I’m so lucky to be writing this post while on vacation. Our family ventured on an 18 hour drive (over two days) to the beautiful Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. Travelling with 2 small children is no easy feat, but road trips are something I’ve done my whole life so I have never hesitated to travel to a destination by car. Here are some of my tips to surviving a long car ride:
1. Stay Organized. Keep the car organized and clean (or as clean as possible). We kept a makeshift garbage can (cereal container lined with a plastic bag) along with paper towel and wipes accessible at all times. We also kept snacks and juice all together and within an arms reach.
2. Stop frequently. Stops don’t need to be long, 5-10 minutes to hit a washroom and stretch your legs is enough to get re-energized and continue the journey. American interstates have really great rest stops that are extremely clean (at least the route we took), plus it’s a lot quicker to pull over at a rest stop then have to get off the highway to look for washrooms.
3. Pack a cooler. Bringing your own food, snacks and drinks helps your wallet and your tummy will thank you too. Last year we traveled to Florida and didn’t pack any food. By the end of the trip, after recently losing my gall bladder, I was in a lot of discomfort that took weeks to settle. And again, the rest stops are a great place for stops. They usually have lots of picnic benches in a park type setting.
4. Dual screen DVDs! If there’s one time to throw away time limits on screen time, this would be it. Throw in some drawing paper, pencil crayons and books and there’s enough to keep the kiddos happy.
5. Don’t rely on a GPS alone. GPS can be a great tool, but sometimes it’s not the most accurate, even when updated regularly. It might take you on a route you might not want to go, or just gets you confused and tells you to turn somewhere that doesn’t exist (this all happened on this trip). But, before we left I Google mapped our route and took screen shots of the maps and directions just to make sure we were heading in the right direction.
6. Don’t push your limits or your kids. As our kids get older we might be able to spend longer days in the car but we limited ourselves to 9 hours driving time as a maximum. We had one stopover on our way down and one on our way back. By setting a driving limit we were able to map out our stops and pick hotels in advance to look for deals online before booking, plus we also looked for stops that had restaurants close by so that we didn’t need to go searching for dinner once we arrived.
Some of my favourite family memories come from our road trip adventures. I hope it’s something that our young family can find joy in as well!