now. We did split the drive into 2 days, but we always do about 14 hours the first day.

    I actually just wrote a blog post about this when we got home in March from our second trip. Here's the link

    Good luck!!

  10. When I was 4 and my sister was 2, we moved from Colorado to Virginia, and drove the whole way. It was quite an endeavor (from my child-like POV; can't imagine how my parents did it) but I remember various ways my parents passed the time and made the trip a bit easier for us girls. We stopped at almost every rest stop and "scenic overlook," if only just to get out and stretch for a few. My parents knew that taking two young kids on a long trip was going to be tough, and they factored in time to go slow and stop a lot to make it easier and more enjoyable for everyone.

    The other thing my mom did, which I still remember 20 years later, was go to the dollar store/cheap toy store and buy little presents for each of us. Then she wrapped them in wrapping paper, and every now and then when we were particularly well-behaved or REALLY needed a distraction, we got to pick out a new gift. They weren't expensive things, more like crayons and new coloring books or small puzzles/hand-held games, but it was enough to distract us for a bit and also an incentive to be good.

    This was way before the age of portable TVs/DVD players/iPods obviously, but it was a system that worked, and I remember the car trip as being a nice family experience, rather than something that traumatized me. Hope this helps! Good luck!

  11. Take it one hour at a time. ;)

    We don't let our kids watch TV in the car, so on trips, we play a lot of 'I spy' and make little scavenger hunt cards where they find letters, colors, etc. Kind of like I spy in a way. We take Magna doodles too. We did the cheapo gifts wrapped in tissue paper thing before and it worked for a while, but then it wore off. As does everything probably. Let them take their lovies. Sing songs, act silly, make the best of it! I'm sure it'll go great and even with hiccups, it'll be worth it.

  12. I found some good ideas on Pinterest. We've taken 13 hour trips with a 2 year old and baby before and it was long. This summer we are taking our kids from SC to Kansas (should take at least 17 hours) and we are going to try and do it all in one day. I think just being mentally prepared for things to not go as planned is a good thing to remember too. It's great to have lots of ideas and be prepared with things to do, but also be prepared when stops take a long time or are frequent (small bladders of preschoolers) and just know that in the end you will get there. :)

    I made a notebook with lots of coloring sheets/work sheets, mazes, and connect the dots (some my be too advanced for your kids)and put them in sheet protectors. You can color over them again and again with markers and then wipe off with a wet paper towel or wipe. This works great for my oldest one.