Sunday, May 30, 2010

Road Trips & Travel Tips List

I love road trips. Growing up, road trips and camping were our family vacations. We would sing songs, talk, read, and listen to my dad. He is a wonderful storyteller, knows everyone (seriously - pick a truck stop anywhere and give him 10 mins. and he will find someone that he knows or that they both know in common. I am not exaggerating) and he has eagle eyes for spotting and pointing out wildlife, waterfalls, or interesting features along the road. 

Every family should have at least one really long road trip in their history. It becomes iconic - all other road trips pale in comparison. Ours was the summer I was 10 yrs. old. My dad's family all lived in Ohio and there was a family reunion. After much discussion, it was decided that we would drive from Oregon to Ohio with 5 kids ages 10 -2 (two yr. old was barely potty trained), and a pregnant mother in a Subaru hatchback. Yes, you read that right. My dad took out the back seat (pre-seatbelt laws) and laid down 3 opened sleeping bags. My mom sewed each of us our own small duffle bag that had all of our clothes, necessities and served as our pillows as well. We had a small cooler, and one small bag with some coloring books, etc (pre-technology.) We lived out of that car for the next month - we visited Mt. Rushmore, Custer's Last Stand, Ohio and all the relatives and Temple Square on the way home. Every rest stop we would shake out the sleeping bags and rotate the least dirty to the top. I remember Nebraska taking forever to drive through. I remember vowing to NEVER take cookies on a road trip and I developed a hatred for crumbs. When we would ask how many miles more, my dad would answer "Only 271 smiles more!" and we kids would start smiling and counting. I remember catching fireflies and walking on stilts at Grandpa's house. I remember playing at my Grandparents house and especially in the barns and cornfields. More than anything, I came away with a new level of independence that I didn't even know I had gained at the time. I actually like packing everything in the car and taking off. I love car conversations and being away from all of the distractions. I love the bonding experience of listening to great books together on cd, laughing at comedians, crying along with amazing talks, singing silly camp songs at the top of our lungs or sleeping to calm music as we roll down the road. I love all the games we invent and the rest stop stories that emerge. I love the sincerity of prayers said on a road trip. 

Summer is here and road trips season has arrived. Because I am so scatterbrained, I scoured the net and some discussion boards a few years ago and added it to my 'after the trip' notes and compiled this travel list to help me pack for our road trips. Just thought I would share. (feel free to send me a comment with any suggestions) 


Travel (with Children) Tips

Rest Stop toys: Nerf football, Frisbee, inflatable beach ball, squirt guns, small parachute/sheet, bubbles
Family Blanket for rest stops
Books on Tape (Jim Weiss, Bill Cosby, Andy Griffin & John Bytheway)
Music (Raffi & John McCutcheon, Cajun for Kids, Kids Party Music, & some calm)
BSA Cub Scout Song Book
Scripture Scouts (Desert Book)
Family Times Virtues CDs
Scripture Stories (LDS distribution)
Magnadoodle / Etch-a-sketch
Colored Pencils & color books (NO crayons!)
Travel Bingo (very fun – buy at Cracker Barrel)
Metal Cookie sheet & magnets
Magic Markers & books (the ones that only write on paper)
Maps (laminated) & highlighters (yellow marks route, blue road covered)
Mad libs, Word searches, kid magazines
Surprise Bags: treat, well wrapped toy, new book or game
Individual Snack Bags packed each day
Individual pillows
Favorite small blanket/fleece throw
Leap Frog/Leapster/DS/Gameboy
Portable CD player &/or DVD player w/ head phones

Bordom Games:
License Plates - keep track of how many states you see
Count how many types of cars you see (i.e. count all the vans)
ABC game – find the letters of the alphabet in order from things that you see
I Spy with my Little Eye –
Who Am I? Pick someone everyone knows and give yes or no answers until they guess who you are.
Scripture Chase (for littles – find the index, a footnote, the title page, etc.)
Letter boxing & Geo Caching (google them - they are awesome!)
Words that rhyme with________
Animal names that start with____

Cooler: Bottled water, apples, oranges, grapes, baby carrots, bagels/English muffins, cream cheese/Laughing Cow Light Cheese, cheese sticks, Gogurts, Tuna pouches, Mayo packages
Snacks: Pretzels, Pringles, Trailmix, crackers, goldfish, licorice, smarties, nuts, raisins, dried fruit, seeds, crème savers, lollipops, starburst, Chex Stix, jerky, gum, certs, tic tacs, 
Hand Sanitizer
Journal & a couple of pens
TP for rest stops
Walmart bags for trash/small trash can for car sickness
Car Timer
Zip locks
Air freshener vent sticks
Double check for license, current insurance & registration and ER numbers
Cell phone & charger 


Veronica said...

Just drove from Greeley, Co to SLC, UT then after a few days with a friend SLC, UT to Las Vegas, Nevada Just me, the 2 girls and the big dog. So many of these things were a big help!

Meghan said...

I am really getting things planned out now for our summer. These tips are going to come in very handy.

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