Road Trip Tips.
We decided to drive across country from Anaheim, California to Columbus, Ohio. My husband and I took our two daughters, one who is 7 and the other was 2 1/2 months at the time. It sounded like a good idea in theory, and it proved to be slightly stressful but far more economical. Everything started off great and the baby was doing really well. About 7 hours into our first day of driving the baby started to get extremely fussy. I found myself sitting in the backseat of the car playing different kid friendly videos to keep the baby entertained. I ended up with an extremely sore left butt cheek from sitting between two car seats.
Taking road trips with your family is one of the priceless memories your children will never forget. It almost seems like the moments when everyone goes crazy are the funniest to look back on. Staying in different hotels, trying to find decent food and making the best of every moment. It teaches your children to adapt, learning to find peace in seemingly stressful situations. These are lifelong lessons they are learning by simply being in the car for 37 hours.
Here are some of my tricks and tips on how to have a successful road trip as well as a healthy one.
1. Pack a cooler with homemade sandwiches, salads, fresh fruit, smoothies and trail mix.
This allows you to save money and cut down on eating junk food from the gas stations.
2. Plan you stops around major cities.
You want to plan your drive especially when you have children. Add in additional time for pee stops and mental breaks. You want to make sure that the places you are staying for the night have decent hotels and places to eat. We usually only stay in major cities because there will always be a Whole Foods and one of the Hilton or Marriott chains.
3. Pack a back seat entertainment bag for the kids.
You want to put tons of different forms of entertainment. We always start with books, then coloring, word puzzles, cards and then media. I usually save the iPad for night driving, throwing on a movie will give you at least 2 hours of quiet from your children. It's also easier to see the iPad in the dark which makes for better movie watching.
4. Stop, stretch and visit landmarks.
There is no point in doing a road trip if you aren't going to stop. Plan some stopping time in your trip, even if it's for 15 minutes. It helps break up the monotony of the trip and the kids get to actually learn something. Take pictures and make memories with your kids. Teach them to be open to new spaces and people. Make sure you do a little jog at rest stops and stretch those limbs. This is especially important for your kids, as it will help them to release some energy.
5. Pack pillows and blankets.
You want to make those long car rides as comfortable as possible. Giving your kid a pillow and blanket can sometimes cut down on the comfort complaints. Also making sure the driver has good back support to help promote good blood flow and comfort.
6. Make sure your car is clean, road ready and has backup tires and tools
This includes oil changes, tire checks and looking under the hood for leaks. Make sure you have the tools to change a tire, flares and weather appropriate emergency equipment.
Our family has always been a road friendly group. We enjoy visiting new places and just taking the time to slow down. We find it more economical and also just a great chance to visit some of the amazing places in our own country. What's important is to know what works for your family and their sanity. It's okay if road trips aren't your thing, figure out what is and do that. The important thing is to understand that you don't have to spend a ton of money to travel. You don't have to go out of the country to see beautiful land and to find new adventures. Taking a road trip is an easy way to open your children up to new cultures and traditions without needing a passport. Our family loves to travel and we love just being together enjoying new food and cultures. So if you decide to take a road trip, relax, turn up the music, and enjoy the ride.