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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?

designhermomma About :
Replies (31-40):
  • meglennox
  • by Member on Oct. 12, 2012 at 11:10 PM
  •  we drive. we haven't flown as a family yet.  our tip, is if at all possible, drive at night.  my husband drives while me and the boys sleep.  when we get to where we are going, normally TN, he then sleeps a couple of hours.  makes things so much smoother with a 5yr old, 3yr old, and a 15month old. :)

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  • alliesmom112
  • by on Oct. 13, 2012 at 12:13 AM
  • We always drive. We have a 700 mile trip every christmas. i let dh sleep all day the day we are going to leave and then we leave about 7 so dd can eat and then sleep most if not the whole way there 

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  • sukainah
  • by Member on Oct. 13, 2012 at 10:03 AM
  • When we were kids, our family would drive to all the destinations and we have fun along the way, stopping at different attractions, staying in different hotels etc.  I have good memories of those times.

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  • Leelee1008
  • by on Oct. 13, 2012 at 7:32 PM
  • Great idea! we plan on going to disney soon and I want to drive down.

    Quoting alliesmom112:

    We always drive. We have a 700 mile trip every christmas. i let dh sleep all day the day we are going to leave and then we leave about 7 so dd can eat and then sleep most if not the whole way there 


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  • timon95
  • by on Oct. 13, 2012 at 9:18 PM
  • same here

    Quoting sukainah:

    When we were kids, our family would drive to all the destinations and we have fun along the way, stopping at different attractions, staying in different hotels etc.  I have good memories of those times.


    family car

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  • copperswifey
  • by on Oct. 13, 2012 at 10:08 PM
  • We haven't taken any long trips since they were born. I don't think I would want to fly with them at least for another year. I am too nice and couldn't put other people through the torture lol :)

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  • Rushn311
  • by on Oct. 14, 2012 at 1:23 AM
  • We mostly fly because we go see the hubby's family in CA. I always buy new activities for the flight. Bring snacks as well. We brought the portable dvd player too.

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