Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Simple Trip

Over the holidays, we took a little roadtrip.

Except it wasn't bit. We drove approximately (or exactly)...

When my big sister and her kids moved down to Baton Rouge, I knew it was far...but I don't think I realized HOW far it really was. It's a long way down, y'all...and I'm already down South! (not to folks down there...I was called a "Northerner" at least know because North Carolina has the word "North" in it, apparently that makes me a Yankee...heehee.)

After researching flying prices, and train travel, I realized that we would have to drive it. I was less than thrilled. All I thought of was fighting, feeling irritated, and grumpiness that might consume our two day venture down there. But then, I started to remember.

When I was a little girl, my family took lots of road trips. We had no DVD players, no iPads, no mp3 I sounding ancient? You might remember a time such as that. Anyway, we lived in California when I was young, and we would drive from San Diego to Virginia, and back, a couple times a year. Then, we moved to North Carolina, and we would go back to visit Californina, by way of road trip. Or other fun places like the time we drove from North Carolina to Montana. I loved our road trips. Yes, my sister and I would often have squabbles, or be scolded, but those trips were some of our best family memories.

We knew for our own safety and sanity, we'd have to break it into two days. We planned our trip by having lots of car activities. As we traveled I thought how unusual it was to have unplugged life for a little while. How wholesome it felt to just have an old school road trip.

So, I started to make a list. A simple list of all the things that we had with us, or the kids did to stay entertained for 20+ hours in the car. I thought if any of you have big trips coming up, it might feel encouraging to know that it can be done...and actually is pretty fun. Instead of dreading it, know that it can become a fun way to spend quality time with your family.

the excitement of little things (like our pit stops) became pretty funny

So, here's the trip list. It's kid friendly and budget friendly.

1. Snack Bags. Pack kids their own snack bags filled with lots of options. You have no idea how much time and money this saved. I got a lot of individually wrapped things (granola bars, pretzels, goldfish, raisins, etc.) so that they could each help themselves as they needed. Include a water bottle for each kid - NOT juice boxes - unless you want to add about 500 pit stops to let them use the potty.

2. Spiral Notebooks. I got the cheap kind from Target. Grabbed some of our many many crayons, colored pencils, and markers and put a bundle in each kids bag. They could draw, play games with each other, write down things we saw, etc. Options of a fresh notebook are endless.

3. Activity / Sticker Books. Our sweet neighbor gave the kids these as a present right before we headed out of town...God bless her! They helped a lot.

4. Duck Tape. I mean, who knew!?! We had a blast making bows, rings, key chains, and just ripping it into smaller pieces. It did help that it was hot pink.

5. Bop It. Ok, if you're one of those who can't stand the noisy toys, this might not be fun for you. BUT, I will say, it made my kids just laugh until their sides hurt. They would put it on "quiet" mode, and pass it back and forth...sometimes with a parent in the rotation, sometimes just the two of them. But, it was a fun way to have a little game, but still not anything with lots of pieces to fall everywhere.

6. License Plate Game. We did the old school license plate game, where you try to find all 50 states. We came up a few shy, but still loved looking and finding ones we could.

7. Lacing Game. A while back we were given lacing cards, and the kids had so much fun for a while working on those. Then, they were silly and put them up in front of their faces. Apparently, I thought it was pretty funny, too.

8. Twenty Questions. Kids loved playing this with us.

9. Books, books, and more books. Kids each had a ton of books in their individual bags, but our favorite was reading aloud Andrew Peterson's On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness. A tip for the books, though, let the kids pack paperbacks if possible...they can fit more in, and it's not as heavy.

10. Be Silly. This was definitely the best part. The kids laughed so much together on this trip. They made up characters with ultimate silly names, and then would make up the voices and story lines to go along with them. It was so cute hearing them cackle in the backseat.

Any great road trip memories to share? I'd love to hear!


  1. Love your list and fun photos! Our drive was 10 hours in one day, so not quite as long a trip :) but worth some creative planning. A couple of things we did were "car prizes" - fun/silly little things they can pull out of the bag slung over the back of their seat... they got one prize each hour... most from the dollar spot or cheaper... like new Word Search books, a pack of gum, a "new to them" (used from Edward McKay) movie, a notebook and pen, stickers, etc. The card game "Would You Rather" was good for quite a few laughs! We had duct tape, too, and were making roses!

  2. Wonderful :-) Great tips! Love, Heather