On the road again…


My in laws live far away. They split time between Canada and South Carolina. We also travel for a long established Columbus Day weekend adventure with family and friends to Northern Michigan.  We usually drive. We have a golden retriever. He is our first baby, I am sad to say he gets little attention these days with three other small critters in the house, however he is a priority when we are traveling. He can’t miss the lake in Canada or the woods in Northern Michigan. We don’t want to put him in a create under the air plane.  So we drive.

Last week we did our yearly road trip to Northern Michigan. We decided to drive the return trip all in one chunk – 16 hours in the car strait. We hit the road at 6:50 AM and pulled in our driveway at 11:35PM. It was not that bad. Here are some ways to keep you, the kids, the dog, the husband, and the marriage happy on a road trip

Break the Rules:

  1. Junk food: I usually go to Trader Joes and stock up on granola bars, breakfast bars, cookies, pretzels, crackers, and portable yogurts and apple sauces. Anything that is designed to be easy to travel with. It is OK to constantly snack. Especially for the very littlest in the group where screen time does not work. We don’t usually have full meals on road trips.
  2. Screen time: We travel with one or two laptops with DVD capacity. I find that my kids like watching shows better than movies. The smart phones also come in handy for educational and not so educational games.
  3. All day PJs: They get to wear their pajamas all day.

Set Clear Expectations:

Like most things clear expectations are helpful.  When we start talking about a long trip we say “We will be driving and driving and driving and driving and driving and driving and driving and driving and stopping to pee and driving and driving and driving…” Surprisingly this does  limit the “Are we there yet”.

Moving Mommy:

Seating arrangements are important. We have a mini van. Originally the two big kids were in the way back, the baby and dog were in the middle, with mom and dad in the front. When I wasn’t driving I switched with the dog or sat between the big kids. I managed the kids with knitting in my lap working on an easy project I could pick up and put down without trouble while playing games with the baby, reading books,  reading instructions to work books, or reaching dropped stuff.

What are your road trip tips?

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  1. We travel frequently between NY/Maine/CT/Philadelphia and have ever since we’ve been married. The kids learned early on how to travel well.

    Now that they are older we listen to books on tape and find that The Magic Treehouse is entertaining once you get used to the person’s voice who is reading the stories. We also like to play various games like the liscense plate game and “name what’s in the tanker truck”. We document these games in a book that we keep in the car and it’s been fun to look back on it from when they were little and we mostly played as adults. Needlesstosay the contents of the tanker truck have changed now that the kids are playing.

  2. For road trips from California to Montana, my mom used to have a special bag with cheap little toys and treats (bingo games, stickys that stick on the windows), when things got really dire, she’d get the bag out and hand something out. It only happened every once in a while so it seemed special, and I think it probably helped redirect us when we were getting really whiny. (Of course, our favorite thing, which would be totally illegal now that seat belts are important, was that we’d get in the back of the station wagon in our sleeping bags and wiggle around in a pile pretending to be worms. I think childhood used to be easier…)

  3. Pingback: The Pulley | Two Clever MomsTwo Clever Moms

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