As a family we love travel, road trips and long car rides. Sounds odd I know, loving being trapped in the car with two kids for hours on end, but it’s true. Over the years I’ve found that a little preparation goes a long way when it comes to planning for a long car ride with kids.
Here are my top three tips for long car rides and traveling with kids.
Leave for your road trip really early
This is my number one tip and it works for us all of the time. We leave early, and I’m talking early,5am ish. We pack the car the night before, get the kids dressed in their clothes before they go to bed and then we get up early. We slide the kids in the car with their pillows and blankets and they fall asleep again for a good 3 hours (my husband too). This means that we can get a huge chunk of driving done before breakfast. It also means that most likely we won’t be battling too much traffic.
Pack snacks, lots of them
One of the most common reasons that my kids get cranky in the car is that they are hungry. This used to result in lots of stops along the way. Now I make up a bag for each child with snacks for the trip. I include things like granola bars, fruit, chips and usually one piece or package of candy. I also give them each a bottle of water. Keeping the snacks low sugar keeps them from bouncing off the walls.
This is the best part of a car trip in my opinion. Our two favorites are the alphabet game where you have to find words that start with a particular letter of the alphabet and the license plate game.
For the Alphabet Car Game you start out with A and look for words (outside the car) that start with A. Once an A word is found you move on to B etc…. down through the alphabet. The letters can’t be on license plates or in the middle of words with the exception of X, Q and Z. With the license plate game you simply try to find cars with license plates from all 50 states. These are both nice collaborative games with no real “winner” because the goal is for the whole car to work together to finish the game.
I hope these tips will help you have an enjoyable road trip with your family. Drive safe.