Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Road Trip Tips

I posted yesterday about our recent trip down to The Smokey Mountains. We had a wonderful time, but the drive was long, especially with young children. One of the things I did before we left was come up with a list (I am the queen of list making) of things to bring with us to to keep the kids, and ourselves busy; or maybe distracted is more the word.

Besides the usual coloring books and crayons, I wanted to have something different for my grandchildren to make our journey memorable and extra special. First I bought about 10 small gifts for each of them. I wrapped each separately and put them into a gift bag for each. I didn't let them open all the gifts at once. About every hour they were handed their bag and got to choose a gift. Most were things to keep them busy in the car, but some were for their vacation. In my grandson's bag was a pedometer to see how far he would walk on our hikes, and in both their bags I had binoculars (the inexpensive ones, because yeah, they're three and six). Besides the presents, there were snacks that they liked.

Another thing I did before we left was to print out "Travel Bingo" cards. Basically a bingo card with pictures of different vehicles, signs, etc. Instead of having those little pieces to cover a square, you can just use a crayon or pencil (you can buy travel Bingo cards, but it's really easy to make them). This is a game that the adults can get in on too. More for the adults, but my six year old grandson was able to play also, was looking for license plates from as many states as possible. I printed out a list of all the states, with extra points for Canada, to check off. A great idea is to buy a few inexpensive clipboards from your local office supply store. You can just clip the page on and it makes it a lot easier to write on. This works for young children trying to color too.

Something My Better Half and I did during our trip, which we made up as we were driving, was to see if we could hear a band/artist that started with each letter of the alphabet...yeah, sounds lame, but anything to keep you occupied helps. We took a piece of paper and listed the letters of the alphabet and started channel surfing. As anyone who has driven outside the frequency of familiar stations knows, it's hard to come across something you recognize. Anyhoo, we amused ourselves for a few 22 out of 26 letters. Thank goodness we heard "Legs" by ZZ Top and something by U2. Unfortunately, nothing by Queen.

Other things I brought, which may be obvious to most, were paper towels, wet wipes, and a garbage bag. Bringing a cooler with drinks, sandwiches and snacks will cut down on the amount of stops you have to make. Another thing I recommend doing is applying Rain-X to your windshield. Not only does it help when it rains, but it makes it a lot easier to clean those bugs off!

So to anyone planning a 'road trip' I hope this was helpful. Drive safe, plan ahead, and don't forget your maps...or GPS. Have fun, enjoy and drive safe!



Anonymous said...

I need you to organise my trips. I love the present idea. I'm going to tell a friend of mine about it who is going on a long trip next week. Thanks for the tips!

Whitney said...

Wow! What fabulous ideas! Makes me want to pop out a few babies and take a road trip! :)

Anonymous said...

Those are great ideas! That makes me want to hop in my car and go.... The gift bags were a very good idea! Thanks for the tips!

Michael C said...

Wow do i wish I had seen this post BEFORE my trip. And God bless the GPS unit!!!

Coal Miner's Granddaughter said...

Yeah, my next road trip will involve a stop-off at your house to pick up "Auntie Linda!" :)

Anonymous said...

I hate to tell you this now, but since your grandson drove with our better halves on the way there, all his presents were opened in the first half an hour due to lack of supervision with the gift bag!!!

Expat No. 3699 said...