Tricks for Traveling by Car

by Jessica on June 3, 2011

For some, the thought of a family car trip is enough to cue the ‘something scary is about to happen’ soundtrack.  If you read my traveler’s meltdown yesterday, you know that I have been thinking some pretty scary thoughts about our upcoming road trip.  Normally, though, I look forward to long car trips as a opportunity for family fun and togetherness that the busyness of home does not afford.    To turn up the fun, I have a few new tricks up my sleeve to turn our road trip time into great family time.

This Eddie Bauer Travel Tray may well be the greatest invention in baby car trips.  Obviously, it is great for eating and playing in the car, but it is also extremely versatile.  It makes a nice, clean place for baby to eat in restaurants.  It is also a great makeshift table if you stop at a picnic area and don’t have a highchair.  My bigger kids have one of their own, which they use for building Lego creations that can transport easily from car to hotel.  The best feature is the seatbelt clips that allow you to anchor the tray to the baby’s car seat.  This is very important if you have a baby who could win an Olympic medal in flinging things across the car.

The internet is full of printable car trip games to take on the road.  For this trip, we will be playing Flags of the World Bingo. Shhh, don’t tell them they’ll be learning.  I have been collecting fun clearance items to offer as prizes to the winners of each game.  For prizes, I have chosen other games and toys that make great car fun, effectively doubling the game playing time.  Once the new wears off of the game, we’ll play another round of bingo and whip out another new game, as the trip hours melt away.  Sneaky, huh?

One of the biggest time and money grabbers on long road trips is fast food stops.   The kids are always clambering for a stop at McDonalds, where they swear they just love the food, but the real draw is the brightly colored box and cheap toy.  Enter Mom Meals.  I purchased messenger bags at the dollar store and customized them for each child with their name and interests.  Inside, I will pack a great sack lunch that includes a super fun toy.  This gives us much more in terms of nutrition and variety and is easy on the budget which is a win for mom.   Not having to maneuver the giant camper through a drive thru line makes the Mister happy.  Usually, we will find a nice rest stop and enjoy our meal and then hop back in the car with full bellies to play with our new toys.  Talk about a happy meal.

Warning: If bribery in parenting offends you, please turn away now.   At home, we like to keep it pretty simple when it comes to discipline.  On the road, it’s fun to shake it up a little bit.  For this trip, each child has a money jar with ten dollars in ones and ten quarters.  During the trip, fines will be assessed for whining, complaining, fighting, and generally annoying the parents.   Dollars and cents will be added when extra good behavior is exhibited.  This trick works like a charm on my little capitalists.  These kids will do anything for a buck, including be nice to their brother.   All the money they earn can be used for souvenirs once we arrive.

Happy Travels.

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Mrs H June 3, 2011 at 5:55 pm

lol i think the money jar is brilliant! that’s what i would have gone for as a kid!

Grandma Bonnie June 3, 2011 at 6:59 pm

Thank you for following. I am following back.

Kim June 3, 2011 at 9:56 pm

Thanks for following at A Creative Spirit. Following back and looking forward to getting to know you….. and sharing bloggy tips of the trade…

~ Mona June 3, 2011 at 10:53 pm

Thanks for stopping by my blog, leaving a comment and becoming a new follower.
I’m now following your blog.
Btw, really love the tips.

~ Mona : )

Janice June 4, 2011 at 12:06 am

We do similar things on trips. I had a similar post a couple of months ago. I just love road trips!

Thanks for the follow btw.

Celebrating Family

Clairity June 5, 2011 at 1:45 am

I’m impressed – 4 kids and a dog on a 12-hour drive! Good trick, McD’s is gonna thank you for not stopping LOL. Hope you have a safe trip and a wonderful vacation.

So happy you were reading my blog on your drive, sure made my day :)

Thanks for the follow, following you back now.

walkingontravels June 6, 2011 at 10:09 am

Love the lunch sack idea. How cool! I’m tucking that idea in my pocket for when D get’s a little older. And I am finding I’m not above bribing. Now if only he would take the bribe! Maybe next year he will be into money. I can’t believe you are blogging as you go. My brain would be fried at the end of a day of travel, but I sure do love reading all about it!

Cindy June 13, 2011 at 10:58 am

Agreed- BRILLIANT money jars! I can’t wait to make some! Thanks for stopping by, I so look forward to more great tips!

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