We did it! We did a cross country road trip with our 4 boys this summer and lived to tell about it! Let me share with you how these 5 tips made it so successful!
1. Drive 5-7 hours a day max
Breaking up our travel into shorter days made it feel more like an adventure and less like a torturous never ending road trip. It also allowed for margin in case there was traffic, or fun stops along the way. Speaking of fun stops, looking ahead of time for possible fun stops right off the highway gives you ideas for along the way. I found this helpful if it was getting stir crazy in our car. Keep in mind, some “fun stops” may turn out to be duds. So If you as the parent have a good attitude chances are your kids will follow suit.
I booked all of our stays through this one site www.booking.com ( no I do not get any perks for endorsing this company) and I can’t say enough good things about this site. Not only is it super user friendly, but I always find great deals…especially since we are a large family. Through this site I could find hotel rooms that holds all of us, and even hotels that are 2 bedrooms! Yippee! I love some space when traveling, so having options to choose from is important to me. For example, in Houston we found this 3 bedroom, 2 story condo with an epic pool that was the same price as a 1 bedroom tiny hotel room! Also, when we had to reroute our return trip home due to a hurricane, we were able to cancel our reservations without penalty and easily find another hotel to book. This was such a lifesaver when it could have been such a stressor!
3. Pack a cooler
Arm yourself with a cooler full of breakfast and lunch items! Throw in a table cloth, and you have a fun picnic at the rest area of your choice! This was such a time and money saver! Here are some of our favorite snack items:
dum dums, gummy worms, fruit snacks, grapes, carrots and hummus, clementines, clif bars, water bottles
4. Hand out spending money in advance
We gave our kids their spending money while we were in the car driving. We told them that is what they get for the trip and that they could spend it at gas stations and souvenir shops. However, we made it clear that once their money was gone, it was gone. This was amazing, because our kids learned the value of their money, and didn’t beg us for things everywhere we went. Instead, they took pride in what they decided to use their money on and were fine not using their money on things they didn’t really want anyways . I loved seeing what they decided to spend their money on…like this wrestling mask my 5 year old had to have!
5. Daily surprises
Arm yourself with activities for the car! There is always that time in the car when kids start to get a little stir crazy and need a distraction. So I thought i’d grab a few cheap things and wrap them up, so everyday our kids received one surprise. These items were small and included: Pipe cleaners, glow sticks, soccer trading cards, and mess free coloring books. It was a hit! I also packed a bin of items we already had: magnetic activities, mad libs, word searches, audio books, books, and hand held devices. You can never be to prepared, right?! We even created a playlist of songs for the car…always put more songs on your playlist than you think you need!
Bonus Tips: Pack all of your overnight clothes for the entire family in one bag. This way you don’t have to take out all your suitcases at each hotel stop. We also packed large garbage bags to put our dirty clothes in. This made it easy to wash them if we needed to and keep them separate from our clean clothes.
What tips would you add for long road trips?