Tomorrow we leave the sandy beaches of Tampa and head to the Smoky Mountains. For me, this means hours on the road, in a small, confined space, with a 10, 6, and 3 year old. The question then becomes, how do I entertain the kids for 10 hours so that they don’t drive us crazy?! I’ve done a ton of Pinterest research, along with my own experiences, to come up with 6 Road Trip Sanity Savers!
- Charge up those tablets, laptops, and gaming systems! As parents, we can all agree that too much screen time is a bad thing but in the car these can be sanity savers! My advice is to do all the updates and upload some new games before you leave. If you have a DVD player in your car (we don’t), bring a few favorites as well as a new one for the collection!
- Pack snacks. Tons. of. Snacks. Even if you are planning to stop and eat meals- bring snacks! I try to have a few snacks for each kids (because wouldn’t you know, they don’t all like the same things)!
- Bring some books and knock out their summer reading. Tablets, laptops, and gaming systems’s batteries won’t last forever so its important to have some other options. I packed bags with books required for summer reading. You can also do coloring books and activities books (don’t forget the pencils and crayons).
- Play road trip games. When I was growing up, we played the ABC game (a race to find all the letters in alphabetical order). We also played- what I can only assume was a game from my mom’s imagination. We counted cows on our side of the road. If we passed a cemetery on our side, we had to start all over. Whoever had the most cows at each stop was the winner. You can also play road-trip bingo, do a road sign scavenger hunt, 20 questions, tic tac toe, or hangman.
- Nap. It can be hard to get comfortable in the car but if you allow your kids to bring pillows, stuffed animals, and blankets you might just get a quiet ride while they snooze! Along with this, I want to add… my kids are known to get carsick and napping helps. We have to keep medicine, plastic bags, and wet wipes on hand.
- Plan on stopping, stretching, and resting. If its in your budget, split a long road trip up with a night in a hotel. This will give everyone a nice break from the road (especially, if people do get car sick). Traveling is for the adventures and the memories. Some of the best vacation memories are made at the pit-stops. You won’t want to forget the hole-in-the-wall restaurant with the best barbecue, the creepy rest stop bathroom, and the shop where the kids petted that albino alligator.
I hope this list saves your sanity so you can concentrate on the more important plans- like how to entertain the kids while you are actually on vacation!