Children and Travel: Staying Sane on Long Car Trips! #Sanewich

Summer vacation time has arrived!  And you know what that means, it’s time to hit the road for fun in the sun!  If you are like most family, your summer will involve at least one long car trip to get to your vacation destination.  Thanks to Kraft for sponsoring this conversation about how to keep your sanity intact on long car trips with children.  As always, all thoughts, opinions and on-the-road experiences are that of Rural Mom.

Children and Travel: Staying Sane on Long Car Trips! #Sanewich

I remember the first long road trip I took with my daughter.  Not only was I not prepared to deal with potential vacation hazards (like nearly running out of gas before I found a gas station) but I also didn’t have a grip on how to keep a toddler entertained for a 7 hour stretch!  Many years, several children and one grand child later, I’m now a seasoned pro when it comes to managing long car trips with kids and keeping my sanity intact in the process.  Wish I would have had all that knowledge and foresight available, though, on my first trip!

Was there ever a time where you wish you had a way to predict the future so you could prepare better for road trips or even just for the every day mishaps and missteps? It’s same desire in mind, that Oscar Mayer (jokingly) created tarot cards to give moms a “peek” into their future to help them prepare for the chaos ahead as part of their new Deli Fresh Sanewich campaign.  My Sanwich tarot card is “The Long Drive.” In situations like these, it’s awesome to know that Oscar Mayer Deli Fresh can keep it simple and provide deli quality lunch meats anytime!

Children and Travel: Staying Sane on Long Car Trips! #Sanewich #sponsoredHow do you stay sane during a long drive?

Experience has taught me it’s all about research, planning and including clever extras!

Research – Before you hit the road take the time to map out your destination and take a good look at the routes along the way.  Be sure to estimate your mileage and plan accordingly for refueling, refreshment stops and any sight-seeing you may wish to do.  Back in the day, I had no idea that I’d encounter long stretches of road between gas stations in some areas of the country roads I was traveling.  Now, it’s easy to locate stops ahead of time with GPS and various travel apps.  Be sure to schedule a few mini stops for your kids to get out and stretch a bit or see a landmark or two.  This will break up the trip a bit and keep them from getting too restless from having to sit too long.

Planning – Make checklists and think about all the obvious things you’ll need like clothing, sunscreen and beach towels and the not-so-obvious or unexpected like umbrellas, first aid kits and road flares.  The more time you take to thoroughly plan out pack all your essentials, the smoother your entire trip will be and the better for your pocket book it will be.  Having to purchase items like sunscreen or socks in a tourist spot can cost triple what it does normally, not to miss mentioning that you’ll have to take time out of your vacation to hunt them down to purchase.

Children and Travel: Staying Sane on Long Car Trips! #Sanewich

Extras:  Two of the most important extras to pack when you plan to take a long car trips with your children are snacks and activity kits.

Pack your own snacks, sandwiches and drinks in a cooler to keep in the car for easy access.  Having a meal or quick snack available will keep you from having to make an unnecessary (and often expensive) road side stop for food.  It also puts you in control what you’re eating with the fresh ingredients of your choice and you can pack extra-extra special treats for mom like the Sweet & Spicy Ham Pretzel Roll featured on my “The Long Drive” tarot card.  I deviated slightly from the recipe, mainly by leaving out the onions as I prefer it without, but any way you slice it, it’s one delicious sandwich to enjoy when traveling! Far better than any road-side stop!

Children and Travel: Staying Sane on Long Car Trips! #Sanewich

Activity kits filled with games, books, toys and other fun items will help kids adjust to car travel better and keep them occupied throughout the ride.  Pick a few of their favorites and toss in a couple new surprises, too like coloring or puzzle books.  If you have a portable DVD player or are lucky enough to have one in the car, consider picking up a few new cartoons or movies that will keep their attention and make the miles fly by quicker.  Of course, standard “old school” travel games like car bingo or simply singing various songs together can be great fun, too.  The point is to make the car ride seem like part of the vacation and not just a monotonous journey for your children to endure.

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Road trip travel doesn’t have to be complicated, you can keep things simple with just a little pre-research and prep!  For more Sanewich inspiration, visit Sanewich.com

Do you have tips and tricks to share that help you keep your sanity on long road trips with your kids?  We’d love to hear them! 

Tags: teens, travel
by
Barb Webb. Founder and Editor of Rural Mom, is an author and sustainable living expert nesting in Appalachian Kentucky. When she’s not chasing chickens around the farm or engaging in mock Jedi battles, she’s writing about country living and artisan culture.
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Comments

    • Iveth
    • June 12, 2015
    Reply

    I knew I was not over packing … lol… My husband always say that I over do it when it comes to road trip packing.. I like to take food, drinks and lots of games for the kids… I love the post.. Thanks for sharing #4Dlove2Linky

    • Michele
    • June 16, 2015
    Reply

    I took a couple of road trips with friends and their kids—I was the driver. It was kind of insane but we managed to keep everyone happy. Yes, we did bring snacks but still ended up stopping at every rest stop there was.

      • Barb Webb
      • June 16, 2015
      Reply

      LOL I totally understand! It’s part of the adventure to stop, isn’t it? Sounds like you all had a great time!

    • Tiara
    • June 16, 2015
    Reply

    Thank you for sharing this!
    We’re taking our first family trip in a few weeks and this was definitely worth the read!

      • Barb Webb
      • June 16, 2015
      Reply

      Thanks for the awesome feedback Tiara! Hope you have a wonderful fun-filled trip!

    • What's On The List (@mickeydownunder)
    • June 16, 2015
    Reply

    I used to love taking long family drives when I was little and my dad used to set the inside lights off in the car which I was fascinated with! Make up stories about things he saw on the road and I missed lol

      • Barb Webb
      • June 16, 2015
      Reply

      What lovely memories! I like the idea of making up stories along the road, too, awesome tip!

    • kandice
    • June 16, 2015
    Reply

    thank you for sharing! we take trips up to the catskills.. it was filled with potty stops and “are we there yet” .. I brought the portable DVD player and disney movies into the car and its made a world of difference

    • growingupmomma
    • June 16, 2015
    Reply

    This post couldn’t have come at a better time. We are taking our daughter and 3 nieces and nephew up to Great Escapes in two weeks and could use all the tips we can get. We take them on a trip every year, and the drive there and back can always get a bit hairy lol!

      • Barb Webb
      • June 16, 2015
      Reply

      Glad that you found the tips useful and timely! Sounds like an awesome trip, enjoy!

    • mykidsguide
    • June 16, 2015
    Reply

    These are great tips. I usually bring toys and activity kits that they can do while traveling. I also bring lots of food.

    • Angelic Sinova
    • June 16, 2015
    Reply

    I don’t have kids but I do go on road trips with my friends (and family!) What really helps us is having fun tunes to listen to during the drive and lots of snacks <3

    • YellowTennessee
    • June 16, 2015
    Reply

    Great tips. We have a couple road trips planned this summer and I always pack a lunch. Getting out to eat and let the kids run around is needed to keep everyone sane.

    • Brittnei Washington
    • June 16, 2015
    Reply

    These were great tips! Now that we have two kids I know I”m going to need to start doing this when we start taking trips. I loved the part about the tarot card. Too funny!

    • Valerie@Occasionally Crafty
    • June 16, 2015
    Reply

    Snacks are definitely key for us! Even though my kids are a bit older, it’s so worth it to let them eat as desired (within reason of course) rather than hear whining about being hungry every 20 minutes!

    • Tyra
    • June 16, 2015
    Reply

    That sandwich looks delicious and I love that you call it a sanewich. Good luck in the long road trips with the kids.

    • Franc Ramon
    • June 16, 2015
    Reply

    It’s important to check the route and plan the stops especially when kids are around. It’s best to bring some food and games especially if it would be a long trip.

    • Jacob Fu
    • June 17, 2015
    Reply

    It always impresses me how parents travel long distances with kids. I remember when my parents did with us we definitely didn’t make it easy 😛

    • Stephanie
    • June 17, 2015
    Reply

    My daughter goes to the eye doctor 3 hours away every 6 months, and that’s about as much road tripping as we do. We pack a huge bag full of toys, games, and snacks, and like someone else mentioned, stop at just about every rest stop along the way!

    • Stephanie Pass
    • June 17, 2015
    Reply

    I’d say snacks are the key to less whiny kids. I tend to make them each a snack box, which they love. They love digging through it to find something they love.

    • Jeska
    • June 17, 2015
    Reply

    Hahaha, love the hashtag #sanewich! Its so clever! Those sandwiches do look good too.

    • CourtneyLynne
    • June 18, 2015
    Reply

    Such great advice! I travel with my toddler all the time and I’m always telling people it’s not that bad if you have enough snacks and entertainment!

    • Mommy Peach
    • June 19, 2015
    Reply

    It’s really hard to keep your sanity intact when you have kids on long trips but it’s also one of the things that makes the trip worthwhile!

    • XmasDolly
    • June 21, 2015
    Reply

    Mmmmm That sandwich looks so good. It’s one of my favorites especially with the honey mustard. mmmmmm I remember when I would drive with my kids I’d yell, “Don’t make me pull over this car and come back there cuz I will you know. You know I will! Threats. Threats. Threats, but you have to actually do it once in a while and they’re perfect angels for a while. and it starts all over again. Ahhhh such is life. hahahaha

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