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Seeking smart tips and hacks for taking road trips with kids?

Posted by on Jul. 9, 2014 at 10:14 AM
  • 34 Replies

Are we there yet? Making a family road trip can turn from blissful to awful in a matter of minutes. Let's face it. We need all the help we can get! What secrets, tips, or hacks do you have to make road trips less, well, painful? Have you simplified eating in the car? Do you make a really cool boredom-busting snack and activity bag for your kids? Do you have a brilliant car sickness solution? Tell us your secrets to traveling in a car with kids! Your answers could be included in an upcoming post on The Stir.‚Äč

by on Jul. 9, 2014 at 10:14 AM
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by Ruby Member on Jul. 9, 2014 at 10:18 AM
My husband and i leave when it gets close tobmy daughter bed time. She would sleep the whole way there unless shes not feeling good or wants to walk around to trech her legs. We make sure we have plenty of snacks for the ride there and back also drinks and make sure to bring enough diapers, and bring her favorite toy that she loves
by Ruby Member on Jul. 9, 2014 at 10:23 AM

I used to take many a road trip with my 3 younger kids (all our family lives out of state, in different states).  It would be a 3000+ mile road trip every summer, stopping for 3-4 days in each of 4 places.

First, I never tried to "drive straight through."  Silly and dangerous.  I'm a morning person, so we would start at about 6 am.  The kids would sleep in the car - usually til about 8. We'd stop then and get breakfast.  Then back to the car.  Drive until about lunchtime.  Stop and get lunch (getting out of the car is good for everyone).  Then drive about 4 hours more, and stop for the night.

ALWAYS get a hotel with a pool.  When I'd stop for the night, we'd immediately get in bathing suits and hit the pool.  The kids would splash and play - I'd sit and watch and relax.  Sometimes I'd get in the pool - the stretching did ME good as well.

Then we'd go eat, come back to the room, and honestly, I'd usually pass out (well, fall asleep, lol).  I'd let the kids play games, or get a pay per view (now it would be easy with netflix and stuff).

Then the next day we'd do it all over again.

We did take food in the car, but nothing "messy."  We have one of those plug in coolers, which is great for being able to take things like cheese cubes.  Headphones for DVD's.  When they were little, I'd dress them in matching (bright) t-shirts to keep an eye on them in things like rest areas.  Only clear beverages for them to drink (I love my coffee, and hey, I'm an adult).

by Meter Maid on Jul. 9, 2014 at 10:25 AM
Post-it notes are awesome. They stick everywhere, can be drawn on and my kids will play for hours with one little package.
by on Jul. 9, 2014 at 10:26 AM
A portable DVD player, a bag of Dollar Tree toys and art supplies, and some non perishable snacks and my kids are set. I plan for stops every hour and a half, and stop at places the kids can stretch their legs about 20 minutes. When it's just me I pack a small backpack just for the hotel and put it where I can get to it easily. I keep a cooler of drinks in the backseat floorboard if I have another adult, or if it's just me, in my passenger seat where I can get to it.

I travel from Texas to Indiana and back several times a year, with and without another adult. My kids are 5, 4, and 1. I do break it up into 2 days, especially when it's just me, because everyone gets tired and sore sitting in a car for so long, and I need to sleep lol.
by Anonymous 1 on Jul. 9, 2014 at 10:51 AM
2 moms liked this

 The key to having a decent trip is to fly.

by Platinum Member on Jul. 9, 2014 at 10:52 AM
1 mom liked this

Iv'e done a lot of different kinds of road trips with different age kids and have tried all the tricks in the book (the pintrest book, that is) and the thing ive learned is that some preparation is necessary, but don't go overboard and stress out about making little art kits and snack boxes and trip planners and wear yourself down before you even get started! 

Also, don't pack so much car entertainment that you can't get to it.  Each kid gets a smallish backpack full of their personal stuff.. make sure it includes something with headphones! Pack a big tote bag full of snacks already divided out into baggies you so can just toss baggies back to the kids every little while. 

Bribery!  Keep a second bag full of awesome snacks... junk food they don't normally get, little toys or something else they would be motivated to work for.  If they start getting at each other or the noise just gets to be too much tell them they can each earn something from the treat bag for half an hour of silence.  :)  

If you have older kids and are doing an overnight trip look for a hotel with a suite with a separate bedroom.  When you get to the hotel, go swimming, then go back to the room, order the kids a couple pizzas and movies and let them stay up as late as they want in one room, while you sleep in the other.  

by Ruby Member on Jul. 9, 2014 at 10:54 AM

We make a couple of long distance car trips with the kids (three 6-year olds) a couple of times a year.  Rules about electronics and video watching are pretty much set aside for the car ride... I don't care if you are glued to your DS the entire time the car is moving so long as you are not poking your sibling, kicking my seat, or whining incessantly.

the night before departure, each child packs their "van bag" with their headphones, Nintendo DS, their DVD player and favorite movies, any books they might want, and any other small toys they want to have with them.  I pack the mom bag with reasonably car friendly snacks, the cooler with water, juice and Coke, and the console with a few books on CD.  Car seats are loaded with a small soft blanket and a small soft pillow, the empty seat in the back has a mom pillow and blanket in case one of us wants a nap.

Reservations are made for a hotel with an indoor pool somewhere just past the mid-point.  This year, we also packed their fold-up Razor scooters- well worth the little space they took up.

Early morning departure whenever possible.  Every time I (or anyone else) have to pee, we all get out, kids run around, try to use the bathroom.  When it is time to eat I don't stress if they want McDonald or other crap, I just get it and let it go- time to eat healthy once we are settled in. 

Once we stop for the night, the kids swim, ride their scooters, burn off the excess energy.

I figure, if I can get them wher ewe are going without leaving one of them at a rest stop or slitting my throat, we are doing pretty good.

by on Jul. 9, 2014 at 10:54 AM

My kids just watch movies.

by on Jul. 9, 2014 at 10:55 AM
Ugh, I'm too cheap and lazy to fly, wrestling 3 kids and all of our luggage through an airport? Blech. It may be easier for some, but I would rather just load everything into a trunk and drive it.

Quoting Anonymous:

 The key to having a decent trip is to fly.

by Ruby Member on Jul. 9, 2014 at 10:58 AM

 Great idea with the matching t-shirts- we did that when we went to Sea World, and I also did it in the car on the road... I agree- easier to keep track of them.

Quoting Not_A_Native:

When they were little, I'd dress them in matching (bright) t-shirts to keep an eye on them in things like rest areas. 


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