Wednesday, July 9, 2014


You always think you'll remember but you don't. So I'm going to put down a few things here that I want to do next time.

My kids travel quite well, if we do it right. This is what "doing it right" looks like for us.


1. Leave as early as you can stand it. 3am is about perfect.

2. Try to plan it so you are done for the day by dinnertime. 12 hours is okay, but the 15 hour day was really long.

3. We did two days of driving, 15.5 hours one day, 12 the second. Things went a lot smoother when we had a day of rest in Kansas in between the two (we did on the way there but not on the way back).


1. Eat your meals out of the car. Plan on these excursions adding about an hour to your trip each time. Try to plan it that you don't have to stop except for meals. Feed the baby, get gas, go to the bathroom, get dressed, all while eating breakfast.

2.  Try to eat at Subway for one of the meals, it helps you not feel so sick. It's worth it if you have to drive a couple miles into town (a GPS is great for this). Subway is great for breakfast. Ham & cheese egg sandwich on flatbread. It's delicious! Culver's frozen custard sounds really good about lunchtime.

3. I really liked eating a hot meal each time we stopped. As an adult, it gives you something to look forward to and a change of pace for a little while.

4. DO NOT EAT inside the restaurant. One or all of your kids will have a huge embarrassing meltdown while you are in there. If you have a GPS, try and find a park nearby or something similar.

5. Snack very little, and keep them organic if possible. This really helps you not feel sick for two days. I kept the snacks in the back of the car and would bring up one small snack at each of our stops. I'm not a huge organic person, so I was surprised to find that we actually liked these granola bars (they don't taste like regular granola bars, so don't have any preconceived notions about them). This same company, Plum, also makes portable smoothies which we also liked (this flavor). Apparently not all organic companies are equal because I bought some different brands for the way home that we didn't like as well. I got the Plum stuff at Target.

6. Other great snacks are: apples and oranges with a mini cutting board and a knife, or anything in convenient self-serve packages. Don't do a cooler. You won't want lukewarm cucumbers even if you don't have anything else to eat. Bring tons of water bottles and a water jug for refilling water bottles.

7. Reserve the stay-awake food for the driver. Ben eats sunflower seeds to stay awake, I do Werther's. The sugar free ones seem to take longer to dissolve.


I don't really have to keep our kids occupied while we drive. I know that's not like most people. I also have the calmest baby in the world.

1. I would bring up one activity at each stop, and give it to them when they started whining. Sticker books are great, especially the really big reusable ones with 200+ stickers. I found some at Target.

2. The portable DVD player counted as one activity. I would usually reserve it for close to naptime or after dinner. Our kids don't watch a lot of t.v. so it was a real treat for them on the way there. By the time we'd been at other people's houses for a week they were t.v. saturated and it couldn't hold their interest as long.

3. Magnets on small cookie sheets were a big hit. Playdough with rollers and stuff. These painting books were pretty fun (and reusable too, which I like) (also available at Target). Puzzles and Mr. Potato Head were a big mess. I kinda wished I had one of those travel trays.

4. We (the adults) listened to a few books on CD while the kids watched a movie or did whatever. The kids were too little for a children's book on CD to keep their attention. But they loved some of our favorite kid songs (we love Laurie Berkner).

5. I think next time it would be fun to do a little lesson with the girls in the morning. I also wished I would have planned some fun things to talk about with Ben. After a couple hours in the car your brain is fried and you can't think of anything. I wished I had a neck rest for poor Delaney. Sometimes she would wake up really sore.

This was our first family road trip! I have an inkling there are ways we can make it more fulfilling, and more relationship-strengthening and less of a "get it done," but I'm going to let it simmer for a while. Here's to many more road trips in the future!

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