We made it home late Sunday night from our whirlwind car ride. All in all we covered 3,585 miles over 8 days and drove through 9 states. And our boys did amazingly well. I was so worried when we finally decided we were going. I wasn't worried about our 5 year old, but man, that 2 year old hates the car. He hates to be strapped down, gets carsick, is too little to play car games. Basically, everything that could make a road trip horrible he is. But he did amazing!
I read every idea I could find about road tripping with kids and found a lot of ideas in this Car Trips 101 post to be helpful. The comment section is also full of good ideas, so don't skip it. And this Car Kit post is full of great books and activities to keep the kids occupied.
And I'm so proud to say that even though were were armed with 2 iPads and 2 iPhones, not a single movie was played on our trip--and very little iDevice time. Each boy played on an iPad for about an hour. So it is possible in this day and age to actually travel without a DVD player! Though I am glad we have an unlimited data plan because we did stream Pandora the entire time.
Here are a few tricks that seemed to work well for us:
1. With a newly potty trained 2 year old we knew potty breaks would be very frequent, and had heard that diaper wipe containers work as a great potty when it is actually impossible to get to a restroom. Luckily, we never used it for that, but it did come in handy when that 2 year old got carsick.
2. I packed the boys clothes as complete outfits in ziploc bags. This made it especially nice when we pulled into our hotel late--all I had to do was grab 2 little bags and we were good. I only packed 4-5 outfits a piece and, as you know, did laundry at your house.
3. We packed beach towels, for our visit to the beach, but they came in handy when we were caught in a torrential downpour and doubled as blankets when the boys got cold in the car.
4. I packed surprises for the boys to open when they were almost to the breaking point. Instead of wrapping them individually I would pick and choose just the right distraction and hand it back in a reusable bag. This cut down on the garbage in the car and I knew exactly what I was handing back.
5. On our really long days (1 day we drove 16 hours, not including potty stops or road construction) we got up at 3:30 and hit the road by 4:00. This gave us about 4 hours on the road before the boys woke up.
6. We tried to only stop for activities that did not require us to sit. I had read that it is wise to eat in the car (because you're sitting) and only get out when you can move. So we ate a lot of PB&J, but did have time to see a few sights along the way.
Honestly, the boys were so good that we're planning a trip to Lake Tahoe in less than 2 weeks. It is only a 9 hour drive and that seems like cake now.
Do you have any road trip tips? Are there must sees in Tahoe?
Off to plan our next trip!