Summer road trip ideas for travelling with a child
Greetings! I am just starting to research a summer road trip (summer of 2005) and I would like some practical and common sense ideas from parents that have travelled with kids. My son and I will have 6 weeks to travel from Upstate New York to Lake Havasu City, AZ and back home again. I have ordered my laminated wall map (so my son can help "plan" the trip) and have recently purchased several books on making a trip like this. But I would love to hear from other parents on how they survived the trip, what you brought with you to keep the kids entertained, snacks, drinks, etc....Anything you found helpful or disasterous...I'd really like to know!
A perfect illustration of the notion that getting there is all of the fun. Planning for 2005! Amazing.
There are oodles of links and ideas on our <a href = "http://www.roadtripamerica.com/tips/families.htm">Traveling with Kids</a> page. Plus, this topic tends to be fairly active on this forum. Use the red search button on the top of this page and use a keyword like "kids"
How old is your son? That might make a difference on the suggestions, I think.
When my son was 14 we did a 2-week roadtrip together. I purchased a small handheld TV for the car so he could watch TV, if he could find stations, if he got bored. He rarely used it but it was handy and did help stave off some boredom for him.
We made a deal that the 6-disk CD changer would be filled half-and-half with his and mine, alternating the CDs. So we each got to listen to our kind of music half the time. Before we left we did have some veto rights. There is some music of mine he just can't take for a whole CD and visa-versa so we agreed before leaving which of these two leave at home.
Our other deal was that each of us had only one veto daily as to what attractions to stop at, where to eat, etc. As we get along pretty good and generally agree more than not, we didn't necessarily each exercise a veto each day but it was nice to have.
Before we left, I gave him cash to spend on stuff that he might want that I wouldn't necessarily buy like silly souvenirs, etc. He had to make it last the whole trip and made better choices than if he would have thought he could get away with begging and pleading with me to buy him useless junk at every stop. Saved me tons of aggravation, too...as well as money.
The main thing that helped as well was keeping him informed on how our budget was going along the way. I figured out an average amount we could afford per day and then decisions on where to eat and places to stop with admission fees were made with that in mind. For example, in order for us to do a river-rafting trip and a few other more expensive activiites, he agreed to not bug me to stop for restaurant meals and was more content with eating "out of the cooler" so we had more to spend on fun stuff.
Hope this gives you some ideas. And have a great time on your trip. Six weeks, WOW! I envy you.
Thanks for the great ideas! My son will be turning ten that summer (we'll be on our trip for his birthday). I have already planned to bring my laptop with lots of his favorite movies and such for it. Thank goodness he's into drawing and coloring and those transformer figurines. And he loves car rides!
I really liked your veto idea...I'm definately going to use that one. And the same goes for your idea about the money.
Thanks for the ideas!