As I have mentioned in previous posts, we are drawing our summer inspiration from Disney FamilyFun Magazine’s Badges of Fun program where you earn “badges” by completing fun family activities. In August, the great activities were all centered around hitting the road and making road trips easier and more fun with young kids. If there is one thing I know (hopefully I know more than one) it is about road-tripping with kids.
At least once a year, we drive from Seattle to Lodi, California and back – about 14 +/- hours in the car each way. Yes, we do it all in one day because it has been our experience that piling two adults, two kids and a dog into a cheap motel room equals no sleep for anyone, even the dog. It also doubles the amount of packing and unpacking so the pain of spending all day in the car is more than worth it.
The key to keeping your sanity of road trips, no matter the length, is planning ahead and packing the car appropriately. For our camping trips this year I started making a reading box which sits neatly between the boy’s seats in the car. It contains books, coloring books, crayons and other reading material. Luckily I have two readers. Once we arrive at the campground, it moves into Poppy (our trailer) for bedtime or if they wake up early.
Each boy also packs a bag of toys. I have taken two reusable six-pack wine carriers and cut out the dividers, because these are smaller than the regular shoppers. They hold the right amount of toys and not only provide toys for the car, but also for use once we arrive at our destination.
Since you can’t have a road trip without food, I also pack our snack bag that sits on the floor right behind the center console for easy access. This includes not only kid snacks, but adult snacks too (hello Chex Mix,) especially if we are going to be on the road for a while. I have found that the freeze dried fruit slices (available at Costco) make a great healthy
snack that isn’t sticky.
Finally, for the adults, the keys to road trip sanity are DVD players and iPods. I know some people may be opposed to them, but for us we couldn’t do it without them. It’s like refusing pain medication during surgery – why bother? They don’t hand out awards at the end for those that endured the most pain and no one is any worse for wears as a result. Memorial Day weekend we went camping and got caught in traffic that added two extra hours to our drive (a 3.5 hour drive, became a 5.5 hour drive) and most of that extra time
was spent stopped on the freeway. The boys were complete angels, happily watching movies and eating snacks.
Are you participating in the Badges of Fun series? I would love to hear about what activities you are doing.