Things to do on a road trip… so you survive with kids.
Before I write this post I feel I need to first say that I am in no way an expert at road trips. In fact, if you would have asked me a few years ago, I would have told you to avoid family road trips if at all possible. I personally hate the car and the thought of being crammed into our van packed with our belongings and our children was quite terrifying.
Regardless, we love to take vacations and with 8 kids, flying just isn’t in the budget right now. We have traveled all over including Destin, Florida -a 15 1/2 hour drive (not including stops).
We have returned from our vacation and I wanted to report that the car ride I was dreading was absolutely perfect. Not everything was perfectly smooth, but all in all, this family will definitely be having more family road trips in our future! I thought I would take a few minutes to give you my tips for things to do on a road trip to hopefully help make your next family road trip just as successful as ours.
Family road trip idea:
1. Don’t have high expectations
In general, I try to be a positive person. My primary goal in life is to see good and be happy. With a road trip, this isn’t a good thing. I did the complete opposite. I expected the worst. I anticipated the worst. We had a first aid kit ready to go, paper towels ready for a spill and baby wipes ready for sticky fingers. It might seem quite negative in preparing for your road trip, but it will make the trip a much more positive experience. I promise.
2. Plan Activities – Play Road trip games
Don’t just throw your children in the car and hit the road. Grab a variety of activities for your children to do in the car. After all, you can’t expect them to entertain themselves for 15 hours. 🙂 You need a big variety -think outside the box including some fun road trip games. Here are a few ideas:
- Movies: Bring movies (we even bought 2 new ones that my husband got for cheap). We have a dvd player in our car. If you don’t have one, then ask around. You probably have a friend that will loan you theirs for the week.
- Road trip games – play I spy, the alphabet game, and more!
- Books: We brought children’s books and a chapter book to read to them.
- Activitiy Books/Coloring Books: I purchased activity books for each children for just $1 at Dollar Tree. They activities for kids of all ages. I also bought clip boards for each children, so it was easier for them to write. My kids loved practicing their numbers and letters on the trip. Amazon has several for cheap too = I love the hidden pictures activity book.
- Traveling games – Amazon has tons on sale right now
- Hand held video games or ipads: Most kids don’t even notice that the world exists while playing a game, so these are definitely handy for the car.
3. Schedule out your time
This might seem weird, but just like a school has scheduled classes and a preschool class has centers, you should schedule out your driving time. For example I basically told everyone when they were allowed to do what activity. When it was movie time, they only could watch a movie, when it was reading time, everyone read, etc… It might look something like this:
1 1/2 hours -Watch a movie
30 minutes – read books
30 minutes – Activity books
30 minutes – ipad time
Now, I didn’t really write anything down, but I just told the children what we were doing. If it was time to play the video games then they knew they only got 30 minutes with them. You didn’t hear whining, fighting and complaining, because they wanted to get as much playing done in that small amount of time.
We also had a mandatory resting time. Since our daughter still needs a nap, after lunch we had a mandatory quiet time. The boys knew that once she fell asleep they could play games or watch a movie (as long as it was quiet). This guaranteed a good 1- 2 hours of peace for the parents. 😉 Even if your children are too old for naps, a mandatory resting time is still a fabulous idea.
The main idea with “scheduling” activities is to keep the kids interest in that certain activity. This really seemed to help us. As soon as it appeared that the kids were getting bored, we switched!
4. Give Rewards
Some call this bribery, but I call it smart. 😉 The favorite thing our kids loved during the road trip was getting to pick out a sucker at the gas station. Sure it is an overpriced treat for this frugal family, but our kids loved it. They knew that if they fought and argued that day, they would not get that special treat the next time we stopped, so they did not argue. 😉
That is it -those are my 4 tips to surviving a family road trip. Do you have any to add?
Here are also a few things that will make your family road trip easier:
Check out this cool gadget that will make road trips a bit more fun! Right now from Amazon you can get this Wagan Personal Fridge/Warmer – 7L Capacity for ONLY $33 (from $54.95)!
Right now on Amazon, you can order this AAA 121-Piece Road Trip First Aid Kit for just $18.36 (from $29.99) shipped FREE with Amazon Prime. That is a good price for a very comprehensive first aid kit!
Snag this Collapsible Folding Flat Trunk Organizer For Car or SUV Truck in Black for only $10.99– regularly priced $49.95! I love this!
There are also a TON of super cute traveling games that are one sale too.
I hope that they will help you have just as successful family road trip as our family did. What tips do you have that work for you? Hopefully this list of things to do on a road trip will help you survive your next family road trip.
Leave a comment so we can all learn from your successes.