I remember driving from Oregon to Utah every summer in a small old car. My mom would pack up the back seat with boxes and suitcases and place on the top a mattress. It must have been a crib size as it was a small 1940’s Ford. That is where I rode during the LONG trip. We would play I spy games, sing and I would chatter until I am sure my mom was anxious for the trip to be at its end. This was before freeways so we traveled through every little poe-dunk town and around every river bend so it took much longer that it does today. But kids still are kids and no matter how far the destination, they want to be there NOW.
As a professional home and office organizer I am always looking for ways to simplify and help the clients I work with. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette had some driving tips that will make the time go faster, well if not faster at least the tips will take some of the pain out of long distant driving with kids in the car.
How to survive your family summer road trip:
o Stop every so often, even if it’s just for a few minutes. Take a jump rope, a Frisbee or a soccer ball for exercise at rest stops. If you don’t have room for these, let them just run around on the grass, but be sure to keep your eye on them.
o Pack a bag or backpack for each child with stickers, cards, books, hand-held games and activity books.
o Pack some special “surprises” for the little kids, and dole them out every so often. It’ll give them something to look forward to.
o A tired kid is a cranky kid. So take pillows and a blanket so they can snooze when they’ve had enough.
o If everyone will be watching the video player (except, of course, the driver), you might consider buying a car cassette adapter that allows for “surround sound”; if not, individual headphones are a good idea. And don’t rule out books on tape. Libraries provide books on tapes. Parents that use a video player love that their kids are entertained and they don’t have to hear them whine and ask, “Are we there yet”.
o Remember the snacks, but avoid anything too salty or sugary. Remember the paper towels and wipes for easy clean up.
The last thing you want to happen is to have the car break down. Make sure your car is road-ready. Check the air in the tires, add wiper fluid, and be sure to have a flashlight and a first-aid kit in with the luggage.
A few weeks before you start to pack make up a packing list and have it on your computer. Everytime you think of something you need to take jot it down. When it is time to pack, print it off and give a copy to each family member that packs for themselves and they can check off each item as they pack it. Save the list for the next time you travel and add to it if you find you forgot something on this trip.