0 In A Traveler

Road Trip Prep

We are only weeks away from our big road trip.

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We’re loading up the truck and the 5th wheel and headed south. As soon as Spring Break is here, we are breaking free from the Inland Northwest and headed to Montana, Utah, Arizona, and probably California.

Our packing is already underway, but since the trailer is still winterized and in the shop, I have piles of stuff sitting in my entryway… just waiting to get into their rightful places.

On our last road trip we made a lot of stops, which gave us less driving every day, but we were driving almost every day and only spending a day or two at each stop. About half way through the trip, we were so tired of just being in the pick up that we kept changing plans just so we could have a break.

Our map from last years trip:

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This trip is going to be different, we are making longer treks, but staying longer at each stop. Spending more time and exploring our surroundings is important to us.
I’ll share more about our planned stops soon.

This is what our map looks like for this trip {so far}:

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Once we get to Phoenix, our plans are still open.
We need to decide which way to drive home.
We’ve already seen a lot of California, but there are still other roads and parks to see… plus I have some special people that I would love to visit in Northern CA that we didn’t get to see last time.

Getting Ready
My biggest to-do list right now is getting the kids ready for the long days of driving. Our first two days will be at least 7 hours in the pick up with as few stops and breaks as possible. We only want one overnight between our home and St George. So that first night, wherever we stop is where we sleep. Makes it a fun adventure.

Here is my plan of attack to keep the girls occupied and well fed through those long days:

Snacks: You can never have too many snacks when traveling with kiddos. I don’t know about any of you,  but my girls and I probably eat twice as much when we are traveling than we ever do during a normal day. Maybe its out of boredom, or maybe we’ve trained ourselves to do it, but it’s what we do, and I don’t mind it. I like food. I’ve gotten some snack sized paper towels from Target and plan to fill a lot of them to keep in the trailer and be able to quickly refill the girls snack bags at each stop (if needed). Some examples of great travels snacks we like are:* Trail Mix

* Mixed Nuts
* Chocolate Covered Super-fruits (found them at Costco and DELISH!)
* Goldfish Crackers
* Dried Fruit
* Applesauce in the squeeze packs
* Crackers
* Dry Cereal

Also, anything portable that can fit in the small cooler I keep behind the seat for easy access by both us and the girls while on the move:

*Gogurts
*Cheese
*Pepperoni sticks cut into bite size pieces
*Easy to eat {and not messy} Fruit
*Cut up veggies.

It’s also good to have a few drinks on hand like juice boxes and bottled water. Although, pulling over on the side of the freeway when Zoie has to go potty isn’t exactly easy when hauling the 5th wheel, so I plan trying to limit her beverage intake while on the move.

Entertainment: You can never give your kids enough stuff to do while in the car. We have personal DVD players and an ipad loaded with games and movies. I know the girls love these, but I really don’t want them just watching tv and playing video games the whole trip.

Zach and I have talked about a ‘semi-schedule’ to put in place while in the truck so to hopefully limit screen time as much as possible. We want more family bonding time than screen time. I’d rather the girls stare out the window than stare at the same movie(s) over and over for hours on end.
{At least then they are seeing this country side, it’s a privilege that not all get.}

Another option is reading. Both of our girls LOVE to read, but as much as they love reading when they are at home; you put them in a pick up for 6-8 hours straight and reading can get a little boring. Even when you don’t have many other options of things to keep you busy.

Games/Puzzles:
Travel games are great for our kids. Now that Zoie is getting older, travel size games like Bingo and Connect 4 are great for her and Ryleigh to do together. It creates a little sisterly bonding as well as keeps them occupied for a little while at least. Zoie might not fully grasp the concept, but I would rather the girls to work together at something than ignore each other the whole trip because again, their too busy watching tv or playing video games. I’ve gone ahead and picked up a couple games that I think the girls can do together while we’re driving. I’ve also included some magnetic puzzles that Zoie can do on her own as well.

There is also the option of playing the License Plate Game or the Alphabet Game.
These were my only options when I was a kid.

Coloring: Zoie loves to color. We’ve picked up a few coloring books and lots of crayons and colored pencils. Hopefully this will keep both girls occupied for even a short time.

Books on CD: While the girls don’t necessarily love listening to books on tape, Zach and I enjoy a good mystery while we’re driving. Our favorite series is the Stephanie Plum Novels from Janet Evanovich. If you haven’t read them, we believe you are missing out. Great entertainment and a good book can make a 7 hour drive feel like nothing when you are engaged in a great story.

When traveling with kids there are a few things you should never leave any stop without; such as baby wipes for fingers and faces, paper towels or napkins because there WILL BE messes whether you plan for them or not, toilet paper just in case you do end up pulling over on the side of the freeway to let a little one go potty, and of course a garbage bag of some sort. You will have garbage!

And don’t foget the gum!
Do you have any recommendations or thoughts on traveling with kids? I’d love to hear them!

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