This is a post from Adena Foster of AdenaF
It’s drawing to the close of summer and everyone seems pressed to get that one last road trip in before the school season starts. But does the thought of the whole family crammed into a vehicle, along with luggage, for somewhat endless hours make you cringe? Don’t worry, I can help you enjoy the journey to your destination as much as the destination itself. Almost anyway.
I grew up in the same small town and lived there (or within fifteen minutes or less) until I was twenty-eight years old. Then we moved twelve hours away. It was hard. I missed my parents being so close. And they missed seeing their only grandchildren. Twelve hours is just the distance that was too short for me to want to stay overnight somewhere but too long to really enjoy the trip there. Especially with all the kids. During that time I decided to make the trip back home every three months. Of course, my husband couldn’t get that amount of time off work so that left me doing all the driving with the kids in tow. During the years we lived that far away, we had our fourth baby so some of those trips included a small infant too.
I’ve gathered some ideas to help you make the trip more manageable.
- Use a Master Packing List (you can use this a foundation and then adjust to your family’s needs)
- Pack outfits that can easily be interchangeable (this also limits shoes and accessories needed which take up unnecessary space)
- Pack wrinkle resistant clothing (I seldom pack an iron but usually take along my Homemade Wrinkle Release Spray)
- Audio books (We once finished an entire long series on an extended road trip.)
- Travel games (I Spy, Car Bingo, License Plate mapping, etc.)
- Electronics (I try to limit this but sometimes they all don’t nap at the same time and it’s a quiet – with headphones – activity)
- Books (be watchful for car sickness)
- Sing along CDs
- Coloring books/crayons (WARNING: make sure the kids know to keep the crayons in the box! Otherwise, you might enjoy some pretty colorful cup holders like I did or find melted chunks in the carpet)
- Wipe off boards/markers (this is great for playing tic tac toe, hangman, squares, etc.)
Nowadays we seldom travel anywhere without our cell phones. But instead of using it to escape communicating with those around us, you can use it as a tool when you travel. (I have an Android but I’m sure the same or similar apps are available on other platforms.)
- If you are going to a large city, Trip Advisor might have a City Guide or Offline City Guide that you can download.
- Around Me. This app is great for finding the closest gas station, bank, restaurant, etc.
- Yelp. Very similar to Around Me. I personally use this one all the time, I like the reviews that others give better.
- Depending where you are going, try out Gogobot to see if there is a city guide to your destination.
- Roadtrippers. Great way to find some neat things off the beaten path
How do you handle road trips? Are there any tips for finding unique stops along your path?