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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I don't know about you, but all my life, I've always enjoyed taking long distance road trips - with my family as a child or by myself/with a significant other (now married) as an adult. Whether it was a 4 hour or 11 hour trip, I've never had any issues forgoing an airplane and loading the car up to drive from MD to VT, IL, GA, FL, etc.

These days, I have a 2.5 YO and 6 MO. Granted, they are probably a bit young to start piling in the family wagon to make annual trips to the beach - what age did you find your kids were ready for longer road time?

The way I see it, you have to factor time to fuel up, eat, and take bathroom breaks and while many of that can be accomplished at the same time once or twice as an adult driving 10+ hours - I imagine at least doubling that time with kids is enough to want to purchase a flight to your destination. The downside - you have to rent a car when you get somewhere and essentially outfit it with all your typical family road going accouterments as well as lug more suitcases than you would prefer through an airport, etc.

So, when did you start road trips with the kids and what other tips/tricks have you used to keep the kids entertained?

 

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These days, I have a 2.5 YO and 6 MO. Granted, they are probably a bit young to start piling in the family wagon to make annual trips to the beach - what age did you find your kids were ready for longer road time?

The way I see it, you have to factor time to fuel up, eat, and take bathroom breaks and while many of that can be accomplished at the same time once or twice as an adult driving 10+ hours - I imagine at least doubling that time with kids is enough to want to purchase a flight to your destination. The downside - you have to rent a car when you get somewhere and essentially outfit it with all your typical family road going accouterments as well as lug more suitcases than you would prefer through an airport, etc.

So, when did you start road trips with the kids and what other tips/tricks have you used to keep the kids entertained?
#1: Why? They'll have fun, you'll have fun ---getting there is just the chore you have to do before you have the fun (and wash the sand out of everywhere).

#2: We started taking planned trips (3-4hrs to see family) as soon as the kids/wife was ready after birth....all my personal experience, but babies to about 1yo are super easy. You can plan to start the trip right after a meal or right before a naptime - and the car helps them sleep. Stop as needed to feed/etc. 1yo-2yo cna be rough in the car, because they cant see much - but sometimes my wife would sit back there to play/whatever thru the fussy time.
Once they are old enough to face in the right direction, everything gets a lot better. They can talk to you, see everything going by, etc. If one kid can see the other (one facing front, the younger one facing back) - they will entertain themselves. Our girls are 4 and 6 and will do coloring books, play games, they can do car bingo/traditional type license plate games, etc. We have the build in DVD thing, but to be honest we rarely use it - one of the girls gets carsick if it is on, so generally we just talk to them about what is outside, cars, places.

Don't be too worried about it, or worried about how long it takes to get anywhere.:laugh::thumbup:
 

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Our son was adopted and we were living in New Mexico while he was born in California. So at 10 days old his first trip was home to NM. My parents live in Arizona so we traveled a lot there and to visit in-laws in California. Our first big road trip, he was 2 1/2 and it was just the two of us, mommy and son. We drove from to MD then to CT and then from CT to NM.

He did great for the whole ride. He has snacks, touch games (sensory) and board puzzles. I also had movies on the iPad for him. We do a lot of pointing out things on the side of the road and counting.

We've always left real early in the morning and it's worked for us. He also had his blanket and a small next pillow for when he was ready to nap. No matter what the season was we always had some type of croc/slip on so he just had socks on in the car and could get comfy.


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Our first long one was from CO to IL and we rented a minivan and stayed in a hotel half way. The kids were 2 and 5 and did great. We took another to AZ last year and it was harder because their patience is getting shorter to sit in the car. This year we will drive again to IL and it will probably be our last one. Flying is expensive, but sometimes worth the lack of aggravation.
 

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My wife and I are taking our 7 month old on a 13 hr. (broken into 2 days) trip in a 2 weeks. We are planning on bringing some toys and having my wife hang out in the backseat with him if need be. We also plan on having our pit stops last 45 minutes - 1 hour.

My wife is a product of a military family that only traveled for need. She is used to the hustle of getting from point A to point B. I grew up with the drive being a part of the vacation. This will be our biggest trip to date and I am very optimistic that it will change my wife's perspective.
 

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As others said, under 1 year is pretty easy, if they can feed themselves (no need for breastfeeding stops). Time the trips around the nap schedule. between 1-3 can be tricky, as their personalities can be unreasonable at times.

Our kids are 4 and 8, and we go on trips all the time. I can't put movies on, as my daughter gets motion sick. We play all sorts of games.
- A checklist of license plates is fun. My daughter was working on spelling/printing, and that occupied her for a long time. Print off an outline image of US/Canada, so they can colour it, as they see more plates.
- I give them a series of detailed map pages, so they can track the trip, and ask about what they see
- Time your fuel trips, if you can, to stop close to a city/town park. Pack food. It saves time/$ and lets the kids run around while mom and dad get a break.
- My wife got them tube-shaped pillows with a velcro loop: attached to the seatbelt, it lets them rest.
- We also had lap trays for books/paper/pencils

Here's our Dodge, packed to the max, for a weeklong adventure...camping, visits, Ottawa...a busy week!



 

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We took a trip down the 101 when our son was three. That was in his pre-IPad days. We brought a bunch of home made sensory games. One of his favorite was a Greek yogurt tub full of those little "poofy" things that you glue googly eyes onto. The lid had a fat X cut out of it for him to pull the poofies out. As he chucked them into the cockpit from in back, I couldn't help but think about how that would never fly in my Dad's station wagon.

We purchased a bunch of crap from the dollar bins at target and wrapped them in festive paper. We'd give him a new random thing from China every hour or so. Our son never has slept in the car. We also got a box set of "mighty machines" dvd's which kept him occupied.
 

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we took a round trip a couple years back from Seattle to MN with one boy just after age 1. wasnt too bad, but he did get a bit fussy here and there. this was 3 adults and 1 kid in a 2004 passat tdi wagon. packed and 'cozy'

we are just about to embark on another trip from Seattle to MN, but the route will be more scenic.
Saturday we head out for both yellowstone and rushmore, with a bunch of other little stops on the way, we wont be hitting st cloud, mn until friday.

the boys are 21mo and just over 4. hopefully the extra recreation stops and shorter drive days offset the overall longer trip to keep everyones frustration down.
this trip will be 3 adults and 2 kids, but this time in the 2005 Sienna... so we will have MUCH more room, but also with the outdoor recreation stops we have planned we will also need a few more supplies/equipment we didnt need on the first trip.

to help the driving time go by we will have toys. books. cards. small kids learning electronics. music. and my android tablet as a game/puzzle machine and movie player.
 
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