Some may say that an 18 hour road trip with 3 children does not sounds a fun time.
They would be right.
But, after living a 8 hour flight away from family for 4 years, it's totally doable!
Here's just a few of my tips for successful road trips with small children:
Tip #1: Each kid gets a gallon sized ziploc with 8-10 (way more than they would have on a normal day) of their favorite snacks. This is theirs to eat all in the first hour if they want, or portion out throughout the day, whichever they choose. They are also free to barter or trade for other snacks with their brother if they choose.
Tip #2: Pack lunches for the car! I know this takes more planning ahead, but it's worth it! This saves so much time and money on the road, and it gives us the flexibility to eat when we're hungry and ready for lunch and not...when we need gas, when the baby needs to eat, when we have to use the bathroom, etc. Plus, there are so many beautiful rest stops across middle America with clean bathrooms, picnic tables, and shade! Disclaimer: if its a 12+ hour driving day, we usually save one meal for a restaurant, just because this gives us something to look forward to at dinnertime.
|My boys had never eaten at Steak and Shake. We thought we'd introduce them once we crossed the MO border!|
|Some sibling love at S&S. This is right before Sailor pulled a plate full of french fries off the table, smashing it all over the floor!|
Tip # 3: Just let them watch movies and play video games. I know, I know. Rots their brains and all, but electronics are our best friends on long trips. My boys are quiet and content, and it allows us parents to enjoy conversation and podcasts up front without constantly breaking up a fight or telling someone to stop breathing on the other someone. Yes, I know it's sad that my kids won't have the wonderful memories of the license plate game, singing "John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt" but... we are pretty strict with screen time at home. So if the bottomless movies and Angry Birds Epic is are what my boys look forward to when driving to OK, maybe I'm OK with that?
Tip # 4: Enjoy the ride! Pause the movie occasionally. Point out when you cross into a new state. There are big bridges, wide rivers, beautiful corn fields, and national landmarks all without leaving the interstate! Did you know that there is a town that boast the world's largest wind chime? Another town boasts the world's largest golf tee! There are three different states that claim some portion of Abraham Lincoln's origin. Take the time to point stuff out!
|We made it a little past St. Louis before looking for a hotel room. MISTAKE! There was nothing available in the greater St. Louis area. We had to drive an hour outside St. L to find a hotel!|
Tip #5: If you are working on a 2+ day roadtrip, drive as far as you can on the first day! Get up early. Eat breakfast in the car. Don't stop until you MUST! We drove nearly 14 hours that first day. It was exhausting - but what a great feeling to sleep in a little, savor our comfy pillows, cartoon network, and free breakfast at the Comfort Inn, and then enjoy a considerably shorter drive the next day.
Ah, finally - our destination! It was an amazing feeling to finally pull up at my parents' new house in Bartlesville!
Let the vacation begin!