Any advice for driving down to Cali. with Kids?
I'm seriously considering driving down to California to see family who I haven't seen in a long time. The last time they saw my youngest was when she was 8 months old and my oldest when she was 4 years old. I live in Oregon. I have a 4 year old and 6 year old. We have a Honda Civic. No fancy dvd player or anything like that. I guess we'd have to rough it. I've checked out how many miles and how long it would take. It's 968 miles and it would take 15 hours and 20 minutes according to rand mcnally. Now driving all that in one day seems impossible to me. I think I would need to get a motel along the way. Also, my night driving isn't great. It's ok.
With kids I'd have to make several Potty, Food stops along the way and some stretch stops...do you agree? How big of a task would it really be? Just the thought of attempting something like this is kind of overwhelming. But I don't know if its (the worry) all in my head. Or if it is really going to be a daunting task. For the record "I" am mommy, 26 years old..a stay at home mom. My husband has a full time job and college and other things. He might be able to come with but he'd only be able to get 4 days off. I'm thinking about just me and the girls trying it.
Any input would be greatly appreciated. :) Thank you.
Go for it!
While I would agree that trips with kids take a little more planning, my kids went on numerous road trips at that age. I would suggest the following:
Since you are uncomfortable driving at night, I would plan on leaving extremely early, like 5am or so. At this time of year, the sun will be up (or coming up very shortly) and if your kids are anything like mine were at that age, they will go to sleep for several hours. I would just put them to bed the night before in something like sweats that are as comfy as pajamas but can work for the next day. If you were comfortable with night driving, I would suggest leaving home at around 6pm (after somehow getting a nap in for yourself that day) and then driving until very late so you can get most of your driving done when the kids are sleeping. Ah, well....either way works.
I would plan numerous stops and not rushing it. If you can do it in 2 days, great. If it takes part of a third day, that's OK, too. The main thing is making this as stress-free for you as you can and as enjoyable for your kids as possible. You want them to enjoy roadtrips and want to do it again, right?
My kids never had electronic gadgets until they were much older and had a portable CD and portable GameGear to help keep them busy. When they were the age of your kids, we took lots of coloring books, crayons, and other toys that traveled well. My son could entertain himself for hours with his Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, for example. We also had numerous kid's tapes with children's stories on tape, kid songs, etc. This kept them pretty well entertained. If you don't own any of these, you might be able to get them from your library.
Anyway, plan for stops along the way for the kids to get the wiggles out. If you leave early and they go back to sleep for awhile, you might stop after they wake up at a park and have a breakfast you've packed in your cooler. Or stop at a McDonald's or similar place that has a play area. Wherever you stop, make sure it is a place where the kids can run and play and explore for awhile and get the wiggles out before they get back in the car.
I would look for fun places to stop with the kids at least once every 2 hours or so. Some of these stops might be sight-seeing stops while others might be simply finding another park with play equipment for them to run around and play in. Hopefully, they will tire themselves out and tend to sleep while you are driving a bit during the day. This will also help you re-charge your own batteries as well.
Traveling with little kids is easy if you just go about it the right way. Be prepared to take a bit longer, have a bit more stops along the way, and enjoy your trip no matter how many days it takes.
If you posted what town you are leaving from and going to, you might get some more specific advise on places to stop for the night, etc.
I hope this helps!
Oh, make sure you have a cellphone if an emergency occurs or just to talk to another adult for awhile. You may need that. Having AAA also eases some worries about potential breakdowns.