Tips For Taking a Road Trip With Kids

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Great tips for taking a road trip with kids

I love to travel, it’s something I always dreamed of doing as I grew up. I had great plans for seeing a variety of countries and cultures. I met my husband when I was in college and we married right after I graduated. Within a year our first child was born. If you are like me you probably think that after having children you have to put all of your traveling on hold, find grandparents to watch your kids for a week, or just give it up. I know that’s what I thought over the first few years as a parent.

Over time I realized that my children are already used to traveling short distances, maybe we need to try longer trips. Actually, if I’m being honest my kids are all too familiar with their car seats.  We live a solid hour away from a decent sized “city”, the pediatricians office, and even a Target.  {I think I just heard you gasp.}  Add to that the solid 8-9 hours it takes us to go visit my family and my kids ride in the car a lot more than I like.  A true first world problem, but we put a lot of miles on our car every year. While these drives are an inconvenience they made me realize that my kids can handle traveling and we need to get them out to see more of our country!

This summer we are made our plans and road tripped with our kids, (ages 2, 5 and 8) to the Grand Canyon, a 28 hour drive one way.  When I told others about our plans I heard a lot about how “brave” we are to drive that far with our kids.  Can I take moment here to say something?  We live in an amazing country, with so much to see.  A variety of landscapes.  A variety of cultures.  A huge amount of history created in a relatively short period of time.  If you can do it financially get your kids out there to see it!  Yes, flying is a whole lot easier.  But driving is often cheaper.  Go for it!  Your kids can handle the car ride.  Just make sure you have your expectations set realistically and read on for some great tips to help you all enjoy and survive the big drive!

Plan ahead of time with these tips:

  1. If you will be traveling on the weekend or during holidays book your hotel in advance.
  2. Know ahead of time that the GPS is giving you a time of arrival without factoring in kids.  Our drive to Michigan used to be about 7.5 hours. Now it is a solid 9 hours.  It took me a few {read: 8} years to accept this.  But now I just assume 9 hours and it is a pleasant surprise if we make it in less than 9.
  3. When you stop find a place for your kids to move their legs.  Seriously, my husband has had my kids doing jumping jacks in a Taco Bell.  I realize they won’t be complying to this one when they are 13, but it helps!  They get some energy out, move their legs and get their blood flowing.
  4. Pack your car wisely.  Gas station and vending machines get expensive, fast.
  5. Help your kids be prepared for the long drive with activities that keep them thinking and active.  {My tips for packing wisely and helping fight off boredom are coming tomorrow!}

The most dreaded question of all time has to be, “Are we there yet?”.  It amazes me that when I try to ban this question they think of different ways to word the same question!  If you want to get rid of this phrase then you need to pack a Kids Road Trip Map!

Put an end to the question: "Are we there yet?" with this simple trick. Also included are tips for road trips with kids!

This map is a great tool that will help your children see just where they are going.  Sometimes it feels like they will be stuck in the car forever, and the map helps them visualize just where they are going.  I purchased traditional maps for our kids to track their progress on our long trip to the Grand Canyon.  If you are looking for a smaller sized map for your kids to use you can go to google maps and print off a map of the route you will be taking.  One for each kid may help reduce the number of arguments.  You can also print detailed maps for regions of the US by going here.  These are helpful for trips where you are traveling a shorter distance!

{Can I also make a plug here for teaching map skills to your kids!  Yes, maps are becoming somewhat obsolete.  But it is still important for them to have basic knowledge of map skills.}

To create a Kids Road Trip Map:

  • Star on your map where you are starting, and your end destination.
  • Trace the major road you will be traveling along the way.
  • Each time you stop have your kids highlight how far they have traveled and put a dot where they have stopped.

They will understand the progress they are making and just how much farther they have to travel.  If you are driving for a couple of days it may be best to just highlight the amount you will be traveling one day at a time, this way the end won’t feel so far away for small children.

I look forward to hearing form you, and if these maps help you and your family!  If you share pictures on social media of your kids using the map make sure you tag me.  I would love to see them!  Sharing the beauty of this country is an irreplaceable gift to give your kids.

Happy traveling Mommas, you can do this!

Make sure you head over and find out more about life and parenting at The Dempster Logbook, I would love to connect with you there!

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Hey, I’m Becky. I write from my heart for the women out there who want real life encouragement. It may not always be pretty, but hey, I'm being honest. I also create DIY tutorials for people who love the idea of DIY and creating their own beautiful things, but don’t own a garage full of fancy power tools. I give people the tools to get more from their daily life, encouraging creativity and perseverance. I left teaching to stay at home with my kids, help with the farm and grow my blog. My house has never been dirtier. For real. Come learn along with me over at the Logbook!

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