Growing up I can’t say we did a lot of 'vacationing'.
But every year we took at least one road trip to Amarillo, TX, to see my grandparents. This was also when the highway speed limit was 60mph, so it took us seven hours to get from Dallas to the Panhandle. Now-a-days its an average of 5-6 depending on stops.
But road trips were cherished memories of mine, plus it always included a Blizzard at Dairy Queen, yum!
While road trips hold a dear place in my heart, not so much for the hubby. His family took many road trips, but when stops included antiquing he developed ‘a twitch’ at the phrase road trip. So it took me until we were a family of five to make Road trips an enjoyable thing. As long as I let him drive. More time reading for me, win-win.
To date my family has traveled to Nebraska, Kentucky, Colorado, New Mexico, Alabama, all by car. We've averaged over ten hours one way per trip. Amarillo and Oklahoma have been in there too, but those are short stints at this point.
Top 5 things we need to survive with three kids on long drives
Audio Adventures- This is the only way to get my kids quiet in the car. Audio adventures are on constant play in my car, because music is too much for my Sensory Sensitive kiddo. So, we make sure to have a new batch of audio adventures before we go on any long trip. Audio books are great too. I think on our trip to Kentucky we got through two Harry Potter books, which made the time go by super-fast. This is usually how I can squeeze in some classics that my boys wouldn’t naturally pick up on their own. Trapped in the car with an audio book, Momma can have a little say in what we listen to.
Our go-to listening material is Adventures in Odyssey and Jonathan Park. I can’t recommend either of them enough if you’re wanting stories with a biblical world view and a whole lot of fun.
Library Books- Before we go on a trip, late in the day before to be exact, I load the kids up and I let them raid the Library. We have discovered our library’s book limit is fifty, so have to stay under that at least. This provides the kiddos with plenty of reading material for the car ride. I don’t mind paying for a lost book if it means a peaceful drive.
Sticker Books- This is a big win for my youngest. On our last road trip in 2019, ‘cause 2020 happened, this was crucial. He wasn’t reading just yet, so library books were quick glances. But a sticker book of his favorite subject could keep him occupied for a seriously good chunk of time.
Planned Screen Time: This is where the rubber hits the road a lot of the time. If allowed, my kids would be on screens 24/7 and my husband too for that matter. For me road trips growing up were not just about reading and drawing, but they were also times to stare out the window and observe the world and ask questions to myself or out loud. I want the same for my kiddos so we divide up our drive times into 1.5 hours of non-screens and 30min of screens and hoping back and forth tossing in a movie every once in a while, for my sanity.
Hotels with Indoor Pools- This one is the clincher. Hotels with indoor pools is often what decides where we stop for the night on our long hauls. My boys love to swim. While, the hubs and I can be picky on the water temperature, my kids do not care. Cold, lukewarm, as long as it’s a pool it’s fun. After a full day cooped up in the car, swimming is the best exercise for them. We prefer indoor pools because we just don’t want the weather to not allow our boys to get out their daily physical needs so we can survive the next day of travel.
Hopefully these tips will aide you on your summer adventures.
I'm so happy that we'll be on the road again this summer, making up for last year's cancelled trip. But the ultimate Road trip of Route 66 is on my family bucket list. I have a plan, but the hubs needs a little more convincing. Maybe next summer!