Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

Pregnancy Pregnancy

How to Survive an 18 hour Road-trip with Children

Last week we packed up the family and headed some +17 hours south to sunny Florida. Because of the high costs of flying with six people, the only way we were going to pull off the trip was to hit the road and drive.

Driving across the country is exhausting in general, but driving across the country with four small children is a unique type of epic marathon. Going into the trip, I knew the most important thing to pack would be our patience, and of course a few other essential road trip items.

5 Tips for Road-tripping with small children:

1. Pack a fun bag. For my big girls (ages 8 and 5), I packed an activity bag filled with fresh coloring books, new boxes of crayons and markers, and plenty of new to them Disney themed movies borrowed from a friend.

2. Healthy Snacks.
Each kid got a brown paper lunch bag filled with their very own selection of healthy snack. They didn’t have to constantly ask me for food, because they had a small bag of tasty treats with them right at their seat. I kept the snacks healthy and simple, to avoid sugar crashes and belly aches down the road.

3.  Lots of Pit-Stops. While the trip lasted almost 18 hours in total, we stopped approximately every three hours or so, regardless of if we needed gas or a potty break. At each stop, we played a quick game of Simon Says, and did a few jumping jacks, and I nursed the baby.

4. Sleeping Halfway. We broke the trip into two legs. 10 hours the first day, and the remaining 7 the next. I found a great deal online for a hotel suite with lots of amenities (2 queen beds, and 1 pull out sofa, heated pool and free hot breakfast). By stopping, sleeping, and swimming in a pool, we arrived at our destination rested and ready to have fun. Plus, the kids thought sleeping in a hotel room and ordering take-out pizza for dinner was so cool!

5. Maintain Low Expectations. We kept the travel agenda light and flexible, expecting things to not go as planned. By expecting the unexpected, we (hardly) ever lost our cool or became disappointed when things didn’t go they way they should have.

Traveling by car with small children requires tons of careful packing and planning. But at the end of the day, spending time with family and friends makes all the effort so very worth it.

When you travel with your family, do you drive or fly? What is your best tip for traveling with kids?

by on Oct. 11, 2012 at 12:00 AM
Replies (11-20):
.Angelica.
by Silver Member on Oct. 11, 2012 at 1:37 PM

we don't ever travel more than 3 hours away and have never flown.

Cafe Amber
by on Oct. 11, 2012 at 3:49 PM

We have been driving the more kids we have- we pack snacks, books, and new toys- we give a new toy each time they seem to be getting restless, it sounds like a lot but we usually only pack about 5 new toys (and our road trips are about 20 hour road trips)- we get them from the dollar store so it's not too bad cost wise and they look forward to what they get to unwrap next.

We've never done the DVD player in the car or anything and they are all great travelers!

Cafe Amber
by on Oct. 11, 2012 at 3:50 PM


Quoting 4kidz916:

I've never even thought of stopping at a shopping mall to stretch our legs and get out some energy. 

Quoting elasmimi:

One tip I found helpful; we usually stop and let the toddlers run around at rest areas, but on one trip to Florida, it was pouring rain. She was restless, we needed to stretch our legs. We were lucky enough to find a shopping mall that was not too crowded and we all got a little exercise.


That is a good idea!

dusky_rose
by on Oct. 11, 2012 at 4:59 PM

I've done long trips in the car with young children before. I didn't have this when my older children were younger, but having a dvd player is a must for traveling on long trips with young children. Your tips are great also!

Sue ~ Head Admin
~ D.V. Survivor/Admin

lalasmama2007
by on Oct. 11, 2012 at 5:43 PM
It depends on where we are going. We have done both.
KristinRox
by on Oct. 11, 2012 at 7:54 PM

I love the idea of breaking the trip up. 

KristinRox
by on Oct. 11, 2012 at 7:55 PM

I totally agree!!!! The portable dvd players make things so much easier. 

Quoting dusky_rose:

I've done long trips in the car with young children before. I didn't have this when my older children were younger, but having a dvd player is a must for traveling on long trips with young children. Your tips are great also!


JOIN US ON:



MamaBear2cubs
by Bronze Member on Oct. 11, 2012 at 8:46 PM

Frequent breaks!

LancesMom
by on Oct. 11, 2012 at 9:38 PM

We usually drive. And we did do this trip to FL from Michigan. It was a two day trip. It is like 24 hours to dricve straight through. The back seat qwas full of fun things for him to stay busy. And we did have a few planned and unplanned stops.

I will say, thats something I don't want to do again. If we had to go that far.... I'd fly. But we usually stick close enough to home to drive.

Bob192
by Member on Oct. 12, 2012 at 1:19 AM

We drive, our kids have never been on a plane.

Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

close Join now to connect to
other members!
Connect with Facebook or Sign Up Using Email

Already Joined? LOG IN