We normally travel via airplane (because we’re so jet-set like that) but Luke’s grandparents called us up recently and asked us to come visit them in Arizona. How can you say no to a sweet grandma offering you gas and snacks money? You can’t. It took us less than half a second to say YES because they asked us on a day that we woke up to 4 inches of snow. Keep freezing our butts off or relax in 80+ weather?
So, we packed up, gassed up, and hit the road. Here are some tips for road tripping with children:
Make Stops. A 20 minute break every now and then will get their wiggles out. Find a place that has grass, if you can, and play a game of tag or do summersaults and cartwheels. Sitting for a long time is hard and a break will work wonders for moral. Our rule? Everyone goes to the bathroom, every time we stop.
Snacks. If you or your kids are prone to motion sickness pack healthy snacks and food. Grabbing fast food that’s high in fat makes car sickness worse. Here are some easy ideas you can prep before the trip (you’ll need zipper baggies and a cooler):
apples (soak the slices in salted water for a few minutes- they won’t turn brown!!)
mayo- grab a few small packs the next time you’re at a fast food place
mustard- same advice as the mayo
candy (just enough to keep myself sane and bribe the kids, mwahahahahaha)
Grocery Bags. Bring more than you think you would ever need. Here are ways we use them:
Vomit- Double them up! Nobody wants puke in a bag with a hole in the bottom.
Activities. Isca gets terribly carsick if she looks at or plays with anything but she seems to do okay watching a movie. Our car has a DVD player that folds down and a few sets of wireless headphones. We stopped at the library and picked up a few DVD’s for some entertainment.
We also got a few books on CD to listen to. It helped having a break from just watching movies the whole time. I will be honest and say that they weren’t huge fans of it and Isca kept saying, “Mom! Something is wrong. I can’t see this movie.”
Noa brought his DS and that was nice for him when the girls were sleeping and he was bored.
Classic road trip games. Check out 15 classic roadtrip games.
Hollis lost her mind once an hour but she did enjoy reading herself a few books between meltdowns.
I should mention that as we stepped out of the car and into our home, we swore to each other that we would never go on another road trip. Ever. Because, it sucked. The way down wasn’t so bad. We drove for a few hours, ate dinner, drove a few more and spent the night with friends in Vegas. Then we woke up, took them to breakfast and finished the last few hours. It was coming home that was not awesome…
Keep in mind that the drive was about 10 hours, if you only stopped to gas up and use the restroom. We had to stop twice to eat, clean up (keep reading), and help Isca with a roadside potty stop. So, 10 hours turned into 12 and Hollis wouldn’t sleep. Like, she would doze off and then wake up 20 minutes later ANGRY. She made sure we were aware of how tired/uncomfortable/not happy she was. Also, Noa and Isca both puked, we drove through rain and snow, we drove through high wind that was sending tumbleweeds across the road like crazy. And they were big! We were running over tumbleweeds! The straw that broke the camel’s back for me was a pair of seriously stinky feet/tennis shoes in the backseat.
But I’m sure absolutely nothing will go wrong on your road trip. Not one thing.
More tips here- TRAVEL WITH KIDS: 10 tips for survival