We're back. 10 days, 6 states, 7 cities, nearly 2000 miles and hundreds of hugs and kisses distributed. We survived a 10 day cross country road trip and we didn't kill each other! WOOT! And I'm happy to report, the trip was fantastic on all fronts. The kids EXCEEDED my expectations and I couldn't be more proud. Honestly! I'm still blown away by how awesome they were (especially because I was dreading it!)
Here are 10 tips for ROAD TRIP SURVIVAL and what work for me.
- Pack smart. If you are going to stay at places with washer/dryer then pack LIGHT and wash frequent. I only packed 5 outfits for each kid and we didn't even use all of those! I only got half way through my own lightly packed suitcase! A summer vacay often means SWIM SUITS and less clothing which makes packing easier, take advantage of it! NO ONE CARES what you are wearing, they are just happy to see you!
- Think about the BEST arrangement for your car/van/SUV. We always take the car top carrier (best Craigs List purchase ever!) for stuff we don't need easy access to and that helps a ton. But think about WHO sits WHERE. We put Luke in the middle row with one seat put down so "he is on his own island" and the two that get along the best are in the back together. It opens up space and saves on disputes!
- Bring a cooler. I've learned through YEARS of travel that we always need something on hand food and drink wise. Also, if you have special diet needs BRING IT WITH YOU. I keep the cooler stocked the entire trip and buy bags of ice frequently to keep things cold (Including my beer!). I have friends that swear by the electric cooler they purchased which might be on my list someday!
- If you can, BREAK UP YOUR TRIP into small bites. This time we went to Iowa first then on to Ohio. I cannot tell you how much that helped. I know that isn't possible every time but if you can do it, DO!
- DEVICES DEVICES DEVICES. Each kid has something. I charge it before the trip and at every stop so they are always ready. I also only have a portable DVD player and headphones that rotates as needed. They are NOT on these at all times but they are a huge help!
- MUSIC. Have a special playlist ready for restless moments or when you need to improve the general MOOD in your vehicle! ;) Bust a move!
- Embrace the potty. Yep. Potty breaks happen. Might as well not fuss and just embrace the chance to stretch your legs and relieve yourself! On the way to Iowa we stopped 6 times to PEE! That is once an hour! On the way to Ohio we stopped 2! Go figure! They made that 8 hour trip with only 2 pee stops! You just never know. My favorite is right after you leave lunch then someone pipes up from the back "I have to poop. RIGHT NOW!" Ahhh, music to a tired parents ears!
- SNACKS. Lots and lots of snacks. Healthy, unhealthy and everything in between. If you think you have enough snacks, throw in a few more! ;)
- Don't be a "cool mom" before you leave and take the kids to the gas station to pick a treat. It led to a nuclear meltdown and my efforts to be cool were completely useless. INSTEAD tell them NO and then SURPRISE them later at some point in the trip. You KNOW what they like. Pick it up (or better plan ahead and buy it cheaper and bring it!) and surprise them on the trip. We played "Road Trip Bingo" and I had their favorite candy for prizes! BOOM! #majorwin
- Keep your hubby (or driver) happy. Get him/her drinks, favorite snacks and music. Help charge their iDevices and keep them happy. Offer to drive and keep the kids happy. A happy driver makes a happy road trip! :) Mike might suggest other road activities but, ahem, this WAS a family trip! ;)
Happy Travels to you this summer and BE SAFE!!