We live in Texas. Texas is awesome. Texas is big.
When we take a vacation, it takes half our time just to get out of the state. Our road trips are always at least 6 hours, but more often 12-26 round trip.
As a result, we have to be very intentional about planning in order to stay sane and keep the children content for such longs stretches in the car.
Our last vacation was especially long, but it went really well. Here are the tactics I used to make our trips run (relatively) smoothly.
I planned what each of my kids wore on each day of the trip. I made a little pile for each day that contained pajamas, outfit for the day and any accessories. I then put all those items into a ziplock bag, compressed it and labeled it with the child’s name and the date it was to be worn.
It sounds really obnoxiously organized, but I promise it has been a sanity saver for us.
This was helpful for several reasons. If you’ve ever traveled with little ones you know how annoying it can be to try to search through a bag for one tiny pair of socks or pants. It can also be tiring to try to figure out what they will wear WHILE trying to get them dressed.
With this method, Jimmy or I could just grab a bag for each kid and then we had everything needed for the day.
It also took up less space in the suitcase.
Instead of bringing a giant bag of pretzels or trail mix and passing it out in the car, I divided up the snacks into little snack bags so that whenever someone needed something we didn’t have to worry about crumbs or making sure little hands didn’t drop things.
We could just pick out a small bag and hand it to them.
When my kids were babies, I premeasured all the baby cereal they’d eat for the trip into small bags. Before each day I put together 3 meal kits (containing the baby cereal, baby food, spoon and disposable bib) in preparation for the next day. In the morning, I’d just put the kits in my diaper bag and I was ready for the whole day.
3. PLAY AND PRESENTS
In addition to packing their favorite toys and books, I also went to the dollar store and bought a few new surprises. I wrapped the new items along with some old forgotten favorite ones and hid them in the basket of books and toys.
Every few hours or when they got really restless, I’d let them dig for and open a “present.” They LOVED it.
4. STORIES ON CD
We also had several stories on CD that we listened to and that was something everyone really enjoyed. My kids were literally mesmerized by Pollyanna, Anne of Green Gables, Adventures in Odessey and Little House on the Prarie. It was especially nice when Jimmy and I needed them to be quiet (like when one was napping) because they didn’t want to talk for fear they’d miss any of the story.
(I just love this sweet pic of my oldest and youngest. They fell asleep holding hands.)
5. DVD PLAYER
Now, we do bring a DVD player (my laptop) on our trips, but we really prefer that they look at the scenery. Often, we’ll hook the sound up through the car stereo and just listen to their favorite movies so they can still see the sights..
Normally, everything else keeps them so entertained that they don’t really ask to watch videos, although it is certainly a nice option and we usually pull it out at least once or twice.
Well, that’s what worked for us. If you go on a road trip anytime soon, I hope some of these ideas work for you.
WHAT’S YOUR STORY?
I’d love to learn your road trip/vacation tips, please share them in the comments.
Did you take road trips as a child? Love “em or hate “em?Leave a Comment