A Very Looong..... Road Trip!!

Updated on August 14, 2010
E.O. asks from Yorkville, IL
11 answers

i need help taking this road trip with 3 very active kids.8,5,2 and 1/2!!!!
i know its a bit late cos we r leaving on Monday!
please give me some fresh,fresh ideas......packing-luggage,food,activities,hotel stay management and all.
Thanks dears i really trust you all out there and i know you can help!
Please itemize points and advice if possible.
just an idea...looks like this........chicago-pennslyvannia-virginia-new york-(one more destination -undecided)-chicago!
oh yes !i know don't.......!!
it could change but if we decide then...?
thank you all.

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So What Happened?

Thank you all...i told you ...you are wonderful!
dvd player ^
bunch of snacks ^
backpacks ^
lots and lots of toys and traveling cards ^
Nintendo ...a must have...^
barbie dolls ^
ice chest filled and to be refilled ^
handy footwear^
rubber bags
nite light
A ball
kids rhymes /songs on cd's
( to be updated)....thanks let it keep coming!love ya!

btw: ^ means ...tick/got it.

More Answers



answers from Chicago on

I see you have lots of activities.........I try to take a bottle of bubbles, just a small one and blow bubbles in the grass at rest areas just a few minutes to let them chase the bubbles and work off a bit of steam. I go far away from the car traffic, over towards picnic tables are.

I pack an outfit a day per kid, a sweatshirt, and for your youngest I say a few spares. My older kids get one spare.

I also take a cup with straw and lid (even for my 11 yr. old) so if we get a large drink they are not passing it to one another but I can give them each their own drink that has a lid.

Lots of plastic trash bags, a roll of paper towels or lots of napkins. And hand wipes/baby wipes should be close by in the car.

Hotels....a nite light, if your room has a microwave pack a bag of microwave popcorn for a snack. Don't forget swimsuits, floaties, etc for the hotel pool.

I cut up some fruit and had it in plastic Cool Whip containers, etc. So we ate and tossed the sticky container at our next stop while driving. We took a few Go-Gurts in the cooler, I made sure they ate them while we still had a good supply of ice in the cooler and they were still cold. For my lil guy I have a container with sections. I made him a 1/2 sandwich, some cut up grapes and Goldfish so I could just give him that easily. I have a little tray I got at BabiesRUs he can hold on his lap to eat on, play or color.

If you are near Hershey, PA stop and do the tour of the Hershey Factory, and get the kids a milkshake. You don't have to spend a lot of time there, but they will love it!

Have a great trip!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

We recently drove from VA to Nova Scotia , Canada and back again , the drive took 3 days each way. My kids are 7 , 4 1/2 and 2 , we have a DVD player for the car and made sure we had a good selection of movie's , they had leapsters , books and treats such as a cookie or a piece of candy. Then we made sure we did regular stops and 1 of the stops being at least an hour where the kids had somewhere to run around , we also had a ball for them to play with for when we did the long stop.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

Around the 4th of July I drove from Houston to Chicago and back with my 3 kids ages 8, 6, and 2 1/2. I was alone with the kids from Houston to Dallas and then had my Dad with me to Columbia, MO and then was alone again to Chicago.

Honestly, I had each child pack a small activity bag with paper, crayons, books, small toys, etc and I don't believe those bags were even opened on the trip at all. My kids watched videos on the DVD player the whole time. If you don't already have one for your car, I HIGHLY recommend it. It will be a lifesaver on the trip.

Pack snacks that they will be able to access and open themselves on the trip. You can't be trying to hand out goldfish while you're driving down the highway. Choose snacks that are unique and are special treats to keep their interest. For example, I don't usually buys chips in the individual serving bags but I did for the trip. My kids got excited about having their own bag of chips and having a variety of flavors to choose from. I know sounds simple, but it kept them happy for a while.

Try to find restaurants along the way with playlands so the kids can burn some energy and stretch out after being in the car for so long.

Have each child bring a pillow and a small blanket if you have the room. It will make napping in the car so much easier for them.

Don't be too rigid on your schedule. You'll need to stop whenever the kids (and you) need it. If you are locked into a schedule of "we have to make it to point X for our next stop at such and such a time" you'll drive yourself crazy. Just stop when you need to and don't worry, you'll get to your destination eventually :-).

Good luck,

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I just got back from traveling with my 4 yo and 22 mo kids from Texas to Florida recently. I took the trip solo since the hubby couldn't get off work. It was hectic and stressful at times but it really went better than I anticipated. Someone on this site suggested having surprises for the trip...I stocked up on little things at the dollar store. When boredom and whining started I would pull something new out of the bag. It may have only been played with for 10 minutes, but it was a good distraction every time. IT was money well spent. A mama on here also suggested bringing a ball...that came in really handy at rest stops to burn off some energy. The DVD player helped and so did the hand held game. I put the cooler next to me for easy access. And I had a cooler bag full of snacks. I could easily get to them and pass them out. The kids had a basket within reach with books, games, etc. they could get to. A pillow and blanket ar ea must! We tried eating one meal a day at a place with some sort of playground. And I made sure the hotel had a pool so we could swim. At the hotel I asked for a room on the bottom floor, so rambunctious kids weren't stomping on the floor. We had our luggage for the trip, but I packed an overnight bag for the hotel. That way I wasn't unloading everything in the car. I had a bag to carry all the electronics in with us (dvd player, leapster, Gps)...I parked under a light near my room for a little more security. And I noticed that the places we stayed had cribs available, and although I didn't take them up on it, I was glad not to have to lug around the pack and play.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

We just took a road trip to Wisconsin Dells. It was only a 3 hour drive for us, so not nearly as long as you. I went to the dollar store and bought a bunch of "cheap" toys and snacks and put them in bags for our kids. Then I let them open a new "surprise" every 10-15 minutes, so they didn't get everything at once. The kids loved the surprises and it made the car ride a lot more enjoyable. I also packed a cooler full of drinks and snacks for the adults. Good luck and have fun!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Bring cleaning supplies in case of road sickness. We had a road trip last summer from Chicago to Detroit and when our little one got sick periodically we didn't really have anything to clean up with. I remember reading to avoid greasy foods to help with the issue too but that can be hard to do on the road. Good luck and have fun!

Also, if you can do picnic meals at rest stops it might give the kids time to stretch their legs.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Wichita on

We have our boys (8.5 & 4.5) pack a back pack of small toys, books & their leapster L-Max. We also have a DVD player for our car that saves us. Since the baby is still rear facing bring lots of toys to switch out as he/she throws them. You could buy hanging carseat toys or a kick toy that attaches over the back of the seat. Some of them come with remotes so when baby gets fussy you press the remote & it plays music & has lights.

God bless!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Electronics. Lots of em. It's the one time I suggest putting them in a video game coma. Ipod. PSP. hand held video games. download movies onto your phone.
You can get a portable dvd player that straps to the seat in front of them. Take some movies they all like and some for each that they can watch with headphones.
You can rent books on cd at Cracker Barell restraunt all over America. They can be returned at any other Cracker Barell.
Limit fluids if you're trying to make good time. Bathroom trips are costly and time consuming.
Plan to stop every 4 hours at a rest stop or roadside park to let them "run it out" and use the restroom there instead of at convenience stores. Urge to buy junk is too high at the store.
There are games you can play - like licence plate bingo, 1spy, etc. There are whole websites dedicated to that.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

i hate a tv in the car, we just got a new odyssey and i opted for no tv. however, for a long trip, i am all for it, maybe you can get a little dvd player or use your laptop. we hung my hubbys ipad over a bungee cord strung between our headrests, worked like a charm. new toys. lots of munchies, but not too much salt and not too much fruit to limit bathroom breaks. cereal is great, though a mess in the car. those little finger lidded cup things help, i forget what they are called. melissa and doug have a line of toys that have no little parts and pieces, a kind of bingo and a couple of others.try an upscale toy store near you. regular bingo works too, just print some cards out. or buy zingo, the little kids can play too. target has a little section of little travel games and card games. for the little kids, i used a hole puncher and a deck of flash cards, strung them all on a ring, they like to look at them, cards with pics of animals especially. those lacing toys are great too, they travel really well. for the hotel, dont forget to bring a stepstool for the bathroom, a nightlight, any childproofing stuff you might want, and munchies and drinks for the hotel room fridge. pack a bunch of big and small ziplock bags, i use them for everything. in the hotel room, i put the bathmat inside the tub when the kids bathe, they tend to be so slippery. bring a little bottle of laundry detergent for sink washing. an extra pair of comfy shoes for each kid. little backpacks for the kids are nice, let them pack and keep their own stuff. when you are at each destination, get postcards and let the kids send them to themselves, gives them an activity and when they get home its a great treat. the rest stops all have free maps, maybe your oldest can track the trip with a highlighter and a little help from you. i love maps. kiddie cameras are great too, the kids love to take pics. have fun!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

looks like you have got some great ideas! We traveled from Texas to New York and back this summer with a 10,8,6,4 & 5 month old. I think the best advice would be to be flexible as to where you stop. I had it planned out for 11 hrs the first day(which was nice because we left in the middle of the night and got to where we wanted by mid-day!) and then two 6 hr days. We stopped at parks to let the kids get out and play, we found some amazing hiking trails that we also stopped at. With our big family, we had to get two connecting rooms, but most of the time it was cheaper to get a suite with two doubles and a fold out couch. (we found the Sleep Inns to have the cleanest rooms with the best prices- we were not impressed with some of the other hotels we stayed at- but the Sleep Inns were always clean and friendly)
We also had a ds and a couple portable dvd players that made the trip easier. We had the kids take turns in different seats and we were okay with stopping early one day because the baby didn't want to be in the car any longer- and driving the extra 2 hrs the next day.
BTW- if you are in New York- we were in Buffalo- the water front was a lot of fun and didn't cost anything(there are old navy ships to look at and a great view of Buffalo) Niagara Falls if you get a chance- was AWESOME! We just did the hike around the island(no boat tour or hiking tours for us)- we packed our lunch and ate there- it was amazing! We also headed out more east past Albany to Woodstock(brother-in-laws wedding- reason for the trip) The Catskill mountains are so amazing- tons of hiking to do out there.
sorry- this post is a little longer then I had planned!
Have a great trip!



answers from Chicago on

It sounds like you have lots of good advice already. We just took a long road trip not too long ago so I'm trying to think of things that were helpful for us. We always bring bottled water - hotel water doesn't always taste good & vending machines are sometimes out. We did a lot of walking on our trip & ended up needing to buy bandaids for blisters. Make sure you have sunblock & aloe in case of sunburn. Any water toys, goggles, etc. that you may need if swimming. Medicine, especially for the kids in case someone gets a fever, etc. in the middle of the night. Umbrellas, rain ponchos or extra shoes (we got caught in a bad rainstorm once, shoes were soaked & I had to wear pink flip flops to a nice restaurant dinner). Plastic bags in case someone has an accident. I've heard that bringing a cookie sheet for each child is helpful in the car - gives them a tray to hold crayons, etc., they have something to press on and if you have anything magnetic to play with (letters, etc.) they will stick. The Today show did a segment recently on road trips with children so maybe check their website. Have a fun & safe trip!!

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