We are a road trip family. Although I like what we call a "flying vacation" our best family time happens in the car. We annoy our kids with road games, we eat all the snacks, and we have sing-alongs. (Full disclosure; I usually end the songs with "you know you can't sing that at school, right?")
Most of our friends think we are crazy when we drive upwards of 12 hours to Oregon every summer. We shrug off the questions when we drive to Mexico in November "across the border? really???" But this is a part of who we are, and we define ourselves as road-trippers.
Ok- the sales pitch is over. We have an 8 year old and a 6 year old. They get bored and whiny. They hit each other. We stop for 8,000 bathroom breaks. My car looks like a homeless encampment. It is definitely not all fun. But, a little planning goes a long way. Here are my top 5 road trip tips:
Snacks, snacks, snacks:
I bring all the real food snacks possible. My husband love gas station "treats" so I battle the Pringles and Skittles with dried fruit and cheese.
Hit the Dollar Spot:
Or the Dollar Store, or anywhere else you can get 10 toys for $10... then pull our something new occasionally. Just before they kill each other, I hand my kids Rubics cubes, or slinkys they have never seen before.
Anywhere you go, there are great places to stop. Hit a beach, or a playground- even take a frisbee to a rest stop. Just get the kids out of the car! **If you ever take the I-5 through Central California- check our Bravo Farms in Kettleman City for a great kid & dog friendly stop. The food is good too!
Keep 'em cozy:
Each time I was pregnant, my aunt made me the most amazing flannel baby blanket. I used to keep in in the car to make sure the baby was cozy at any time. I still throw those blankets (plus pillows) in the car for a long road trip... because sometimes, if we are lucky, the girls just cozy up and sleep.
Force the fun:
I am a firm believer in faking it until you make it. This applies to fun too. If my kids don't want to play 20 questions, that's fine, my husband and I will play. They are welcome to try to resist... they never can.