Car Trip Ideas

Updated on May 11, 2010
D.C. asks from Rockwall, TX
7 answers

Hey all you creative Momma's. Hit me with your best ideas/tips/suggestions on surviving a 10 hour car trip with my VERY ACTIVE 17 month old!! Thanks.

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So What Happened?

Thanks for the GREAT tips! We borrowed a DVD player from my MIL and it worked out really well. We left late in the afternoon so that we drove the first 5-6 hours during the day and the rest was during his regular sleeping hours. He slept the last half of the trip and we climbed straight into bed when we got there without any problems.

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answers from Dallas on

Gretchen wrote this last year about how she travels with kids:

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Indianapolis on

We just did it at Christmas twice with 2 kids (3.5 and 20 months). First from Indianapolis to Cleveland and back (300 miles each way) and then from Indy to DC and back (600 miles each way)

My best advice is to keep the car stocked with snacks and their favorite toys.

If you don't have a DVD player, get one. I know some people on here are very anti-DVD, but it really helps make some stretches go much more smoothly.

Don't be afraid to stop frequently to let them stretch their legs.
We'd try to stop every 2-3 hours (depending on if they were sleeping or not), and because it was the winter, we'd try to find a WalMart, Target, etc. where they could run around and expend some energy.

In all, we drove over 2200 miles in a week and spent many, many hours on the road. The kids were a trooper, but you have to prepare for making the trip longer than if you didn't have them there in order to keep your sanity.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I couldn't agree more with the advice already given here. My family lives in Texas, my husband's family lives in Iowa and we live in Chicago so we are always in the car or on a plane around the Holidays.

I wrote a guide on Traveling with the Family Made Easy which has some ideas on how to plan the trip, what to pack, and how to create a "Boredom Bag" for kids of all ages. You can download the free Guide from my blog site -

I also found some fun websites that help you plan those breaks with areas of interest which you can find here -

I hope some of these ideas help. Happy Travels.

S. Kirchner - Tips & Ideas for More Family Fun!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

My daughter is 16 months and I agree 100% with the dvd player idea. I bought one for $99 and played some baby einsteins. It made our 6 hour trip a lot easier! My daughter absolutely hates her car seat!

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answers from Dallas on

Can you drive at night? Will he sleep in the car? If not, plan to make regular stops to let him run around and get some exercise. Sit in the back with him so you can read books to him, hand him toys and snacks. Make sure you have a bunch of new things that he has never seen before. These don't have to be expensive, but can just be dollar store stuff. I even would take kitchen items or other gadgets for my sons to play with - a timer, an egg beater, etc. I would put cheerios on a string and they enjoyed eating them off the string and I didn't have to worry about them spilling everywhere. My brother and I got car sick when we were young so I was concerned about my kids. The pediatrician said to give them benadryl for car sickness. The benefit was it knocked them out for a few hours!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Davenport on

We do this up to 4 times a year, at first with just one child, and now, with two, starting back up when the younger was 6 months old (there is just over a 2 year difference in the kids). We go from central, IL to Nashville, TN and to Salem WV, to see my Husband's family on his Dad's side.

We usually pack a few "new" toys or ones that have been put away for a month or more, so they seem new, lots of books - we get new ones form the library before we leave, so they are all "new" too. Pack a cooler with lots of snacks and drinks to have with you at all times. We also have a travel aqua doodle travel size and magna doodle or for each child, and crayons and paper - ( keep the crayons in the cooler or in your purse so they aren't sitting in the sun melting in the car). We also recently invested in the Kid Tough DVD player by fisher price - I got mine on half price sale at Wal-mart: and we got the headphones...we don't let them watch this everyday in the car, only on the really long trips.

Also, make sure to stop to eat and stretch your legs about every 2 hours, at parks or rest areas or McDonalds with a play land, to use us some of the excess energy he will have. YES, it will make the trip a little longer, but it will SEEM longer if he is upset and screaming al the way if you don't stop often. If you put in zip codes of areas you will be passing through, here , it will tell you if the Mcdonalds has a play land or not.

Now if you want to, or can do it, leave at bedtime, and hope he sleeps all night long....I am not a good night driver, so this doesn't work in our family. And my kids are not very sound sleepers in the car, so it would probably backfire on us and mess up their sleep for the whole vacation.

Instead, we try to find interesting stops along the way, and make the drive part of the vacation, not just the destination.

Good Luck, it is always a learning experience, but good to start early, my kids are both very good car riders since we started these long trips when they were only a few months old.


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answers from Dallas on

do most of the driving overnight if you can. They will sleep and you will have peace. I do this anytime I travel, even with my almost 5 yo

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