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  1. Default 3 adults, 2 kids under 8 and 5000 miles

    Hey everyone!
    I am brand spanking new to this site and so far, it seems like a God send!! Our whole family is planning a trip to North Carolina in July (all the way from CA) and my little family (me, DH and DD7 and DD4) are planning on driving, with beloved crochety uncle. About 5000 miles round trip. :-O Now, this will be my first REAL road trip and definitely the first my kids. DH and his whole family has made this journey about 100 times or so. We have taken our kids to Disneyland several times (about a 5.5 hour drive) and they do REALLY well on that trip, but I am really nervous about 3-4 days in the car. Constantly. LOL

    What I am looking for here are:
    1. New and interested, even unusual, ways of keeping kids entertained during drive.
    2. How to eat healthy and remain somewhat active during the drive.
    3. How to stay SANE for the adults! LOL

    Thanks in advance for any and all tips!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Western/Central Massachusetts

    Default Welcome!

    Welcome to the RoadTrip America Forum!

    The best place to start is on our planning pages.

    You will find food tips here as well.

    but I am really nervous about 3-4 days in the car.
    I think that you may be better served by taking a little more time to make this crossing, if you have it. Three days for 2500 miles is over 800 miles a day - this can be a stretch even if you ARE an experienced road tripper, and I definitely wouldn't recommend it for the first time out. As an added bonus, by taking some more time, you'll be able to take in the sights along the way.

    How to stay SANE for the adults!
    I don't know if I'd worry more about the kids or the "crotchety" uncle!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Keeping Sane on an Insane Trip

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    First of all, trying to drive 2500 miles in 3 days is almost guaranteed to have the kids cranky, uncle a little extra crotchety, and DH at the end of his rope. Even taking 4 days is going to have everybody a bit on edge at best. The key to making long journeys enjoyable, as opposed to just possible, is to pay as much attention to the drive as the destination. Kids, I think, intuitively understand this and their classic query "Are we there yet?" is less about 'there' than about 'yet'. They live in the here and now, and being cooped up in a car for 8-10 hours a day is unnatural and they feel it more than they know it. My advice, then, is to focus less on keeping them entertained during the drive as between drives. Break the days up with stops along the way. Have a picnic lunch rather than eating in the car or in a restaurant. It's healthier and gets rid of another source of stress. Make one or two other stops each day at attractions along the way. Try to take a break for either food, some sightseeing, or just a walk around a small town, every 2-3 hours. You're going to be crossing the entire country twice. It would be a shame to have no other memories than looking out the window at the Interstate roadside signs and cookie cutter exit ramp fast food joints and gas stations. Just some examples of places that are right close to your direct route would be Walnut Canyon National Monument, Petrified Forest National Park, Petroglyph National Monument, Cadillac Ranch, Mud Island, and Great Smoky Mountain National Park. A five day crossing of the continent that included even some of those stops would be much more rewarding (and sanity preserving) than a three or four day trip where you rarely got out of the car.


  4. Default A couple of wild suggestions..

    To keep your kids from driving you crazy.. at least more than usual...

    Get as much room as you can in the car -- try not to fill up the inside of the car with stuff. Then it just seems to be smaller and more crowded. Consider a roof-top load of some things or a stowage bag or box to open up some space inside.

    Do a lot of stopping -- like every 2 hours and make everyone get out and walk around. Picnic lunches somewhere along the way OUTSIDE of the car gets everyone out of the confinement of the car for a half hour at least, and saves money compared to fast food.

    Put together a "bag of tricks" for each of the kids (and maybe the adults if they need it). I've seen daypacks/ bookbags used for this. This is the kids personal bags and they can fill this with whatever they would like to bring -- books, puzzles, etc. I have some friends who swear by their kid's game boys, or portable DVD players, although I have no experience with that...

    Have some basic extra stuff ready to spring on the kids. Pads of paper and pencils are always very good -- and encourage them to draw pictures or play tick tac toe or the like. I spent one cross country summer trip with my brother learning to play chess on a travel chess set and played innumerable games with him. Figure one new book, coloring book, game, etc per kid per day. And don't forget the old standby's -- a deck of cards.

    Books on tape, might be fun if its apropriate for the kids. I listened to the entire Tolkein Ring Trilogy on one long drive.

    Have the kids interact with the non-driving adult. "Read me a story" with voices or people taking turns for characters. Do a skit, or play. "Tell me a story..." "Can you find me a license plate with every letter of the alphabet on it?" "Can you find me something with this color? Now you pick..."

    Move the people in the car around every stop or so... "OK its your turn to ride in the front seat!"

    And lastly, with a small (lunch box size) ice chest, you might keep some small non-messy snacks in the car for emergencies.

  5. #5
    RoadTripper Brad Guest

    Default Some advice from the 'younger' crowd

    Greetings cjthegreat! My family had a habit of moving between states every few years, and being that I'm only 21, I still remember a lot of what we did to pass the time on those trips.

    The thing to keep in mind is that kids are smarter than many people give them credit for... so 5000 miles of road bingo, sing-along-songs, and Eye-Spy , the kids will sense it as two things(especially if they are closer to 8): Mom and Dad are desperate, and to a lesser extent feel they are being patronized. Kids do sense when the parents are desperate to occupy their time. I may be one of the unusual ones, but I had more fun looking out the window and seeing the passing country (er, on second thought, that probably explains why I am on RTA today!). My parents would, without a doubt, spend money on travel games and coloring books, all of which would usually never see the inside of the car and stay tightly packed in the bags.

    Because of this, my parents did pick up a few ideas that I really enjoyed, and the key of it was making the kids a part of the trip, and not just passengers. A way to do this might be pick up several disposable cameras. Have the kids take pictures of what they find interesting along the trip. On top of that, if they are both of age that they can write fairly easily, have them keep a road-trip journal, detailing things they find fascinating and what was done that day. Make it seem like as if their job is making sure the trip is remembered. Ironically, giving a young person (or at least it was true in my case and, more recently, my nephews case (age 7)), a job that feels important makes the miles tick by a little easier.

    It may not be true for all kids, but many will threaten mutiny by the time you reach "67 bottles of [liquid] on the wall". Beyond making them a part of the trip, I too recommend frequent stops allowing kids to just run around.

    Last edited by RoadTripper Brad; 02-22-2007 at 12:41 AM. Reason: minor grammar adjustment

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