Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Road Trip - I need your help

For our trip in October to Disney, we are driving. Yes, I know. And yes, I am aware how many hours I will be trapped in my beat-up van. It is about 9 hours from here to Orlando.

Ray is excited about this driving excursion. He seems to recall "fun" road trips from his younger years. I think he is delusional. I also think they he fails to remember how as kids we weren't strapped in a five point harness car seat during road trips. We had free roam of the the vehicle.

He also thinks that they kids will love it. Really? Cause I don't know any 21 month olds that love being trapped in a car seat for that long.

We are planning to stop about 6 to 7 hours into our trip on the first day. On the way back, balls to the walls, we are going to do the drive in one day.

What I need your help on is any tips/tricks/products/games/whatever that I can buy/steal/trade to keep my kids entertained. And yes, my van is fully equipped with a DVD player, but I would like to be able to break up the DVD watching with some actual activities so their brains don't turn to mush. Plus, Ray and I can only take so many Backyardigans episodes, even if their tunes are very, very catchy.

So bring it. Tell me some tricks. The planning begins.

30 comments:

CPA Mom said...

I'm going to think and research this one.

I fully rely on the DVD now...after our disasterous trip at Thanksgiving without it.

CPA Mom said...

There are "simple car games" on this site. If I find anything else, I'll email you.

http://www.activitiesforkids.com/travel/travel_hints.htm

Julie said...

Ok, I know this is obvious but I'm stating it anyhow. Leave really early in the morning or close to bedtime - so they sleep! : )

A more constructive suggestion - go to the dollar store and buy each girl 5 - 10 items. Each hour they can pick something new out of your "grab bag". It won't cost you a ton of money but they'll probably find it fun to get something new to fiddle around with/pass the time.

Kellie said...

Unfortunately, I rely on the DVD player for trips. I'll take Little Einsteins over screaming anyday :)

I'm no use to you on this. Sorry.

Lil Mouse said...

i dont have kids but i have ridden with a lot of them on 1-3 hour trips. when they could simply slobber or grab things, i gave them, umm a calculator, and id card, etc to jab around and chew on. the calc can really entertain for a while. umm how about just making some groovy music tapes. REAL family fun stuff like oldies that are easy to sing. Okay this isn't the best song but its all i can think of right now "love love me do, you know I love you so pleeeease love me do.." it's simple and it goes around and around like most kids songs...without the annoying cartoon characters. julie stole my idea of putting them to sleep but about this, WEAR THEM OUT. RUN, Play at the park, etc and they'll be exhausted and probably sleep through a lot. I spy might be good for the older one. I spy something red.. its' a stop sign. I spy something grey it's a building, yada yada. take a bathroom break when its needed not just when its convenient, even if it takes longer, it's a vacation, right? okay also a good thing would be to fight off hunger before it arises. pack snacks like bags of cheerios. they're cheap versus a candy or chip on the road. Then stop for lunch, pee, eat lunch and walk around a little bit, pee again and then pack up. I found that helps to stretch the legs out and gets all the squirmies out. if they've eaten something homey, it might also put them to sleep, soup, macncheese, etc. i dont know if mcdonalds puts kids to sleep or not. it sure makes me groggy. and failing that, i would say if you can't make all 7 hours in one day, dont worry about it. it wont be any worse driving 5 hours one day and 4 another versus 7 and 2.

That Chick Over There said...

We make up games. Like we will only sing our responses to one another. Or talk in pig latin or things like that.

Rachel said...

Here's a trick for you: sedatives.

Lost A Sock said...

Okay listen, we did this back in May with the boys, and it was great. Except our drive, one way, was thirty hours. Then on the way home we mixed things up and drove even longer. They were fine.

We stopped every couple hours to let them stretch and run. We had snacks, and I put a giant container of toys between the two car seats. We read books, sang songs and listened to loud music. When we wanted to get some good driving done, we put on the occasional DVD and let them veg out for a while.

Just mix things up for them every little while, and get your best driving done while they sleep.

I'm so jealous. I heart Orlando. :o)

Sabrina said...

We were considering a road trip till we remembered that we had children.

Do yourself a favor, subscribe to ding fares and just fly there.

We got one for $59 one way. Last year we got tickets for $34 and $44.

If you really want to drive, get a dvd player, lots of food and just haul ass.

Sunshine said...

As you know, I drove to my Dad's in NY, which was 1200 miles one way, with four kids, by myself. All told, 3000 miles with the kids by the time we returned 16 days later.

Movies, games, and snacks made it go off without a hitch.

We play I Spy. I also got some of those travel Bingo cards (where you mark things you see on the interstate) which would work for your oldest to play with you.

But getting out to stretch with the little one in the carseat is a must, mine got a case of "ouchy back" so I let her loose as often as was possible.

Mine have been road tripping since they were babies, they are very used to it, so it helps to have road trips so they understand that the time will be fun and worth it when you finally get there! Patience is a good kiddie lesson too!

Hope it goes well and it'll be fun!

ChrisB said...

I think others have mentioned car games, singing, dvd's, kids cd's, plenty of books, toys, pillows and cover so they can be comfy and planned stops. Not very helpful really sorry.

Common Mom said...

I'm not sure how old your kids are, but we've been making the 14 hour one way trek "home" for 11 years . . . our kids (4 and 7 now) each did their first road trip at around 1 month old. They've always been great. First, leave early - at least by 6:00 a.m. They'll be tired, and lunch is a great time to take that longer break. There is nothing worse than getting where you're going after dark. When we got a DVD player, we bought a splitter and gave them each headphones - we get to listen to music and they watch a movie. We tell them right away that they get to watch one movie for each tank of gas. We also let them choose a snack at the gas station - something to look forward to. We've never really tried to entertain them - they just expect the car ride I guess. We ask every time we see a rest stop sign who needs to go - sometimes they say no, and sometimes we all get a chance to stretch our legs. But we are pedal to the medal with no messing around on the way - really, what is there to see in Nebraska and Iowa anyway? Just set some expectations on "I know it'll be a long ride, but look what we get to do when we get there" - hopefully you'll be pleasantly surprised by the road trip :-)

Emma in Canada said...

You've got a lot of good suggestions there. I was that mother that said I would never let my kids watch a DVD. When it came time for the road trip? It was DVDs all the way. I think I know now The Little Mermaid off by heart.

Check out a book or toy store. I bought what is essentially a deck of cards called something like "52 games to play in the car." The one I have is for 5 and up.

Beccy said...

I don't envy you, we've never done more than 3-4 hours straight off.

Pam said...

I am sure others have said this, but drive when the kids will sleep....snacks, toys, books, etc....but don't pull it all out at once, each hour or so switch toys sp they don't get bored....

check out some of these sites for tips...
http://www.babycenter.com/0_the-ultimate-road-trip-activity-bag_1453142.bc

http://www.babycenter.com/0_road-trip-survival-guide-dont-leave-home-without-our-kid-fri_1451324.bc

http://www.babycenter.com/0_best-car-games-for-kids-ages-2-to-4_1453150.bc

Catherine said...

I took my two (ages 21 months & 3 1/2) on a car ride that google maps said is 7 hours. And, if I had been with grownups it would have been. It took us 10 1/2 hours and 10 1/2 to get back. So, I think google maps needs a check box for "travelling with children" so they can change their time algorithm.

We stopped every two hours. I had mapped out playgrounds between here & there and ice cream stops. It made it better that they had something to look forward to. I had hoped they would nap their normal time, but mainly they told me where I could shove the nap.

BS said...

Not much help here - it has been many years since I have traveled with little ones!! Julie beat me to my original thought - the age appropriate Grab Bag from the Dollar Store -

EC said...

Let me say that I am an expert on this having driven 12 - 16 hours (21 once when there was traffic) back and forth from NC to RI MANY times...

First - if you can drive overnight. If that isn't possible then...
Second - Rely on your DVDs HEAVILY! If you think you can get buy wihtout them with a 21 month old you are not only insane but you are dellusional as well :)
Third - You must stop every 2 to 3 hours, that is the only way to do it. Stop, eat, and they may take a nap
Fourth - Keep on hand new toys that have never seen and a table top that snaps to your car seats (toys r us has them) that they can use to play magnetic games on and color and so forth
Fifth - PRAY like hell!

There has not been one time that I was not pulling my hair out because I never stop - we drive straight through every time and never stop. Not even when it took us 21 days the day after Christmas. Just remember that 9 hours isn't really that long, and if I can do 21 you can do 9 ;)

EC said...

Oh and one of your commenters is right... if it says 7 plan for 10 with all your stops! It always takes hours longer with kids :)

Oh and I agree, if you can't drive overnight then leave wicked early so that they are still tired and will nap at some point.

Pamela said...

laughing at Rachel.. cuz I was thinking the same thing.

my daughters use the DVD
but the kids miss out on all the country on the way--

unfortunately a two year old won't enjoy the scenery

la bellina mammina said...

what about "I spy ...." games...?

wolfbaby said...

ummm part of the trick is getting up at 2-3 am to do the traveling. the kids will either get bored with the dark and fall back a sleep or take a really long nap in mid afternoon. it works;) also take good rest stops and let them run around for a bit to get ride of the excess energy and try sing alongs with CD's my kids love that;)

Melanie said...

When I was little we used to drive to FL and it took 24 hours from where we lived. We used to play games with each other (since there were no DVD players in cars back then!). We had road trip Bingo cards (look for things you see along the road) we listened to books on tape, we sang songs together- and of course we slept! I actually remember the times on the road as fun times- so I think it can be a good time spent together.

frannie said...

stop by my house on the way there or back!


activity books- crayons and coloring books

counting trucks, see how many blue (or whatever color) cars they can find. ABC game- find all letters of alphabet in sequence.

Susan said...

Wow, there are some great tips here! We are going on a trip soon too--first time with a kid. Our is by air, but there will be driving involved once we get there too. And the flight is 4.5 hours!! I wish you luck.

Susan at Working Moms Against Guilt

SJ said...

I have no solid tips for you because nothing that I've tried works with my kids on our 'trips' that we've taken.

So, all I got to offer is a lot of yelling and screaming!

Have fun planning...oh and I'm totally trying my luck on some of the awesome tips your readers have left behind..

aleisha said...

We went on a road trip this past spring and where stuck in the car for 11 hours with a 2 month old and 2 year old. We actually planned stops during our trip. We did some research and found playgrounds in some of the towns we drove by and stopped there. Our 2 year old loved stopping and burning energy off.

Kelly M said...

well I do know that when we were kids we used to drive to FL every single year. Hmm yeah thats driving from NY to FL...talk about a LONG ass TRIP!! These were back in the days where there were no DVD players in the car. We were left to our imagination. We also had stock in all the travel (magnetic) games they have. Look into them..they prevented my brother and I from fighting..so they must have been somewhat entertaining. Also the games "I Spy" and we also made a list of all the states and checked them off whenever we saw a license plate from that state...

Hey what can I say it did work!!

Daisy said...

A few tips:
Bring a new toy and introduce it when things are getting boring and kids are antsy.
Radio and CD! My youngest enjoys the varied radio stations, including the regional accents, on any road trip.
Take stretch breaks when you stop for gas or meals.
Bring a cooler of snacks and drinks in the car -- for the grown-ups and the kids!.

3XMom said...

First on the dvds - headphones. Ours came with wireless ones, so don't know if you can hook them up, but they save our sanity.

I love the idea of having them play games like I did when I was a kid. But, of course, I wasn't in a car seat -- we just played in the floor in the back of our hatchback, and we were significantly older. so in the name of safety and the fact that my kids are 5, 3, and 1 -- dvds it is for most of the ride.

I love the dollar store idea, that would work. We also use lots of aquadoodles. They also make these cool trays you can put over your legs across the carseat with pockets so they can color and such. Damnit, I can't remember the name of them.

Good luck! WE do a 8-10 hour trip to Boston each year for Christmas and it isn't as bad as we always fear.