Our family likes to road trip. Over the past few years we’ve taken a bunch and, I believe, have gained a lot of wisdom in the art of long-haul survival. (Bear Grylls should shoot an episode from inside our van!) A few years ago, we drove to Orlando with five boys. Thirty-three hours of driving, straight through the night! Recently, we returned from Arizona; a 29-hour trip. Why you might ask, do we insist on this senseless form of torture? We have a couple of simple reasons.
- Flying is way too expensive for big families, and then you also have the headache of renting vehicles, the pressure of making your flights on time, the challenge of NOT losing your kids in the airport and changing diapers in teensy tiny little airplane bathrooms.
- We drive through the night because I can’t stomach paying $200+ for a hotel room that we won’t even get to enjoy. Yuck. Plus, no one would sleep anyway! Hotels are like a candy rush – ain’t nobody going to sleep when we are that jacked up. PLUS, again with big families, where would everyone sleep? Do you unpack all your luggage or leave it in the vehicle? No thank you, I’ll just drive through the night.
But how do we survive? Here are my tips:
- Bring snacks. Lots of them. And just get over your diet for the trip… no one should ever diet on a vacation. We usually pick up fast food on the way, Tara makes healthy sandwiches and we fill in the gaps with snacks.
- One new activity every hour. I hate the cheap junk you buy at the dollar store, but for some reasons our kids love it. So occasionally before heading out Tara has gone and bought enough toys and activities that our kids could do something new every hour on the hour. If that’s a $1 toy car, great! Colouring book? Super! Car Bingo game – even better.
- Bring games. There are tons of games that can be played in the car. Car Bingo is a good one. Google it, you’ll find TONS of blogger moms who have printable templates.
- Bring worship music, Bibles, and journals. There’s nothing better than doing devotions surrounded by new and stunning geography.
- Let your kids check the map. It’s fun for them to see where you are going.
- Read a book to your kids. This past road trip I started reading “The Archives of Anthropos” by John White to our kids.
- Let them watch movies and play video games. We don’t do tons of this, but once the sun goes down I find it distracting to drive with reading lights on. The DVD player isn’t as distracting for some reason.
- Bring Animal Underground episodes!! (You can download them here.)
- Put your little kids in pull-ups even if they are potty trained. I don’t know what it is about kids and car trips that make them pee themselves, but that sucks to clean up. Just put them in pull-ups.
- Have a sense of humour. For goodness sake, if you lose your mind in the first two hours your kids might be jumping out of a moving van by hour 10.
There may be more, but these are some key survival tips! Comment below with your ideas!