Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Long Car Trips With Little Kids

Hello Everyone!  I hope things have been going well in blog land!  Before I begin, I'd like to say thanks to all those who sheltered us, fed us, prayed for us, and just generally helped us out this past week.  We are truly grateful to have such wonderful family and friends.  Thank You!

We've done car trips with our kids quite a bit.  It's just cheaper than flying on a plane sometimes.  But it can be long.  Really long.  Here's a few tips, tricks, and things I learned on our most recent cross country driving trip.

Long Car Trips With Little Kids

  • 2 days in the car
  • 1200 miles
  • 23 hours with rest stops
  • Repeat for a total of 4 days, 2400 miles, and 46 hours
  • Fun times!

What We Pack
  • Snacks.  Lots of snacks with little containers to hand the snacks back to the kids.  This time it was whatever we could grab out of the house.  Cereal, trail mix, Fruit Source mini bites, animal crackers, and such.
  • Drinks.  We all carry our own water bottle and keep an additional gallon of water for refills.  Plus we have V8 Fusions, sparkling water, and a few caffeinated sodas for something different.
  • Toys.  Lots of toys.  I pack a carton full of toys that Scooter can access or I can easily reach.  Coloring books & crayons, stickers, cars, a few Disney princesses in take-out containers, magnetic play boards that only come out for trips, and magnetic writers.
  • Books.  Lots of books.  Especially books with lots of things to look at or that contain lots of stories.  Richard Scarry books, Curious George treasuries, I Spy books, and Where's Waldo books.  The kids got rewarded with 2 new Waldo books after traveling well for 5 hours.  They only had 10 more hours in the car that day, plus 3 more days in the car after that.  They deserved new Waldo books. 
  • Books on CD.  We had the kids' Disney books with CDs.  We usually hit up the library for family friendly books on CD, but weren't able to this time. 
  • Music.  Cause we can't always find the radio station we want.  And we're of the "not with it" technology variety.  We don't own an ipod or mp3 player....yet.  We pack CDs.  Lots of them.
  • Comforts of home.  When we travel in the car, we always bring our own pillows.  We can't sleep in our own bed, so our own pillows are the next best thing.
  • Blankets.  Especially for the kids.  It's another comfort of home and something they can either use as a pillow in the car or cover themselves up with if they get cool. 

 Things I Learned On This Trip
  • The dog travels well.  A 7 hour trip is what we have done with the dog before.  He did great with 2 straight days in the car and then 2 more!  He mostly sleeps the whole way.  He won't eat his food, but will drink and eat a few treats. 
  • There's a Subway in nearly every little town, so we never went hungry.  I should have known that.  We live in a small town where besides a bar and a locally owned pizza place, there's a Subway. 
  • Your body doesn't feel good after 2 longs days in the car.  Sore back, tight hamstrings, and such. 
  • Being of the technology less variety, we don't own a laptop or those DVD thingies.  So our kids have never watched a movie in the car.  But Biker Boy had to work on this trip and brought his laptop.  We let the kids watch a movie after dinner on our 15 hour days.  (So they got to watch it twice, about an hour each.)  Who knew they could be so quiet while awake?!  And who knew smoke coming out of a talking vegetable's ears could be so funny?
  • Plane tickets are really expensive last minute.  Car rides from the southwest to the northern Midwest are really long.
  • It's great to see family....and stay with them, even under sad circumstances.  It's great when you can hit up family half way through your trip for a place to stay....even when they aren't there.  And even better when you get to celebrate a birthday with them.
  • Give me time to forget how my body felt.....and I might be ready to do this again.
  • I hate passing semis on 2 lane roads. 
  • I now know what it feels like to drive nearly 90mph.  Don't ask.  I don't want to remember it.
  • Apparently you can drive in rain where you can't see the road.  Just turn on your hazard lights and go slow.  I'm glad I wasn't driving then.
  • The interstate can be closed due to flooding causing you to take tiny back farm roads and miss your trip to Culvers. 
  • There are a lot of feed lots in Texas and Oklahoma.  A lot of pig farms in Iowa.
  • Thank goodness Biker Boy did most of the driving.
  • The GPS isn't always right.

So tell do you manage long car trips?  Any special things that you pack?  How do you keep your kids entertained on long trips?  Spill the tips, tricks, and beans.  I'll wait on the edge of my car seat. 

Psst...Wanna see how we pack for plane trips?  Click here.

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