Road Trip Sanity Savers

by on October 17th, 2010
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The holidays are upon us. For some of us this means traveling with children. We are lucking out this year and family is coming to us! Traveling with children takes some foresight on our part, but it can be done. I have traveled 13 hours in one day with my daughter (18 months at the time) last year. By the end the fussy one was not my daughter. That is just a long time for anyone to be in a car. Here are some tips for the in-car portion of your trip.

1. Be flexible. It is going to take you longer to get to your destination now that you are traveling with children. It used to take 6.5 hours to get to my family when it was just my husband and I. Well, now it takes about 8. Why does it take longer? We have to plan for extra stops, potty breaks (diaper changes), stretching breaks and even play breaks. During our 13 hour trip we stopped at the 6 hour mark to play for 45 minutes at an indoor play area in a mall.

2. Plan for naps. If you are traveling for more than 4 hours you will probably be looking at naptime at some point. Some children even sleep longer when they are traveling in the car. During naps you will be able to get a good stretch of driving time in. Make sure you have used the restroom prior to nap time. I feel victim to this during our last trip. I was wanting to get out of the car myself to stretch, I look in the back seat and I see my angel fast asleep. Needless to say, I didn’t stop.

3. Pack a Goody Bag. What’s in a goody bag? Whatever entertainment you are going to use during your trip. Our last goody bag included, Elmo, a doll, ‘Doggie’, and books. Our next goody bag will also include things like crayons, coloring books and a busy book. This goody bag needs to stay inside the car during driving times.

4. Snacks/Drinks: Snacks can provide entertainment and keep children busy for a while. Pack your snacks in snack size bags to make it easy for little fingers to eat them. When it comes to meal time, get out of the car. Use it as a time to get out, play and stretch. If you are bringing your own food, stop at rest area and use the fields for running time (weather permitting of course). If you are eating fast food (and your kids are old enough) find one with a play area.

5. Sanity Savers: Don’t forget things like the favorite blanket, the ‘lovie’, and pacifiers (if your child uses them). Whenever we go on a long trip I track down all the pacifiers I can. I keep these with me in the car. When my daughter drops one I have a fresh one to give her the next time she needs it. When we stop, I collect up all the pacifiers in the back seat so I have them for the next stretch of driving. Also dress your child in something soft and comfy. It makes riding in the car nicer for them.

Traveling with children needs a little planning and flexibility, but you will reach your destination in one piece.

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