Travel days with kids is no easy task! Difficult and stressful, these are almost always the days where I question if we should be living in an RV full-time.
Here is what our travel days look like:
- Get all the car seats out of the car and into our motorhome. This usually means bringing lots of crumbs into the motorhome from their car seats because we forget to clean them out every time.
- Put all the toys away. Yes, we normally clean up the night before. But in the 10 minutes the kids are up before us they manage to get half of the toys back off the shelves.
- Vacuum the motorhome. We don’t want anything going into the slide so this is important, and we almost always find a Lego or toy under the slide.
- Secure items that could go flying. Way too many times while driving down the road there’s a big crash. Crap, what did we forget to secure?
- Clear off the counter. Same as No. 4. Way too many times we end up with a big mess to clean up, and that includes anything from water jugs to dog food.
- Pull the slides in. I hold my breath every time hoping the slides work, and that I remembered to get everything out of the way.
- Unhook the hoses. That’s hubby’s job and I don’t care to know the details.
- Make sure all awnings, antennas and other outside pieces are secure.
- Start the motorhome. Come on, baby, you can do it!
- Pull out, and we are finally on the road.
Now the real fun begins. How do you keep kids occupied while driving down the road?
In the beginning, I used to go to the grocery store and the dollar store before a big trip. I would stock up on fun new toys, coloring books, candy, etc. When you travel full-time, this gets way too expensive! Now, before we take a trip that is more then five hours, I just make sure I have the necessities. For trips under five hours, the kids are used to it and can pretty much handle it.
These items are what we have found are the necessities for road travel with children:
DVDs — Preferably, a new one no one has seen. These serve two purposes. First, they keep the kids occupied for long stretches. Second, it helps us tell the kids how long we will be traveling (i.e. 2 more movies to go).
Candy — My favorite is lollipops. The BIGGER the better! These take the kids a long time to eat and keeps them content.
Snacks/Food — Make sure to have easy-to-make and easy-to-eat snacks on hand. Chips, crackers, fruit are wonderful examples. And if the kids have a favorite food, make sure to pack that, too. We always try to eat our meals while driving. This usually gives us about 30 minutes of everyone being happy.
Surprise treat — This is the treat I keep hidden until the kids really need it. Usually, ice cream bar or favorite candy.
Tablets — The kids each have their own tablets. If you can swing it, do it! This gives them the freedom to play games and watch their own movie. It’s also great for those days when they can’t seem to agree on the same movie to watch. If you don’t have Internet on the road, remember to download all movies onto their tablets. Our kids each have a Samsung Nexus 10, and they have been worth every penny. Yes, you can get the smaller size more cheaply, or you can get a Kindle Fire or something like that. But, the nicer ones really do have more features, storage, etc.
We have not regretted the tablet purchases one bit. It is also a good thing to talk to grandma and grandpa around birthdays or Christmas. If everyone pitches in, nicer tablets becomes a lot more affordable. We were able to find ours for under $400 each on eBay.
Okay, so sounds like we are all good to go. We get everyone buckled in, put a movie on, they all have their tablets and water. But, as soon as I go to sit down up front, I can count on hearing a chorus of “Mommy, my water fell!”, “Mommy, press play!”, “Mommy, I’m hungry!”, “Mommy, I need a napkin!”, “Mommy, I have to go potty!”, “Mommy, are we there yet?”
No, we aren’t! We haven’t even left the campground.
In all seriousness, you have to approach travel days with the best intentions and hope all will go well. Then assume something will go wrong. When it does, just figure it out, move on, and enjoy the ride.