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  1. #1
    astcgirl Guest

    Default CA to FL via TX in 5days with 4 KIDS...help please.

    We are moving from Sacramento, CA to Tampa, FL and planning to drive there in our minivan with our 4 kids, 9yrs, 7yrs, 2yrs & 7mths in (we hope 4-5 days)! Any help on routes that go through Dallas TX would be really helpful as we've never done this before (or alternate route's if they're heaps quicker). Also any suggestions or tips on travelling with kids, especially small kids, ie. keeping them entertained, times to drive etc. (we've already put a dvd player in the minivan!). Anyway any help we'd love. Thanks so much, I've got already so much info from this site.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
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    10,059

    Default DVDs in cars

    Quote Originally Posted by astcgirl
    We are moving from Sacramento, CA to Tampa, FL and planning to drive there in our minivan with our 4 kids, 9yrs, 7yrs, 2yrs & 7mths in (we hope 4-5 days)! Any help on routes that go through Dallas TX would be really helpful as we've never done this before (or alternate route's if they're heaps quicker). Also any suggestions or tips on travelling with kids, especially small kids, ie. keeping them entertained, times to drive etc. (we've already put a dvd player in the minivan!). Thanks so much, I've got already so much info from this site.
    I have nothing good to say about DVDs in cars, especially as they related to children and roadtrips. (*** OK -- I have different point of view on this now ) A roadtrip is something to anticipate with excitement and to experience in real time. Watching cartoons and movies when traveling is not a concept that I will ever fully comprehend. You might find Chris Epting's essay about family road trips enlightening.

    There are also some tips and suggestions on the Family road trip page.

    Routes: The distance is significant and you need to allow a full five days to get there. And rather than sightseeing, you need to go the easiest way which would be I-5 to CA-58 to I-15 to I-40 to I-35 to Dallas and then I-45 to I-10 and onward to Florida. I would suggest that you read this thread -- because it is also about a family roadtrip from California to Florida and there are lots of tips and ideas in it.

    This will be an adventure that your family will remember for the rest of their lives.
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 06-25-2005 at 04:15 PM. Reason: Teaching an old dog new tricks

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
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    3,318

    Default

    I totaly agree with Mark on the DVD issue.

    I think it's horrible that people today seem to think that everyone needs to be continually entertained with "artificial" stuff....especially kids. A roadtrip is a great time for some family time. Singing together, playing roadtrip games, and learning to just enjoy the scenery are all good things. I think kids need to use their own imaginations more. Watching the scenery go by and daydreaming while viewing these fast-moving images is a good thing. Not only will kids learn to enjoy traveling if they do this, but they will also develop the ability to entertain themselves. I see so many kids these days who do not seem to be able to do this. I think that's sad.

    Now, as a parent who has travelled with kids, I also realize this can seem like a daunting challenge to parents but I think it's worth the effort.

    Some suggestions:
    * Leave quite early each morning. I would plan to get up at about 5am, carry the kids to the car where they'll likely go back to sleep for awhile...maybe even several hours....and then get some miles under your belt while they're finishing sleeping.

    * Plan for numerous play-break stops. Eat out of a cooler and stop at rest stops with large park-like settings where the kids can run and play, or at playgrounds so they can play on the equipment. Or stop at fastfood places with playgrounds. Either way, plan for a stop every couple of hours for the kids to work out their wiggles. You might bring a few items that you can easily access that will help get the kids moving like frisbees, hacky-sacks and such. Or simply play tag and keep-away. And you and your husband should run and play with the kids, too. You have both been sitting to and a bit of movement will go along way to get the blood-flowing and get rid of kinks and pains that are settling in from sitting so long.

    * If it's hot and you're lucky enough to find a hotel with a pool, have just one of you unpack the car while the other takes the kids to the pool to enjoy it as much as possible before the pool closes.

    * Whatever you do, avoid sit-down restaurants. How many times have we all seen crabby kids sitting in a restaurant misbehaving? I would bet that, quite often, these kids have been cooped up in a car most of the day. While I believe that kids should be taught proper behaviors and manners, I also think this is just setting your kids up for failure. It is just too much to expect.

    * You might make use of audio-books that the whole family will enjoy. That way you can all still enjoy the scenery going by while listening to something together.

    * If you find that you really must let the kids watch a DVD while on the trip because maybe you and your husband just need a bit of peace and quiet for yourself, then I would limit it to one DVD per day at most. Occasional uses of these things aren't bad as long as you don't, and your kids don't, become dependent on them.

    * And sometimes stop at places that your kids see and think is cool even if you think it's not worth stopping for. Some of our most memorable stops when the kids were little were at places where they would see something and get all excited and want to stop. I have great memories of silly little times at various playgrounds we passed that either had a really big slide that my kids just had to stop and go down, and other similar stuff. Another time, I think this was in Medford, OR?, we passed a huge blackbird statue in a parking lot with bright yellow beak and claws. I think he was about 20-25 feet tall. My kids went bonkers for it. We stopped and they ran around it, tried to jump up and touch its wings, etc. Played tag with each other running around the base of it. We got in the game a bit, too. It was probably only a 10-minute stop but it was worth it for both the memories and for getting more of those wiggles out.

    I also think letting them have some say in where you stop and for how long (within reason, of course) makes them an active participant in the roadtrip vs. feeling like they're just being drug along with no say. I know I would hate a trip like that. Why should we expect kids to be any different?

    Sorry to sound like I'm lecturing but my kids always enjoyed roadtrips with us and still do them now as young adults. A few times when we took their friends with us, their friends always said that our roadtrips were fun but ones with their own families weren't. How sad.

    So, relax, enjoy, and let us know how the trip went!!

  4. #4
    astcgirl Guest

    Default

    Thank you for the information, I have been looking all over the internet for various things to keep kids entertained (rather than watching the DVD's) which I would rather avoid, it's just that my 2 year old is a screamer and has no patience at all on long trips, we just got back from a trip to disneyland which was 7 hours, he would look at the scenery for 1 - 2 hours and then start kicking the seat and getting ancy and screaming, we tried stopping to let the kids out to run around but then my 7month old woke up from her nap and she didn't like getting back int he car, it's just very hard with the ages we have, our 9 and 7hr old are easily entertained with playing games or listening to the radio. I will try on this trip to do a road bingo for the older kids so they can look for things outside the window and try with my 2 yr old, also other suggestions I read were, packing little surprises for along the trip, sing songs and the great suggestions I have now read in this forum. So thank you again and I will let you know how the trip went.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
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    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
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    3,318

    Default

    You know, I have to say that I didn't take into consideration the age spread of your kids. Especially the fact that you have a baby. My kids were closer in age.

    I hope some of the hints here and other places help and that you all have a great trip. But with a baby, a toddler, and then older kids, you do have some unique challenges ahead. However, it sounds like you're doing everything you can to ensure that it's a good trip for them so I'm sure it's going to turn out great. :-)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
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    Las Vegas, Nevada
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    Default Knee-jerk reaction

    Quote Originally Posted by astcgirl
    Thank you for the information,
    You may have received a couple double-barreled blasts from us about this issue-- and for that I apologize -- for me hearing of DVD in the backseat always brings up the memory of a conversation I had with someone who was showing off his new SUV with considerable pride and remarked along these lines: Now, with whiz-bang DVD I will never have to hear my kids EVER AGAIN on those long roadtrips... I am afraid that my response to your query was a bit knee-jerk in response. Yes, you do have a challenge -- and it reminds me of my own family roadtrips. My siblings are amost an exact match with your own kids and my sister (the baby of the family) was never a happy roadtripper -- that being said, she now recalls those family roadtrips with great nostaligia and somehow the hearing of the other four participants in the car trips still managed to retain some hearing...

    Looking forward to reading your field report!

    Mark

  7. Default

    Yes, the DVD thing is an issue. I don't know if you were able to read the thread that the editor recommended, but on there I talked about a trip my family and I are planning. We intend to go to Florida from CA, except we are doing it as quickly as we can.
    It seems your situation is much different than ours. If you were never going to do this again, and it kind of sounds like it for you, I would take an extra 2 or 3 days so you could enjoy it. The Grand Canyon, the Caverns, oversized birds, longhorns, and even a couple side roads that take you an hour or two off the path, but it's ok because the elder lady you asked directions from, had never met anyone from California and thinks you talk funny.
    The DVD thing,,,I'm not bragging or making it sound like everyone should have one, we limit ours to the weekends and put limits on it even then. We will be using it for this trip, as a last resort when they are super out of control. For the extremely out of control days, we will use the Playstation, but may not get to it at all. In fact they don't even know we are taking it. The whole video games thing is new to them, something else we're not big fans of.
    Lastly, because we have a 2 year old who has just graduated from potty training, and the "I gotta go" means I am 2 seconds from wetting the seats, we are taking a portable potty with wrap up bags for proper containment...

    So what I have learned from everyone is slow down, they actually convinced me to add an extra day to our trip. My advice, which is their advice, slow down,,,look around,,and enjoy. Have fun

  8. #8
    astcgirl Guest

    Default

    Thanks for the input from all, are there any suggestions for great things to see along the way that we should maybe try to make a stop at and look at? We're going to go with the Editor's suggestion which was to take the I-5 to CA-58 to I-15 to I-40 to I-35 to Dallas and then I-45 to I-10 and onward to Florida. We're thinking of stopping at the Grand Canyon but that's all we know along the way, if anyone can give us a few ideas (that the kids will enjoy) we'd appreciate it. Also we were thinking of travelling at around 4pm each day and ending at around 1pm, with a stop every four or so hours. We thought that would be the best time since the kids will have a few hours during the day to look at the scenery, then sleep when it get's dark and daddy drive peacefully for a couple of hours till around 1am when we can find a hotel and call it a night so he gets a good 7hours rest or so, then we can drive some more or stop for a few hours somewhere to see some things (hence the need for suggestions of good places to stop.) So if anyone can offer suggestions, please do so. Just a note, we're looking to leave around the end of July, 26th or so.

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    Default Safety is a serious concern with this plan

    Quote Originally Posted by astcgirl
    Also we were thinking of travelling at around 4pm each day and ending at around 1pm, with a stop every four or so hours. We thought that would be the best time since the kids will have a few hours during the day to look at the scenery, then sleep when it get's dark and daddy drive peacefully for a couple of hours till around 1am when we can find a hotel...
    I see what you are suggesting, but there is a serious safety flaw with this plan. Your husband could easily go to sleep while he is driving (and that would make it tougher to reach your destination). If both of you are spending most of the daytime sightseeing with your four children -- you are both going to be tired by 4:00PM and it is far more likely that rather than being able to drive peacefully after 7:00 or 8:00 that he will be fighting to stay awake -- this is a very scary, plan. It is not worth dying for. 1-2 days of this schedule will be fine -- but unless he is used to driving into the wee hours of the night -- Yikes! One other problem -- it is far easier to find motel accomodations at 4 to 6 pm than in it is at 1-2 am. Personally, I think it would make more sense to travel with the daylight as Judy writes, start driving at 5:30 am or 6:00 am -- travel and sightsee until 6:00 pm and get a good night's rest and do it again and so forth.
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 06-25-2005 at 04:16 PM.

  10. #10
    RoadTripper Brad Guest

    Default Yikes!

    First, I agree with Mark about the Husband driving all night. At the very least, he will not make a very good traveling buddy because he will be tired, frustrated, etc. My father tried this once... and lets just say that on the second day, after a quite thorough tounge-lashing from him to me and my older brother (I was 4, he was 11)... there was no need to keep us occupied the remainder of the trip. We both straightened up real quick, mainly to not have to hear him yell like that again!

    I do agree with Mark on in-vehicle entertainment centers, but have even deeper reservations on how people use them. I have seen many times in this thread about using the DVD only if the kids get out of control. This may not be wise, as it rewards bad road-tripping behaviors and may make road-tripping more difficult later in life. This is all I am going to say about this.

    Well good luck.
    Oh... although everyone has reservations about eating at fast food joints, if you find a place like McDonalds with one of those Mondo-enclosed-play-place-thingys, this would be a good place to stop, eat, and let the kids run off some energy for a few minutes.

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