Road Trip Tip


Last week we spent a week in on the Jersey Shore with all my in-laws and their families. For logistical reasons, I drove Biggie and JB by myself, a three-plus-hour trip one-way, not counting stops or traffic. Fourth of July weekend.

The trick, I’ve found, to dealing with kids on long trips is to have regular intervals of small appeasements. I generally try to plan some small thing to give or proffer every half an hour. It doesn’t have to be a major thing or even necessarily an accepted thing, just some sort of option, novelty, or sustenance that will give them something to focus their attention on. Kids, I’ve found, generally respond well to authoritative (but empathetic) preparation.

Here’s how the trip up roughly looked:

10:30 (ish)
I started with some picture books for JB, and for Biggie he had Deathly Hallows, which he was in the middle of reading, as well as clipboard of a road trip scavenger game. He dismissed the game out of hand.
I also have my smartphone loaded up with tunes for the trip.

A big Richard Scarry book for JB. A Pokemon search-and-find book for Biggie. Plus a little baggie of two mints.

A planned lunch at Sonic Drive-In. Sonic’s generally has some good toys inside it’s kids’ meals, and I can load up on a Route 55 slushy drink for the road. Also, bathroom purges.

By this time, I was hoping that JB would fall asleep for her nap, and she complies, right on schedule. Ginger snap cookies for Biggie.

Some thin paperback non-fiction light reading for Biggie (he’s like the kid in Jerry Maguire). Picture flash cards for JB, had she been awake.

We’re in the heart of New Jersey now, with New Jersey gas prices, so it’s a perfect time to top the tank and take bathroom breaks at Wawa.

A Klutz book for Biggie; I want him to work on knots for a future camping trip. A big tin box of magnets for JB.

Destination reached. Backup options I had: Calvin & Hobbes, field guides on seashells, Madlibs, more baggie portions of various snacks.


2 thoughts on “Road Trip Tip

  1. brightskymom

    Thanks for the trip schedule ideas — we have a looooong trip in front of us, and I haven’t done any planning yet. 0_o


  2. Glad to be of service. We recently bought a bigger car, and we had to fight the temptation to get the rear passenger DVD screens installed — but that essentially meant making lots of pit stops on these trips or doing some thinking ahead. I’ve never tried a road trip longer than, say, 4 or 5 hours with the kids, though.


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