Our family is too familiar with road trips. When I was younger, my mom would always take us on road trips with my brothers and sister. Before we flew to Hawaii in 2012, it had been 15 years since anyone in my entire family had been on a plane. There’s so much more than you’re able to experience when you drive long distances. We get to see small local shops, eat at restaurants we had never been to, and make small pit stops to enjoy a little fresh air. When I was around 8 years old, I remember taking a road trip to Orlando, Florida from Baytown, Texas with my family. We ended having a little car breakdown on the way. This was when cell phones were kind of new so not everyone had one yet. You can image how hard it was for my mom to get some assistance on the road. I remember how hot it was for my siblings and I to sit in a small compact car and can’t even imagine how stressed out my mom was.
I’ve taken numerous amount of road trips with my children and have learned a thing or two to help make it less stressful and more relaxing. Here are a few tips that I want to share and hope that they make your road trip a lot more fun and relaxing.
1. Start your trip when your children are about to take a nap.
I’ve taken my children on car rides as soon as they woke up from a nap and they’re not happy. My children need to get their energy out and they can’t do that being strapped to a car seat. If they’re exhausted and ready for nap time at the beginning of the car ride, they’ll sleep for much longer. Plus, I get to have some quiet and peaceful driving time.
2. Prepare fun activities for them.
Liam has been into “Waldo” books. He’s extremely focused in these books. I have to check on him from time to time because he gets really quiet. Coloring books, water paint, puzzles, sticker books, photo albums are some things that children enjoy and can occupy them. We try to keep the electronic devices for the very end. If you do use electronic devices, download movies before in case you’re out of Wi-Fi range.
3. Take as many breaks as you or your children may need.
In the past, I’ve been set on getting to my destination as fast as I possibly can. No pit stops, no snack breaks, etc. But there’s so much joy in stopping and taking a breather. Sitting in a car for hours can be overwhelming and there’s nothing wrong with taking an extra 10-15 minutes to stretch your legs. I’d rather take an hour long break for my children than drive 30 minutes with them kicking and screaming.
4. Pack real food and water.
Fast food is delicious every now and then but if you’re eating a big burger and large fries two or three times a day, it starts to feel gross. I try to make things that will last hours or even bring a cooler for drinks. We love PB&J sandwiches, grilled cheese and mixed veggies.
Our family has been on a handful of road trips from Houston, Texas to Orlando, Florida. We’ve done the drive in one day and have done it in two days. The two-day option is definitely the way to go. One of my fun goals for my family is to go to Disney every year – that’s why we’re very familiar with this route. We love visiting state parks, local restaurants and going to the museums. We try to find things that our children will enjoy to make it more memorable. Here is a look at our itinerary. (I try to not restrict myself with time frames because we never know how long lunch will take, if anything comes up last minute, etc.).