My family and I will be taking a 3300+ mile two week road trip this month. Being a family of six we tend to road trip vs. plane or other transportation. We can save a lot of money while traveling via our mini van. Actually before we were a family of six we chose to road trip…we just enjoy the open road and sight seeing along the way to our destination. We have made so many road trips as a family that I have now made many 10+ hour trips alone with my four kids from the time they were little.
I get asked a LOT about how I stay so organized on our road trips. I must admit that some of my best ideas have come from other bloggers I found on Pinterest but prior to Pinterest I found ways to stay organized, while keeping the family happy on the road.
Here are my best tips for road tripping (with or without kids)…
Food & Toys Baskets: Found at Dollar Tree these baskets are perfect for putting an entire meal in on the road. They are also great for holding kids toys, gaming devices, books, crayons, and anything else you can think of to keep in arms reach of your children. I originally saw this on Pinterest from Lookie What I Did .
Games: Along with the gaming devices my children already have, my daughter is turning 4 on Thursday (which we will be driving on her birthday), I found a great deal for a LeapPad Explorer 60% off at Target that she will be receiving Thursday. I also found TONS of $1 travel games at Dollar Tree this week!
Toys: Each child gets to pick 5 small toys to take with them. I limit it to 5 because when we are staying in several hotels and are on the road I want everyone to easily find their 5 toys and put them in their back pack. This also makes them decide what toys are most important to them rather than just packing my van full of their stuff. I also keep a container of new inexpensive toys and books for my toddler and preschooler to give them along the way. AND we all know that we are bound to get a few things at gift shops along our trip.
Clothes Pin Behavior Clips: I originally saw this idea on Pinterest and you can read about it here at Less Than Perfect Life of Bliss I am not as fancy as her to I just wrote my kids names on a clothespin and clip them to the visor. HOWEVER I will only be doing this for my toddler and preschooler. My older boys will be receiving tickets that I’ll explain next.
Good Behavior Tickets: I’ve seen two posts on this travel ticket idea HERE and HERE. I am planning to change it up a bit by giving my older boys good behavior tickets for when I note good behavior (i.e.helpful with younger siblings, sharing, using their car voice). They will get a ticket at each stop so long as I didn’t have to get onto them for bad behavior. They will keep their tickets in their binder pocket during the trip. Each ticket is worth $.50 and at the end of the trip they can buy something special! Money is now a big incentive to my older boys so I think this will work perfect! BTW: I am just using plain raffle tickets bought on a roll at Target or WalMart.
Back of the Seat Organizers: Each of my four children have these organizers from Rubbermaid from WalMart. They have lots of slots for books, crayons, pencils, toys, cups and snacks. PLUS they top section opens up into a flat surface to draw, eat, read, etc! It is perfect for them. I also have the entire back of my van organized so that I am never left stranded with out a needed item.
Road Trip Busy Binders: On my vacation board on Pinterest you will see that I have found lots of great ideas to put together the perfect Road Trip Busy Binders. My kids binders include worksheets, fun papers torn out of coloring books, and games in plastic sleeves so they can use dry erase markers on them then wipe away and play again! I gathered these great ideas from Six Sisters Stuff, Dating Divas, Moms Minivan, Prepared Not Scared, Gluesticks Blog, and 30 Hand Made Days.
Pit Stops: We try to take as little stops as possible and maximize our time when we do stop. We let the kids out, use the restrooms, stretch, clean the car of all trash and put toys/books/etc back in their bags, get gas, give everyone a drink/snack from the cooler, and head back out on the road. We have stops down to a science. As soon as I pull off the Interstate I prep my kids by having them place their shoes on, then as soon as we stop we run through the list above before heading back out on the road.
- My children each get to bring their pillow pet, a stuffed animal, and a blanket from home.Their stuffed animal must fit in their backpack with their 5 toys to help with car clutter.
- I keep a bucket for trash in each row of the van. Kids must clean out their trash at every stop.
- We have a dvd player in our van with dual screens so my children get to watch a couple moves each day we travel.
- I limit gaming device time to 30 minutes for every 3 hours traveled. We also make a list and rotate the gaming devices so there is no “unfairness” going on.