Monday, May 8, 2017

Easy Breezy Road Trips With Tweens & Teens

We just finished our most recent road trip adventure!  A quick trip to celebrate my sister's wedding and then right back home. This trip is the beginning of several months of road tripping we have planned in 2017.

I'm starting to get the hang of road trip planning. At this point, I'm pretty sure I prefer driving over flying. For me, flying is getting to be a hassle. An expensive hassle! By the time I drive 2 hours to the airport, arrive 2 hours early, fly, have a layover, fly some more, and then drive to my destination, I haven't saved enough time to make the expense worth it.

Being perfectly situated on the East Coast, road tripping makes more sense with so many states within a day's drive. We will be road tripping experts by 2018!

My husband doesn't seem too thrilled about that!

As much as I enjoy road trips over other modes of travel, the preparations for a road trip with kids is time consuming. There seems to be a delicate balance of what to bring and what not to bring to keep everyone sane. You know it too, huh? I thought why not share what I've learned about what works to keep tweens and teens happily entertained for a road trip.

This list is what I use to keep the fighting, complaining, and attitude-ing to a minimum when we are traveling long distances in the car.

1.) Pack a pillow & throw blanket for each child. Pillows are a must not only for the car ride but for the hotel too. There are never enough pillows for 5 people in a hotel room. Blankets are for napping, shading electronic screens, blocking siblings from breathing on you, and becoming invisible when your parent tries to have a conversation with you about college or extracurricular activities or beginning nicer to your brother.

2.) Water bottle and snacks for each person. We always start our road trip stocked up with snacks and bottled water. This gets us a little further down the road and saves money! Gas station snacks are so expensive and add precious time to the travel schedule. Or so dad thinks.

3.) Electronics and chargers. This goes without saying, right? I mean, would you really want to do a 9 hour road trip without iPhones and handheld games with teenagers. Believe me, they are worse than littles without distractions. It's this little thing called drama they like to create.

4.) "New To Them" movie. I suppose you would need a dvd player first :) The night before or morning of, I will pick up a movie or two they have not seen to watch along the way. Your own movies are great but I find someone isn't "feeling" the movie they've seen a hundred times before. Plus, coupon codes are a dime a dozen for Redbox. These rented movies can be returned to any kiosk along your route. Total winner for convenience alone! Another option is checking out new titles from the library.

5.) Audiobook. When we travel extra long distances, I will checkout a middle grade, award winning audiobook from the library. At some point, all the devices and music are exhausted and they want to listen to the book. And no matter how much my kids argue with putting the audiobook on, they get hooked pretty quickly.  Make sure it's award-winning (Newbury/Caldecott/etc) because those seem to really hook them and keep their attention. Our most recent audiobook on our Iowa Trip was The Wednesday Wars. From California to North Carolina, I had The Curious Incident of A Dog In The Nighttime. Both were well received. It doesn't take long before I hear, "Mom, can we turn on the book now?", even from my non-reader.

6.) Cash. I am learning our teens and tween like a little independence when it comes to snack stops and meal stops. If I can hand them a $20 and let them go buy their snacks/meals, they prefer it more. It also helps move things along when we stop.

7.) Baby wipes. Never underestimate the need for baby wipes! They have been life changing with the big kids.

8.) Plastic grocery bags. What can you do with an empty grocery bag? So many options! Throw the trash away. Contain the dirty clothes. Throw up in it. Despite the large number I pack, we never have enough empty grocery bags.

9.) Kleenex during cold or allergy season. Forget the travel pack, just buy a box!

10.) Self inflating air mattress for hotel rooms. Someone was always without a bed and all the alternative bed options were not cutting it. Buying the self inflating twin size air mattress was the smartest thing we did.

Bonus tip: Switch seats throughout the trip. I am not above sitting in the back seat versus passenger seat. Sometimes, the simple act of switching seats and therefore scenery is enough to refresh. Also, leg room or comfort might be a factor too.

Hoping these tips bring a little peace to your next road trip! And hoping they continue to do the trick for us this trip too :)

Follow Along:

1 comment:

  1. I am all about driving if we can, especially if more than one person is going on the trip.