What are my tips to remember for a great road trip?
- Prepare the vehicle
- Pray for safety and patience
- Listen to a book on tape
- Pay your kids for good behavior
- Make a fun trip binder before you go
- Media fun – movies, handheld games
- Get out and move around
- Have a hidden toy for the last leg
Our Favorite Road Trip is the one we take every year driving up to Utah to go skiing. It takes about 10 hours with stops and driving. We have done it every year of our married life.
It starts the same each year. A week before, I make sure the vehicle is all ready for the trip. Oil changed, tires OK, everything in working order?
The morning of the trip we load the vehicle (which has grown as we have added boys) with suitcases and snacks. Before we go we say a prayer asking for patience and safety.
When we start to drive we start the book on tape (CD and now MP3). We listen to great stories along the way. We have listened to The Tennis Shoes Among the Nephite series over and over again and we are SO excited because the 11th book has finally come out after years of waiting.
We stop in our same places along the way. We try to drive as far as possible without stopping for the first leg. But finally someone has to pee (usually me!) and we stop for a quick break. We used to bring all our snacks, but now that the boys are older we pay them for good behavior ($1 an hour) and they love to buy a snack at each stop. It is their money that they earned, so I am fine with that. I limit the sugar as much as possible.
We make it to the half way point and shout for joy. I have copied maps for each of the boys of our route and they like to follow along as we go. I have a binder for each boy with the maps, colored pencils, paper, stickers and games like Car Bingo. This usually helps to pass the time for a good chunk of time.
Sometimes we watch movies, but now that the boys are older, the big ones and mom and dad prefer to listen to the books on tape and the “baby” watches a video or two or three. The no media rule goes out the window on our road trips. J He also will play games on my iPhone.
Then we get to the snow, that gets everyone excited. We still have a few hours to go, but the snow gives us the energy to press forward. We stop for a dinner where we get out of the car to eat and move around. It is important to get out and stretch and let the blood flow!
I have a toy I have hidden for each boy. Things like Magna-doodles, magnet books, hot wheel cars and I pull them out now. It keeps them going for a few more hours. By now the “baby” has passed out and I am falling asleep while Rob is driving. I miss parts of the book and wake up occasionally to ask what has happened. The big boys are so bugged by this.
Finally we arrive at the cousins’ house. The cousins have been anxiously awaiting our arrival and the kids get out to run and be free and Rob and I are happy to be free of the van too and all the noise! Overall our road trips always go smoothly and pass quickly. I attribute it to good books to listen to. I would never travel without one.