Our family recently went on a Rio road trip. OK, it was actually just a day trip from Portland down to Corvallis and Marys Peak (highest peak in the Oregon Coast Range). My oldest child will be a freshman in high school this fall, so I wanted to introduce her to my alma mater, Oregon State University. She still has four years to decide where she wants to go to college, but I figure I should start the brainwashing as early as possible. The last thing I want to see happen is for my daughter to become an Oregon Duck, my school’s rival to the south. Anyway, this post isn’t about selecting a college. I’m actually sharing some road survival trips for parents of young kids.
I have four children. It’s not difficult to take my three oldest kids (ages eight to fourteen) on the road, but my youngest child (age five) can be a handful. If you’ve traveled with a pre-schooler, then you know what I mean. I’m hungry. I’m bored, what should I do? I have to go to the bathroom (again). Are we there yet? It’s taking too long. I love my little guy, but he can drive me crazy on long road trips. Fortunately, I have four kids so I’m practically an expert when it comes to going on road trips with kids. That’s why I’m sharing some of my road tips on my dad blog today.
12 Road Trip Survival Tips
- To avoid stopping every 30 minutes for a bathroom break, don’t let your kids drink too much before you hit the road
- Bring crayons, markers, pencils and paper to draw on
- Bring coloring and activity sheets for young children
- Don’t forget a clipboard or something firm they can place their paper on while they are in the car
- Play games like “I spy something…” or see how many different state license plates you see on the road
- For long road trips, bring blankets and pillows
- Leave after dinner or super early in the morning for long road trips so your kids can sleep for a good portion of the trip
- Bring snacks and pack meals to save time and money
- I don’t like to read while I’m in the car, but some kids like reading on the road so bring plenty of books
- Sing songs in the car
- Take breaks at rest areas to stretch your kids legs
- Play electronic games or watch movies on the road trip
While we are on the subject of electronics on road trips, I want to say I consider electronics my last option. I want to distract my kids for as long as possible before I let them play with electronics. That way they can do a variety of things instead of just playing electronics for the entire trip. For instance, I didn’t let my youngest child watch the new Rio 2 movie on our trip until we were about halfway there. [Note: Fox Home Entertainment sent us an iTunes code for the movie, plus some travel swag like coloring sheets, pencils, silly bands, window clings, etc.]
BTW, my kids love Rio 2 (giveaway) and the digital movie kept my youngest son entertained during the trip. The film is funny, it’s fairly easy to understand, and some of the characters are cute. One of the main characters in Rio 2 even brought his own survival kit for his journey deep into the Amazon.
It’s interesting how technology has changed in the last few years. When we were looking for a mini-van several years ago, we thought about purchasing a car with a DVD player built-in. Even though a DVD player would’ve come in handy on road trips, we decided a built-in DVD player was too expensive an option for us. That turned out to be a good decision because we can now watch movies on our smartphones, tablets and even my iPod Touch. In fact, I downloaded Rio 2 to my iPod so I didn’t have to use data on my wife’s iPhone. And with digital movies, sometimes you can watch the film (like Rio 2) before it’s available in stores.
OK, I’ve share my road trip survival tips. Now it’s your turn. Please share a tip in the comments area below.