Inspiration

Casual Friday: Give me all your road trip tips, our exterior reno in 5 minutes, my fav jeans, the perfect summer dessert and more!

June 4, 2021  —  Written by Julia Marcum 

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We’re preparing for the cross country trip of our lifetime in 2 weeks where we move from Idaho to Raleigh. Not only am I trying to plan a 5 day road trip with 3 kids that’s actually fun and memorable, but I’m also especially sensitive to the fact with each passing hour, we are getting farther away from their lives and our former home as they (and we) know it. So I guess I just want it to be especially fun? I know meltdowns are inevitable, and I can’t plan every minute of the 35 hours we’ll be in the car, but I’d love to hear your road trip with kids tips!

We don’t have a DVD player in the car, but I’m open to getting a portable one. All the girls have iPads that they can use, but I also don’t want it to be Roblox central for 9 hours a day (and they all tend to get car sick after 30 minutes on them! Eek!)

One mom told me to not hand out a treat every hour, but just give them their bag of treats at the beginning and I loved that idea. But I’m also not-so-secretly wondering if my kids will eat ALL of their treats in the first 30 minutes and then what! Another mom told me that she brings a kids potty chair on long road trips for little ones and I’m definitely not above that! The only thing I have purchased so far was this fidget toy set that they already found and traded most of the parts at school. (Apparently these are the pokemon cards of today? haha).

Bottom line, I’m all ears. We have been using roadtrippers.com to plan some fun stops along the way–but it’s all the time IN the car that I’m sweating about!

 

More fun things this week!

Last week, we shared our exterior reveal (with the cost) right here, but this video that our team pulled together this week, really shows the extent of just HOW LONG the process was. (Totally teared up watching it transform in 5 minutes).

 

This is a little random, but this apple slicer is the absolute best! Thinner apple slices, mixed with the blade cover that we close to complete the slice fully during use–well, it’s all enough for me to talk about an apple slicer on my website.

My favorite coffee table wicker tray is finally back in stock!!

We duped everyone with this daily dupe!

My new favorite jeans I can’t stop wearing.

This living room took my breath away

Having a few friends over this weekend and this dessert is on the menu!

Weekend Sales

Abercrombie: Up to 40% off select styles! (perfect workout tank)

Ann Taylor: 40% off select styles with code COMPLIMENTS (these are so fun)

Anthropologie: Extra 25% off sale items! (need to find a place for this!)

J.Crew: 30% off kids’ styles with code SHOPNOW (I couldn’t NOT get this for the girls!!)

Nordstrom: Half-Yearly Sale now through 6/6! (saved my picks here and here)

Overstock: Memorial Day Blowout last chance! (cutest adirondack chairs)

Target: Patio Deals! (love this)

Williams Sonoma: Cutlery Deals! (the prettiest knife block)

 

What do you think?

  1. Amy says:

    BEST TIP I’ve ever received.
    Give each child a roll of quarters. The quarters are theirs to keep. Anytime a disagreement occurs you can just calmly turn around and ask for a quarter. Whatever they have left over after the trip is theirs to keep.

  2. Sara says:

    So many good tips in here already. Both of my sons get carsick and dramamine is crucial. It also helps them sleep in the car too. We’ve done many 12-15 hour road trips with them from Pennsylvania to the south. Each stage of life is different for what works.

    A favorite activity currently (6 and 3) is picking out a Redbox movie to play on the DVD player. They love the independence of having sole authority of the movie and picking out a special snack to eat with it.

    We plan a mid-day break/attraction to split the drive up, maybe a national park or a playground. We tend to let them eat in the car so they can get their energy out vs. siting in a restaurant. After dinner, we get into pjs and drive a few hours. This only works if your kids transfer well while asleep. A hotel with a pool is a big hit if you stop early.

    I’ve done trips with tons of toys and they’ve played with a fraction of it. So, I now give them agency of picking what they want and that helps. We like the Melissa and Doug reusable sticker books a lot, Wikistix and my kids like audiobooks they can follow along with it. (One trip if I heard the Hungry, hungry caterpillar again I thought I’d drive off the road =)

    Good luck. Your girls are at an age this could be super fun!

  3. Joy says:

    iPad mounts for the back of the car headrests are the best for car sick kids. Looking up at the screen and not down makes a world of difference. Just download movies/shows, what they each individually like, and a set of headphones for each makes for a nice quiet ride at times.
    We also like to get on the road early so the kids can sleep for a few of the driving hours so the time goes faster. Lastly pick hotels w pools to end your day. Nothing tires kids out more than swimming.

  4. Leigh says:

    When my family went on road trips, my parents would start driving around 3:30 AM – my brother and I would get into the car in our PJ’s and go back to sleep! I think they enjoyed the quiet car for a few hours. Then we’d stop around 7:30, get dressed, and have breakfast somewhere. Also- we ALWAYS stopped at hotels with pools. Zero exceptions. One parent would take us to the pool to get out our end of the day energy while the other napped, and then the next day they’d switch. Good luck on your move!

  5. Diane says:

    Good morning!
    I don’t usually email people with suggestions, but I feel your pain with the road trip-car sick situation! My daughter gets car sick. Boat sick, elevator sick, train sick, you name it sick!!
    We bought her the relief band. It is awesome! You just charge it, put a little gel on the wrist and wear it like a watch. She has been able to do road trips, boat trips, she even says elevators aren’t so bad now! I hope that helps.
    As far as activities go, we always pack a big surprise bag full of little activities and treats, then we make a silly travel map. We get a big piece of paper and start with our house at the top, I draw while the kids tell me what’s next, like, “then we’ll drive through big mountains in Colorado!” Silly big mountains go on the map, etc. I put in as many things as I can think of, filling it up from corner to corner. We then refer to the map at every stage of the trip and use it as a guide for when to pull out a new activity! Even a little short story read out loud by someone’s favorite stuffed animal becomes super fun if you do silly voices. You can have fashion shows with little things like Polly Pocket dolls, or do a dog show with their stuffies, bring hair bows and kerchiefs for them! Bring a tiny tea set and have car-seat-high tea every day (maybe even pack little white gloves for the girls). Find new song lists, camp songs or fireside songs and learn them together, then have contests to see who can sing them in the silliest voice (maybe have a list of suggestions ready if no one can think of anything on the fly, like, sing it like Cookie Monster! Or sing it like a mouse!) It’s all about bringing joy to the situation and teaching your kids that they can make every adventure beautiful!
    Even if saying that way sounds cheesy:)
    Ok! I hope you guys have fun!!
    Best of luck to you and your family in your new home. Diane

  6. Bonnie Chernoff says:

    So traveling by car with kids is something I consider myself a bit of an expert on lol – we used to drive from CO to CA (and back; I don’t fly if I don’t have to and tbh it was cheaper for our family of 5) 2-3x a year after we moved from Los Angeles to Denver for about 6 years until I convinced my mom to move here. We would drive straight through for time, only potty/gas stops, stay at a hotel mid-way and throw the kids in the pool as soon as we got checked in (same hotel every time, indoor pool, I am nothing if not a creature of rigid habit ;p) At the beginning our kids were 8, 6, 18m and they are now 16, 14,10. The main thing is that there is no one true way lol cry.

    I’ve tried everything from “here is your day’s food at 7a, pace yourself” to “all the food in one bin to be doled out by the oldest at intervals” to “so McDonalds, we meet again.” (I’m sure you can sus out which the kids preferred lol) Each of these have their own merits and all worked and failed depending on the kids’ ages and moods on any given trip. Having said that a lunchbox with “healthy-ish” food (stuff you’d send to school) for them to snack on at will with a stash of Twinkies and Doritos and Snickers to be doled out judiciously tends to hit the right balance. :) Also some kind of lap tray will save your car from petrified goldfish/french fries. #trust

    I also always packed a backpack for each of them with a fresh sketch book, notebook, some coloring/activity books, twist up crayons (these things are a godsend), mechanical pencils, a reading book or two, and some little dollar spot toys (I still do this even with my 16yo) or saved up unopened kid meal toys. It’s the season so the dollar spot should have those car bingo games? Surprisingly entertaining. We had a DVD player in our minivan for the first few years and would start with a movie (pick one that doesn’t stress out the driver – I *love* The Incredibles but found it really stressful to listen to; near the end Emperor’s New Groove and Avatar the Last Airbender were our go tos and we can all recite them from memory lol). We would alternate “quiet time” and movie time and it worked pretty well. It’s ok for them to be bored. Put on an audio book or pod for you and & Chris and they’ll promptly take a nap lol. Now that mine are all older and have their own phones I will admit I just let them plug in their headphones and tune out. It’s a battle I have chosen to not engage and I am a much happier driver for it. There is also less bickering. #amen

    As for motion sickness my middle son is lovingly referred to as Sir Pukes A Lot – boy takes after his mom, poor kid. I eventually figured out that *plastic* embroidery hoops with *double bagged* plastic Target/grocery bags is The One True Way TM. The hoop keeps the bag open so they can get their whole face inside to do the business and also makes it easier for them to grab out of the door or seat pocket, whichever is closest to them. Doggie poop bags also work well but double bagging is key. #trust

    I think that’s it? lol Oh! Just buy like Smart Water water bottles with the sports top. I’ve tried every reusable sippy cup/canteen/water bottle our there. The SW can be refilled if you want, are easily replaced if one rolls into the recesses of under a seat and can’t be retrieved without unloading the ENTIRE car (too specific??) and those sport caps are easy to use and mitigate catastrophic water emergencies.

    Ok now I think that’s it lol!! Once the logistics are shaken out, I do honestly love car trips. Have fun, pick your battles, don’t stress the electronics and junk food too much, y’all will be just fine. :)

  7. Shan says:

    This one is stolen from my mother in law but my husband and his siblings always talk about it when reminiscing on family road trips. Have a giant bag of coins and when the kids get board, quiz them on stuff, anything from math problems to bible questions. Whenever they get one right they get a coin and when you stop next they can use their coins to buy whatever they want. Educational, entertaining and rewarding!

  8. Charlotte says:

    Use the Waze app to help you track your route – it also allows you to search gas stations- make sure to watch your gas! We don’t give the kids treats up front. Bring TP in the car if you’re not opposed to a roadside potty break-and keep your trash bag handy. We don’t bother with potty seats (less is more IMO) & trained our girls to pop a squat behind trees. Honestly, it’s just easier. Have them practice now if possible!😂😂

  9. Things I’ve done on the cross country road trip that I’m really glad we did and would do again…
    •Keep the “stuff” super simple. I saw you had backpacks for each girl and that is so smart. One small bag per kid makes loading and unloading really easy.
    •Load up audio books you can play for everyone to listen to. It’s especially fun to find books that take place in a place you’re visiting or driving through.
    •We stayed at the same hotel chain every night and it gave the kids (and us) a bit of routine since they were pretty much the same everywhere. We stayed in Holiday Inn Express. They were close to every location we were trying to get to and they had a free breakfast.
    •Biggest tip (and the most work) plan simple lunches and dinners for the whole trip that you can put in a cooler and eat at mealtimes. Often we were in the middle of nowhere when kids got hungry and it took away a lot of stress knowing we already had meals when we needed them. I made homemade bread and jam (which is a special treat at our house) to make PBJ’s for the kids and G2G bars and apples, strawberries, and bananas for me & Nathan. I felt so much better at the end of the week having eaten good food instead of fast food everyday. Store bought ready made smoothies were also yummy.
    Good luck! You’ve got this! And we’re so excited for you to get here!🤗🤗🤗

  10. Jen says:

    Give your kids $5 one dollar bills each day before you drive. When they are misbehaving they pay you $1. This worked surprisingly well for the end of a road trip when my kids were SO DONE and mama had no more patience.

    Also…HANDCUFFS! Something about a set of kid play handcuffs gave them hours of fun and imagination in “arresting” each other. I got them on a stop at the dollar store.

  11. Kelli says:

    I’m not an expert on the road trips, but my family has taken some lengthy ones in the past couple years with our 4 and 5 year old daughters. First, I have a travel bag of coloring, sticker, and activity books (think age appropriate for your girls). I also stick things in there like beads or Lego sets that they can work on individually. I got them some lap trays from Amazon that work great for food or a work/craft area bc they have an edge so things don’t roll off. My girls like Polly Pocket, but we only play with these small, self-contained toys on the road and not at home, so it’s a novelty when we go somewhere.

    My girls do have an iPad that has games, and I download movies from Netflix. My girls also like to play games going down the road like I Spy or Rainbow cars where they find cars that are the colors of the rainbow.

    For breaks, if you can stop places to eat that have play areas or even grassy areas to run around and stretch, take advantage of that or even have a picnic. We did this with our girls and would only stop places that they could play and move, we would get food to go, and then they could eat on the road. This way, they are not sitting still in a car and then sitting still in a restaurant.

    Hope this helps!!!

  12. Lori Baker says:

    My brother moves every 3 years because he’s in the army and when they moved from California to Texas, I gave my niece an envelope to open every day that had an activity in it – typically around the state they were moving to. She loved it.

    My favorite road trip activities are stopping at interesting locations/roadside attractions, finding a great place to eat (thank goodness for yelp!), staying at unique airbnbs and taking one long walk each morning before getting on the road.

    A friend took her young children on a month long road trip. She had a membership to a museum with traveling options, so they spent the mornings in a museum (typically free with her membership), drove in the afternoon when the kids typically napped, and always stayed in a hotel with a pool.

  13. Susan says:

    I remember many road trips from New Mexico to Kentucky. Memories include spending an extra day driving so we could take tours of many caves, my parents stopping early just so we could have enough time to swim in the hotel pool (they always closed before we arrived!), and my parents ability to create games with the things we saw out the window. Spell your name with letters you see as you drive/ make the alphabet/count cows on your side of the window to see who has the most – and a darker twist where if you spot McDs /BK out your sisters window she loses all her cows…

  14. Val says:

    Our kids (who also get car sick) love the “Adventures in Odyssey” stories. You can get them on iTunes or on CD. There are all different kinds, some about summer camp, making new friends, going on road trips, etc.

  15. Vanessa says:

    We never use stops to sit down and eat – just to get out of the car, stretch our legs and burn some energy. Grab food and eat in the car. It fills the car time and you don’t end up at another place where you have to sit.

  16. Kerry says:

    We have 4 kids, now ages 17, 15, `12, and 11, and have done a lot of driving trips over the years. My biggest tip is to pack a bag with one outfit and pair of jammies/undies per person per travel day, with one or two bags extra in case of messy kids;) I use the large reusable shopping bags for that. I have a second bag with swimsuits (staying at a hotel with a pool is key to getting out their energy) and each of our dopp kits. That way, each day, we only bring out one bag with clothes and the dopp kit/swim bag when we arrive at the hotel. Then, we put the dirty clothes right into the bag once we put on the clean clothes. The kids usually have their own pillow/blanket in the car with them, along with a sweatshirt, so only bringing in those two small bags makes it so fast to check in and check out. It’s so much better than lugging suitcases and all kinds of extra clothes that you don’t need in and out of the car when you just want to get into the hotel!

  17. Liz says:

    Get a paper atlas since it is faster to grasp the big picture than with a GPS. It is sometimes easier to drive around a city than go through it, especially if during the morning or evening rush hour. Know options in case there is a slow down. On one trip, we pulled into a rest area for over an hour to eat, walk, relax while we watched the cars creep along in the heat. Another time, we were caught in a downpour,,so we went into the welcome center, checked the weather and opted to relax there until the line of storms passed. Less stressful for everyone in the car.

    If you like a particular hotel chain, try to stay there every night – it is comforting to know the basic layout of the place. When you know where you’ll be stopping, call ahead to the specific hotel to make the reservation. If it’s booked up, ask about other local options. Also, ask for first floor room by a door since you will be dealing with three tired kids. Consider stopping a bit short of your new home so everyone gets a good night sleep. Driving into your new hometown will be nicer in the morning. And, depending on when the moving truck gets there, consider a stay at a local hotel until things arrive and settle down. I think you moved to a hotel for several weeks during part of your renovation.

    Get a box that can be a “memory box” for each girl or for the family. Stop by the welcome center for each state to rest, play, watch the weather channel, get a state map and ask about current traffic issues, get brochures about the state, etc. Perhaps get a flower press for each girl and they can pick some flowers from each state or stop. When you arrive at the new home, they can make a scrap book of the trip. I know you can do a video of the trip as a memory, but making a journal will keep them busy while the movers are there.

    Have fun!

  18. Rosanne says:

    I used to drive myself and my two daughters 15 hours each way to visit my parents during the summer. Audiobooks! So many great titles. We loved the whole Harry Potter Series. So fun. We also used to get up crazy early to start driving before 6 am with the “carrot” being checking in early enough to enjoy the hotel pool for the afternoon. We then would order pizza to eat in the bed while watching cable TV (something we never have had). My oldest is heading to college and she still remembers those road trips and how adventurous and indulgent it all seemed.

  19. Allison says:

    My kids are 4 and 7, and we just had our first pleasant road trip (8.5 hrs with one quick stop) last summer. We alternated one hour of non-screen time with 30 min of ipad time- it really helped them and me to break up the day that way.

    Podcast for Faye and Polly- Eat your Spanish
    Podcast for Greta and Faye- Wow in the World
    Audio book- The Bippolo Seed by Dr. Seuss (a compilation of lesser known Dr. Seuss stories read by actors like Neil Patrick Harris)

  20. K says:

    As kids our family always took road trips for vacations. We would all sing songs together that our dad taught us.
    So much fun and many great memories!

  21. Karla says:

    Definitely a potty chair for long trips. Also I would let mine have their own stash of treats/toys/games but then also packed a surprise bag of some new and old treats/toys/games as eventually they do run out and get bored; having something different to hand them is a lifesaver. Also do stop to eat at playgrounds and parks. I took many road trips with mine when they were little and found it such a sanity saver to just let them play (and not fight over eating before playing) while I sat to eat then I’d feed them when we got back in the vehicle. They got extra time to run off energy, I usually had a few moments of peace, and while eating in the car can be it’s own circus/mess it did also pass some time while on the road. My dad took a couple trips with us and ended up saying he wished he had thought to let us do that when we took our long road trips when we were little.

  22. Carrie says:

    Roadtrippers app by far is the best. We’ve driven from Pittsburgh to Colorado. Vegas to Seattle. Texas to Pennsylvania. You name it. Best tip. Don’t over plan. Set some stops, but don’t book hotels in advance. Use Priceline and when you feel like you’re ready to call it a day, start looking for a place to stay (with a pool). My boys always looked forward to swimming at the end of every day on the road. Have fun and relax.

  23. Melissa K says:

    We love podcasts and audio books for road trips. A favorite choice for the whole fam was an audio version of the book Matilda read by Kate Winslet.

  24. Stephanie says:

    I’ve made the trip several times across the country as a teen and also with my own kids. Some things that make road trips fun are having games that you all play together along the way- like keeping a list of what license plates you see- can you spot all 50 before getting to NC? Giving the girls turns on where you get lunch from (not sure what your eating situation will be tho…) If you need to make potty stops and you don’t want to stop at a gas station, I recommend pulling up to a hotel and using theirs! I especially do this if traveling alone. Definitely get everyone a portable DVD player, a neck pillow, and a headphone splitter in case 2 girls want the same DVD at the same time. You will have a great time. It isn’t so bad when you come to terms with the fact that you’ll just be in the car for a few days! ❤️

  25. Laura says:

    For the littlest (or all!), hand out a tiny surprise regularly like Squishies or Hobby Lobby has the cutest packages of tiny animals (think 2 cm in size). We love Where’s Waldo, Ultimate Travel Collection. I have a friend who hands out a box of Legos to each child at the beginning of the trip. My kids have enjoyed the podcast Greeking Out by National Geographic Kids. Usborne books has amazing activity books (the Wild Garden transfer book for your oldest, sticker books, activity books, scribble books, etc). Some audiobooks we have really enjoyed are: the Hobbit, the Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson, Little House, The Railway Children, 39 Clues series, etc. Depending on what app you use, (we use Libbey), you may need to check out popular audiobooks ahead of time. Also, teach your kids how to go in a gas station/bathroom without touching anything, lest you get the stomach virus! We are strict about shoes off after rest stops, which is why sandals are a must for travel.

  26. Edyta Walkowiak-Rich says:

    Definitely that will be the trip of your life. In 2018 me, my husband and our daughters, age 6 and 9 at this time, took a month long trip from Spain (where we live) to Poland, to visit my family. We cross several countries in Europe, stopping every night at the hotel to get rest and sleep before next day’s 8-9 hours road trip. We used portable video to entertainment during the trip. We knew it would be challenging so we made a deal, if they where well beheved during the trip, at the end of the each day trip they could spend time at swimming pool at the hotel, if it was an option and if there was no swimming pool at the hotel, we promised they will get ice cream instead. Must say it worked wonderfully. In the car they could have fruit, cereal bars, some kind of rice or corn pancakes and some sweet treat at stops. We always carry small bags in case they get sick, if that happens they close the bag and that’s all, no mess. We have well behaved kids, but understand that long trips can be difficult. The trip was blast and our kids behaved better than we could expect. Wish you have a wonderful and memorable trip which get you to a new chapter of your life. Wish you best and thank you for your inspirational blog which we all can enjoy.

  27. Jen Stinger says:

    Our three year old is alllll about that little potty in the car life and the best tip I have for them is…. diapers!! Not for the kid- to put in the potty first, they do their business in the diaper lined potty, then you simply toss the diaper! It completely contains the mess and the potty stays totally clean and any smell gets tossed with the diaper! We had some old ones from before potty training that we use, but I plan to go to the store to buy a small pack when we run out because it is my ultimate life hack! (And don’t forget some wipes!)
    We also use the erasable doodle boards as a great car distraction!
    Good luck and enjoy!

  28. Ashley says:

    Hi! Good luck on your road trip! We did a long summer, multi- stop trip last summer, Fort Worth —Chicago—-Jersey Shore—-Fort Worth with 3 kids 3-9yrs, and will be doing it again this summer. For the first leg I went crazy, each kid had an activity bin with wholesome things to do, we had a plug in cooler, etc. The activities were a bust and we found most benefit from a mid-day hike/picnic. By the leg home we just played dvds non-stop.
    I will say that the series Liberty Kids was a whole family hit. We were still on a Hamilton high, but the series is about early American history and all 3 kids loved it- I highly recommend bc they were happy watching and we were happy bc they were learning something! Scholastic books also makes books on dvd – the stories are quasi animated (book illustrations are activated) and there are tons- they are also subtitled which is good for early readers.
    And they kids were constantly eating- so lots of apples, carrots, grapes, cucumbers- crunchy and healthy!

  29. Kate says:

    Here is my tip! For every hour of drive time, I let each of my kids pick one animal-shaped eraser out of a grab bag. (Search Amazon for animal erasers. The brand I get is Iwako. I recommend the set of 50!) I call them travel buddies. My kids (now 8 and 10) play with them in the car and trade them and love them so much that they BEG to go on road trips. I don’t know why this works so well, it is just magic.

  30. Linda says:

    My girls are 5 and 6 and they are great road trippers and even seasoned international travelers. My tips:
    1. Get foot rests for the ones still in car seats. Feet and legs that free hang get uncomfortable quickly.
    2. Pack a magic bag of fun games and toys ONLY for the trip and only at certain points bring it out (ie, tell the kids they have to catch the car clock at the top of the hour ie, 1:00; 2:00 OR make up a game they have to spot 10 different license plates then the magic bag comes out).
    3. DO NOT GIVE THEM SUGARY TREATS WHILE IN THE CAR. Most kids will have a blood sugar spike and you dear Mama will regret it.
    4. Definitely bring the potty seat. It has come in handy on the side of a few roads off the beaten path.
    5. Stop driving for the day about an hour or two earlier than you think you need to. Stopping BEFORE the meltdowns occur is good for everyone
    6. Get hotels with pools so everyone can move their bodies and unwind before bed and again in the morning before starting out in the morning.
    7. Bring a can of antimicrobial foot spray. Spray everyone’s feet and shoes daily. That way when your kids start taking shoes off in the car you won’t die. Seriously
    8. Go with the flow. Say yes any chance you get and have the best time enjoying your family!

  31. Kellie says:

    We definitely use our car DVD player on trips. I’d also recommend neck pillows, eye masks, and maybe simple MP3 players for audio books or music … if you want to be able to limit their iPad time. It’s also fun to give the kids binoculars and cameras. My kids also liked having their own paper maps (free from AAA)… along with pens and stickers. Have fun!

  32. Chris says:

    Food! Not just snacky food too, bring things that can sub in for dinner if you get caught by a traffic jam for 600 hours. (In the modern age, cell phones let us mostly avoid them, but only mostly!) Toilet paper, moist wipes, paper towels. Consider a camping chemical toilet.. kids aren’t as good as adults about planning ahead.
    This is more for adults, but when heading out for 17 hour drives to go to big events, we would plan/discuss beforehand that we are going to stop when the vehicle needs gas and only then, so go to the bathroom and do whatever when we stop.
    Make sure every kid has their own blanket and travel pillow, plus spares in case things happen. Audio books are great, Travel Connect 4 tournaments filled many of my childhood trips, ditto Uno. If they don’t already have a way, get the girls some way for each of them to take pictures and make a travel book together. Stop every 2-4 hours, stretch your legs, have a picnic. Have fun!

  33. Christine says:

    I recently saw some motion sickness glasses. They look crazy, but supposedly they work. Check Amazon. I’m tempted to get a pair. Sometimes I’m trying to look at a restaurant menu in the car to call in an order and I get sick from that, so long car rides are no fun for me.

  34. Penelope Wind says:

    You are going to have the best time! I have taken my kiddos on a long meandering road trip each summer since the twins were 3 and their brother 5.
    The ideas below are great. Three potential additional are:
    – We pull up Amazon music and do a round robin picking a song. Leads to some pretty eclectic playlists, and we get to know everyone’s music tastes…
    – starting when they were around 5, I let each kid be in charge of day. They pick the stops, the snacks, and when possible, the route. Sometimes, they need some guidance, but we have experienced some pretty awesome things I never would have planned for. One kid took us to the Wizard of Oz museum, and we listened to a good bit of the boom that day too.
    – DVD players and Redbox pair well. There is something about Iooking at ALL those movies, picking g your own, and returning it in another city… sort of like Friday nights at Boockbuster years ago.

    Anyway, wishing you safe and fun travels!

  35. Jamie says:

    So many good tips here already! We regularly drive a few hours (with 5 kids) to visit family, and I always pack a bag of special treats and whenever we turn or see a specific item (wild animal, log cabin, or whatever else I think of) we all get a treat. It keeps the kids engaged and looking out the windows instead of at electronics. When we drive for more than 3 hours I always pre-plan playground and potty stops every couple hours rather than waiting till someone has to pee!

    • Jamie says:

      On our last 13 hour trip (just me and 5 kids) I played their audiobook in the car but listened to a different audiobook on earbuds. It gave me a chance to recharge and have some space even though we were still all in the same car.

  36. Ash says:

    My boyfriend and I have road tripped 17 states and we love Roadsideamerica.com it’s a quirky website that you can put what state and city you’re in and it tells you cool facts and the top attractions. Great for small towns.

  37. Lisa says:

    Opryland closed many years ago and the space is now a shopping mall – Opry Mills. Nashville would be a great place to stop with the Parthenon and the Opryland Hotel.

  38. Kala M. says:

    We used to drive from ND to MA every summer when I was a kid. I remember having some of my favorite toys, coloring books/puzzle books, movies, and my Walkman. I always enjoyed trying to find license plates from every state. Mad Libs can be super funny on car rides.

  39. Kathy says:

    So so many good suggestions! Extra emphasis on taking sanitizing wipes and remembering that not all restrooms may be open…I would consider adding an “extra” day to the trip if you can bear it: a day where you can sleep in, play at the hotel pool, see local attractions, work out…anything but get in the car!

  40. Ariel Peet says:

    My family and I just drove from Pennsylvania to Colorado. My wonderful neighbor gave my girls wrapped gifts – there were about 7 of them – that they could open daily. I didn’t even know what they were, so it was exciting for everyone. She had games, stickers, crafts, food, toys, etc. we also did the treat bags for the kids at the beginning of the drive instead of throughout and it was amazing. They just helped themselves and we didn’t have to be nagged every five minutes for something. My kids each got their one iPads that we only had movies on or books that they could watch/listen to. No games. I feel like games made them sick and cranky. Each day we had a destination and we would plan an excursion that was halfway through the drive. We did hikes, went to a lake, a zoo, etc and stopped and visited family in one of the states. We even camped two nights and my kids loved that. We also talked A LOT about our move and how it’s ok to miss our old friends and lives we had where we were leaving. We all cried. But then we focused on how we knew we were doing the right things and talked about all of the good stuff to look forward to.

    Good luck!

  41. Michelle A says:

    Forgot to add!

    1. Stop every 2-3 hours at a bathroom and MAKE EVERYONE PEE. Mandatory. Even the adults. It’ll save so much time in the future. Rest stops are the best (just search on google maps for one along your route), followed by specific gas stations chains (QuikTrip!) or fast food places. If you have a slow poke, set a timer and each stop have them try and have the family beat the record.

    2. Pick up a US state license plate sticker book. We all loved looking for license plates from all 50 states and other territories in Canada and states in Mexico too. Super fun and a great souvenir.

    2.

  42. Ananda says:

    We road tripped cross country almost every year growing up and my fondest memories are of the license plate game, trivia about each state we were driving thru (3-5 fun facts about each state), getting to pick an adventure in each state to look forward to (some big most small), small roadside souvenirs (magnets, spoons, mini snow globes), following along on the map regarding how many miles in each state and how many to go, taking photos next to the Welcome to and now leaving signs in each state, magnetic travel board games and roadside attractions.

  43. PAppel says:

    Games like I Spy and Car License Plate. Also audiobooks are awesome. And break the trips into miles (first 100, 250, 500, etc; use your preferred spacing) and have special rewards/treats for those milestones – this worked super well for a friend of mine. Table Talk games are fun (they have children versions) or you can make up you own questions tailoring it to your trip. Hope this helps.

  44. Courtney says:

    Can you just fly and send someone else with the car? 🤷‍♀️😉

  45. Sonya says:

    You have a lot of advice, the only thing I have to add is if you can be flexible and take longer, id recommend it. We just did the reverse trip from Durham to NW Montana, last spring. But we did it in more like 7-8 days. We were pulling a trailer so we had to go a bit slower but I just pulled up parks and campsites as we went and we stopped for wiggle breaks often. Our kids are a little younger (9mo to 6yo at the time). If you don’t have service but you can pull up Google maps you can look for green spaces, they’re often parks or soccer fields or something.

    Eventually we moved meals into the car rather than stopping for them, eating takes up sitting time quietly ;).

    You’ll make it!

  46. Stacy says:

    Honestly we take an 18 hour road trip twice a year and I used to pack extra fun toys and things and they never used them. We download the license plate game app and do that as a family or they watch movies on their iPad on Disney plus or Netflix. We put snacks in a big bag between them and a soft sided cooler. We always do snacks they don’t normally get.

  47. Lisa says:

    When I was a kid (right after the earth cooled) we drove from Austin TX to Palo Alto CA and back every summer for six years. Some of my favorite memories were playing tic-tac-toe WITHOUT paper! We played in our MINDS. Mom secretly kept a record in the front seat. There were three of us and we took turns. I still remember what a great memory exercise it was, but it was just play! Also, back before map quest, we used a paper atlas. Dad would give us each a chance to add up all the little numbers on the map to tell him how far it was to this place or that. I learned to do math in my head that way. I loved the pool at the motel at the end of the day, which we all looked forward to. And my dad LOVED a great Truck Stop breakfast, so that was our big meal of the day.

  48. Maggie says:

    When we did long road trips, we rotated turns picking something to do each day. For example (3 kids) so every 3 days it was your choice to pick. We told the kids what area we would be in for their day and let them research what they wanted to do. It varied from zoos to the Sandia Peak Tram in Albuquerque.

  49. Tori says:

    Some sort of stool for the kids feet! Dangling feet in a long car ride can make them restless and be uncomfortable. Something that they can set their feet on makes a huge difference.

  50. Ashley says:

    My kiddos love podcasts on our longer drives. Two that we love are Reading Bug Adventures (pack paper and crayons!) and Purple Rocket. They both keep my two kids engaged and happy. My daughter also gets carsick with her iPad and I have found having a mount for it on the seat in front of her helps a lot. Best of luck on your move!

  51. Shara says:

    One tip I used when traveling long distances w our 5 kids was to give each kid $5 or $10 in quarters. Each time they whined or complained they lost/paid a quarter. Any money left over at the end of the trip was there’s for the keeping. On one 17 hour trip with my 5 kids they paid a total of $1.25! Worth. Every. Single. Quarter!😀

  52. Rian says:

    These headrests have been a game changer for road trips:

    JZCreater Car Seat Headrest Pillow, Head Neck Support Pillow, Carbon Fiber Plaid Roadpal Car Headrest Pillow, 180 Degree Adjustable Both Sides Travel Sleeping Cushion for Kids Adult (Black Plaid) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B083LXYBZ4/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_fabc_PRKR8WZXGKRF3ENFHPNE?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1

    We also have iPads loaded with movies and headphones for each kid that way we can listen to a book on tape. We also have a no-iPad rule until we’ve been on the road for 1 hour.
    Good luck!

  53. Michelle Van Winkle says:

    We did a similar drive this year, Denver to Hilton Head. Our kids are great road trippers and we are thankful. We have a rule, one hour of reading/one hour of screen time. Works great. We include audio books as screen time. We let them draw if they want during read time as our youngest is 6 and can’t read for an hour straight yet. We stock up on audio books and podcasts and new movies (rent some at redbox they have never seen if you go the movie route on a DVD player that you can turn in anywhere). We also make time for LOUD time and crank up the music, and then also for quiet time. It helps everyone stay sane. We also have a potty no matter what rule every stop. If you are newer to long road trips, think about trash (I stash some grocery sacks). Also easy clean up if you have a major accident, its handy to have wipes and a roll of papertowels (if someone gets sick or a milkshakes spills, yikes!).

  54. Amanda Pendergraft says:

    There are so many great tips here, we used lots of them in our cross country move from California to South Carolina 8 years ago. I just wanted to encourage you…my kids still talk about that trip and how much fun it was! It was just such a great time to all be together. Expect some bumps…but overall they will remember the time together and even the not perfect things will be funny some day! We took our time and each kid picked a place to stop and see along the way. It was sweet time and you will have great memories! ♥️

  55. Shelley Fox says:

    Audiobooks for sure – we love everything from Judy Blume and Beverly Cleary on audio. Also, Anne of Green Gables is a good one. My kids also get very car sick so everyone has personal plastic bags and a paper towel roll. I think smelling peppermint oil has also helped on some occasions. Hard yes to the portable potty or “potette.” My youngest is 7 and I still have it in the back of my car;). Bring your own TP and hand sanitizer and you’re all set – what a lifesaver, especially during a pandemic. All the best, you’ll make it:).

  56. Kerri says:

    @etst just posted a great road trip on her blog. There are some cute games to pass the time. She has a tape that marks off all the spots so they can see how far they are going. I know it will be emotional, but I think if you explain how much of an adventure it will be, they’ll be excited.

    • Erika says:

      THIS. Came here to suggest the same – drop everything, get to her IG and blog and just do what she does. You got this!

  57. Lori says:

    My kids are pukers! I get several gallon ziplock bags, shove a few paper towels in the bottom, and each kids gets one to catch the mayhem. Zip and trash responsibly!

  58. Tina says:

    Audiobooks! Henry Huggins is narrated by Neil Patrick Harris & is terrific! Harry Potter on audiobook is fantastic. Kate Winslet narrates Matilda.
    Kellie Hampton shared great ideas, as always: https://kellehampton.com/2021/05/__trashed/

  59. Jaimee says:

    Our kids love surprises every few hours (a new toy, book, game, etc.) Road trip bingo, kids Dramamine works miracles for my car sick kids and if you use Netflix, download their favorite shows before you leave so they watch in the car from their ipads. We also do rest stop exercises! We look nuts, but they love it. Squats, lunges, jumping jacks, little races. Have fun and best of luck!

  60. RC says:

    I dislike buying the type of almost instantly disposable toys from dollar stores because it’s such a waste and their interest in them goes so quickly. 9 year old twins here with a few 14-18 hour road trips over the years ans lots of 8 hr long day trips.

    What works for us in terms of entertainment is journals for memories, quality portable sketchbooks (I like Leda), 1/4 inch graph paper and clipboards for drawing, pencils and colored pencils, audiobooks, iPads (for shows and library books downloaded on the Overdrive app). I keep ideas of drawing prompts and we do ABC game, category fruit – apple banana, category places, Athens, Barcelona, etc. I spy (in the car is harder). Walking breaks and stop for lunch. It’s tough but adding the pressure to be the entertainer vs. helping sometimes and letting them be bored and experience the toughness…

  61. Morgan says:

    My mom always printed off some road trip games for us to play like finding license plates from all the different states, the alphabet game where you have to find a sign that has a word that starts with the letter of the alphabet do instance “Alabama = A” to start and then move on to B and find a sign with that letter. The word on the sign just has to start with whatever letter you are on. There are all kinds of I Spy games you could play. Good luck, I’m sure you will have lots of laughs!!

  62. Jena says:

    One recommendation that I don’t think I’ve seen listed here with all these great ideas is to let your girls have some say in the actual planning. We did cross country from NH to WY and letting each daughter pick a route or a park to visit went such a long way to help them feel excited and invested in the trip, especially during some of the longer stretches.

    We were really into finger knitting on that trip – each girl had a colorful roll of chenille yarn. They were weirdly really into it. Also it was my 4th graders “flat stanley” year so we had an entire flat family by the end!

  63. Jessica says:

    If you need a few hours (1/2 day) for a pitstop to stretch your legs, get some sun and have a little fun, go to the St. Louis Zoo. It’s not only in the center of Forest Park (also perfect for a walk/run/picnic), but it’s free! You can play $15-20 to park right outside the front entrance, but there’s plenty of parking within the park and it’s only a short walk. It’s rated as one of the top zoos in the world so definitely give your girls time to see all the animals. It’s also right off the exit of highway 64 (super easy to hop on/off). Another animal-centric pitstop is the new aquarium in downtown (it has its own parking). It has a pricy ticket fee, but you see all the animals in 1-2 hours and it’s a fun experience. I live in STL now, but am originally from Charlotte, NC so enjoy the drive and “welcome home”!

  64. Andrea Carey says:

    My husband and I like to move around and have done it twice with my twins. Once when they were 3 and again when they were 9. We’re starting to feel like pros when it comes to cross country moves. Both moves we’re 20+ hours each way.
    My best advice is to take a lot of breaks and to have fun. Treat the move as a family vacation rather than a move. Everyone will feel less anxious.
    We brought a portable DVD player with headphones, an iPad, art supplies and books.
    My kids loved going to the gas station and picking out their treats. It gave them something to look forward to and an incentive to be on their best behavior. If you can map out a few things to see along the way that will as well.
    My kids still talk about the things we’ve done on our last 30 hr move two years ago. Just have fun!

  65. Julie says:

    Hey CJL! My husband and I are what you would consider professional cross country movers. We’ve moved from Nashville to Riggins, Idaho when we were engaged. We have moved from Idaho to Mobile, Alabama as newlyweds. And we even moved from Wisconsin to Georgia as first time new parents with a 4 week old during a pandemic! All though we don’t have experience traveling with lots of kids. We have experience traveling with lots of pets, multiple vehicles, and tons of emotions. We wish you the best. I say will say around day 2-3 every single time we’ve made a huge move is when the sadness melts away and the excitement of getting to your new home really kicks in. I always get super anxious about plane rides. But then I realize by fear is everything leading up to the plane. And not the actual plane. It’s kinda like that. Best of luck. Safe travels. Xoxo

  66. Misa says:

    I moved from Colorado to Rhode Island almost two years ago, and my partner and I each drove a car. The drive took 4 days/3 nights. A few things I learned:
    – The movers came to load everything up pretty early in the morning and they were packing the truck until 1pm, and we then got on the road and drove until 9pm to get to the first motel we had booked. I wish we hadn’t done this. The truck loading part was much more hands-on and stressful than I anticipated, and I wish we had just booked a nearby hotel and spent the afternoon/evening resting and processing so we could start fresh the next day. We started the drive physically exhausted and emotionally spent unnecessarily.
    – Our best hotel stay was at an extended stay hotel. We were able to sit on a sofa and use real dishes (we had our dogs with us, so we could only do takeout). I thought I just “needed a place to sleep” but it actually helped so much to live a little more normally, if only for a few hours. I underestimated how unsettling the process of cross-country moving would feel. It was good to have access to some creature comforts.
    – Audio books and podcasts were extremely useful time killers.
    – Streamline the stuff you’ll unpack every night when you get to the hotel. I had stuff spread across multiple bags, and with all the dog beds/food, we were spending 30+ minutes unpacking and repacking everything night and morning.

  67. Megan says:

    My girls are a lot younger but when we do road trips i have little things wrapped for them to open. Things they haven’t seen and will keep interest for a little bit. You could also open one for every state line you cross. Things i wrap…sometimes a new book, little doorables to open, new colors, dollar spot stuff, dollar store stuff. Melissa and Doug stuff is great! Also stuff you can throw away upon arrival bc they aren’t attached to it and it did it’s job!

  68. Amy Unrau says:

    We’ve been on a few long road trips with our 3 boys. Keeping them busy has been the key. I made a binder filled with lots of different activity.(word search, dot to dots, scavenger hunts, colouring pages) I also bought pencil cases that fit in a binder and filled it with markers, pencil, sharpener, stickers… Periodically we play an I Spy game with whatever is outside our car or the number game( you have to find numbers outside in order) It gets the family engaged and off of screens.
    I bought a bunch of Costco snacks and prepackaged them in separate mini baggies. Popcorn, trail mix, dried fruit, chips, granola bars, and gummies. I put all the mini bags in big tote along with a knife, paper towels, wet wipes and any plastic dishes I may need. I also had a cooler with veggies, fruit and cheese strings.
    They all had a backpack at their feet with extra toys, electronics and a water bottle.
    Hope that helps!! Those are my tricks to make it to by.

  69. Joyce says:

    Who else exclaimed out loud, “Willow!” while watching that exterior video. I miss seeing that big , fluffy cutie!

  70. Emily says:

    We moved across country with our two littles a few years ago. We tried to break the trip into manageable legs to help our sanity and to make sure we felt well rested. It made the world of a difference. We did the trip twice. Once when we moved to Nashville from SLC, and the other coming back. For the first trip we drove 8 hour legs, and took a day break in each spot we stopped in. We made it a fun vacation, and explored Denver, Independence (MO), and then Nashville. Kansas City also has a ton of fun children’s museums and things. It gave us time to get a break from the trip and swim at night. We loved it, and my kids still talk about the fun places we visited. On the way back we did 8 hour legs for 3 days and didn’t stop to explore. That was a good trip too. Less memorable, but stopping to swim at night helped get wiggles out. For the car ride, books, audiobooks, few favorite toys, snacks spaced out, and we saved movies for the very end of our leg. It was our saving grace when they were getting squirmy at the end, and we didn’t talk about it before to avoid the constant “is it time for a movie?” Road trips have been some of our favorite times together. Have fun with it and they will have fun too!

  71. Lisa says:

    What route are you taking?
    Snacks! Allow gas station snacks with an established limit of amount of sugar each day. Other snacks could be chips. Popcorn. Granola bars.
    Encourage the girls to run at each stop. DVD player and Redbox. Swimsuits in the car for hotels. Room service

  72. Bethany says:

    While we weren’t moving, we went on a raod trip this spring with our kids similar in age. We drove from Georgia to Utah and back! I bought my kids an entire series of books they hadn’t read. We got sticker by number books. They also had their Nintendo Switches. I let them have gum and push pops, things they don’t get often! I also got them each a spiral bound road atlas. That made for a lot of good conversation about where we were and where we were going. Good luck with your move and enjoy the trip!

  73. Chrissyhavs says:

    Podcasts!! We like Story Pirates, The Big Fib, Smash Boom Best for our elementary aged son; Reading Bug Adventures is good for preschool age kids. There are tons out there for every age and interest. We find they are a good way to space out the screen time on a long trip but we also heavily rely on screens, we try starting the leg of the journey w a podcast episode or two before screens.

  74. Lindsey says:

    Road trips have their highs and lows for sure and the littler the kiddo the harder. We’ve done many road trips and have found things that work and things that don’t. I’ve had friends have success with audio books or kids podcasts. We did Harry Potter for one trip and my oldest loved it but my youngest got bored (they were 8 and 6 at the time). Here are some tips and things that worked for us:
    – Shower caddies that suction to windows to hold small toys was a game changer for us.
    – Bubbles are always fun to chase and pop at stops. Gets them moving and a short but fun activity
    – YES to the training potty and extra toilet paper. For girls this is a must. Pack the sanitizing wipes to clean out after they use.
    – Yummy snacks – fruit goes quick but keeps their digestive track moving. Sitting for long periods tends to bind us all up. Get yogurt for the older kids so probiotics are helping them and keeping their guts healthy as your travel across country with all the germs!
    – Our kids have kindles and we bought headrest holders for them. They are adjustable and a true game changer!! This may help with motion sickness. I found them on Amazon and they have worked in all our vehicles. I also have them turn them off when we get to windy roads.
    – Dollar store cookie sheets are incredible trays that sit over car seat arms and hold snacks, coloring books, magnets, and puzzles. Plus they stack and stash when you don’t need them.
    – my treats were not good but toys they’d get every couple of hours to keep them occupied.
    – my kids are always hungrier in the car so pack a ton of treats, or find the grocery store stops you can make to stock up along the way.
    – pillows are so helpful when they’re little necks are bent over from exhaustion. Find things to help them prop up while they nap.
    – music! Have them help make a travel playlist with songs they love. For several years my kids wore out a Laurie Berkner Band DVD. She sings and dance and they loved it!! Kidzbop is the new favorite but you can’t go wrong with kids tunes.

  75. Jenny says:

    We road tripped for a love from TN to CA with littles. I’d hand out snacks on demand, def do the iPads (with brand spanking new movies, shows, games downloaded (WiFi is non existent in the middle of the country). We hang i pans on the headrests so no kid is holding them… it helps keep carsickness at bay. Def play games (license plates, would you rather, etc) download family friendly podcasts, let kids pick food spots. AND def pack the potty seat!!! Clorox sips are great to take in public restrooms for a quick wipe down too!! Swim at hotels to wear them out, find a picnic spot for dinner to let them run instead of sit down restaurants, and enjoy it! Once in a lifetime (hopefully 😅) trip!!

  76. Helaine says:

    We have driven MANY miles in the car. :) we love audio books- keeps them entertained but also more happy to be still. Too much visual screen time makes my kids act out and yes, doesn’t help with car sickness. Activity books are great. We play all the car games (alphabet, state licence plate game etc ) seat trays for building stuff/drawing are great too. New notebooks and coloring pencils!

  77. Noni says:

    Our road trip goal was always to try and drive 4 hrs before making a stop. Sometimes it ended up being 3 1/2, but it helps to think in chunks of time. Less stopping means you get there faster and kids really can make it longer than you think!

  78. Morgan says:

    We did a cross country trip from TN to OR this past November with our then fiver year old. I was super anxious about the whole thing and covid was still pretty bad. We ended up getting a teardrop camper with a portable toilet which was lifesaving!! For in-car, we only watched two movies. He had just gotten a Christmas toy catalog and a sketch pad and spent a lot of time drawing his favorite toys. We also brought plus plus and listened to the Harry Potter audiobooks. We also stopped at the Grocery store a few times and let him pick out little treats there which was fun. Hope you guys have a great time!

  79. Stephanie says:

    We just moved from WI to SC. It was a 15 hour road trip with stops. We stopped every 3 (or so) hours. We had a bin of snacks, toys (legos, mag stiles, action figures, market boards, new fun picture books), a cookie sheet (cheap and small from dollar store) for them to eat or play on, we only let them watch one movie the whole drive, toward the end when they were getting tired. We gave them all a bag of $5 worth of quarters & said if there’s complaining, whining, or “are we there yet” you have to give mommy a quarter. Whatever you have left is yours to keep and spend at a fun place at our destination!

  80. Sarah says:

    Several years ago I heard a tip on Tsh Oxenreider’s podcast to let the kids eat in the car before a stop, and then when you stop they can run around and explore, use the restroom, etc and you aren’t using so much time at stops to eat. This has been a game changer for us to get back on the road faster and also eating gives us one more thing to do in the car. I keep a small cooler somewhere accessible and re-stock from our main cooler when needed.

  81. Rachel says:

    I have liked getting ‘craft trays’ for our kids so they had somewhere to hold activities. My kids like to color and the tray holds their coloring page and crayons or markers. I also found them handy if we had to eat in the car.

    Here is an example:
    https://www.michaels.com/assorted-finger-paint-tray-by-creatology/10475131.html?r=g&cm_mmc=PLASearch-_-google-_-MICH_Shopping_US_N_Kids_N_Smart_BOPIS_N-_-&Kenshoo_ida=&kpid=go_cmp-9638984798_adg-99988418355_ad-425991104288_pla-1005827419126_dev-m_ext-_prd-10475131&gclid=Cj0KCQjwnueFBhChARIsAPu3YkRcaqur__7vRNqsDXsKjXhahGkpvDSHN4Ev5GIsd6FoF7mbZ7kRSOcaAs4MEALw_wcB

  82. Jenny says:

    You have not heard of the legendary Young House Love pee bags?!?! Hahaha. No recommendations here (except for the portable potty) but we are going on a 12 hour driving vaca with a 3.5 and 1.5 yr old in 2 weeks. Check out @NestingwithGrace who recently did cross country trip with 3 kids recently but opposite direction in a RV.

  83. Donna says:

    We always packed lunch and stopped at parks to let them burn energy. I go to dollar tree and dollar general to get bag and put books, puzzles, etch a sketch, etc to keep them busy.

  84. Lindsey says:

    When I was a kid, my mom would make cookies in the shape of every state we passed through, and she’d hand them out at the state line. This sticks out so much that my sisters and I all make them for our own road trips! It’s truly one of our fondest memories.
    She’d usually tell us a little state trivia and then make a game with it, or cut their state flower into a puzzle, or something like that. It was a great way to count down the trip, and it broke up the monotony. We’d all stop anything we were doing as we crossed the state line!

  85. My family moved cross country twice while we were growing up, from San Diego to Indiana and then back a few years later. On the way there I was in fifth grade, little sister in second, and all those days in the car together are actually some of our favorite family memories! We fought, played games, listened to books on tape (lol 1999 life) and explored some awesome places! Half way through the trip my dad disappeared into a big box store and emerged 45 minutes later with Game Boys, batteries and a handful of games for each of us.

    We experienced the Grand Canyon, Four Corners, Monument Valley, and a million places in-between. We watched endless fields of sunflowers turn and follow the sun through the sky. We made up games, some of which still get played today like searching for license plates in alphabetical order, spotting semi trucks in rainbow order, or getting a dollar for the first person to see something significant, like a tree in the desert or a Hawaii plate. My sister and I were in such a bad fight at the south rim of the Grand Canyon that my mom made us get out of the van and run laps around it in a thunderstorm to burn energy. It ended with everyone laughing hysterically with one of the best views in the world to ourselves.

    My advice is to do some things together and have some options so everyone can have time to themselves when needed. Learn about the places you’re driving through. Listen to a classic novel and discuss as a family (we loved Little Women, Huck Finn/Tom Sawyer, Wizard of Oz, Harry Potter, Peter Pan). Everyone will get something different from the story and it’s even more fun if it takes place where you’re driving. Switch off letting everyone pick a meal. Take breaks and go for a walk and see some sights. Have fun! It’s not that bad!

  86. Carrie says:

    Route suggestion: I’m sure there are a few different ways to choose from to get here, and you may have already selected your route. My tip: It may be a good idea to select the route that does dip through Tennessee and then heads to the Raleigh area via the NC mountains and through Asheville; this may help your girls (and adults!) get excited to see more of your new state and what it has to offer!

  87. Jessica says:

    If you can swing it, get a couple Kind Paperwhites or Kobo Auras for the older girls. They must be the traditional style ereader with the “e-ink” technology, NOT the tablet style (Kindle Fire). I get motion sickness with any sort of regular screen, and even a print book, but don’t have the same issue with the plain ereaders with e-ink. You can pre-load them with chapter books and be set for the entire trip.

  88. Margaret says:

    We do lots of road trips with three kids. Go onto amazon and buy two things: hospital vomit bags (they have a hard lip at the opening and twist then tie onto themselves. And Sherry Petersik’s Travel Johns! They have been a LIFE SAVER for when we can’t stop or don’t want to use gross gas station restrooms with the kids. Bring wipes, think about a dustbuster for the car. And dramamine! Bring tons of snacks, and hard yes to audio books. We listened to Harry Potter over spring break.

  89. Mary Catherine says:

    Not sure if this is a repeat from another comment, but I think a few audio books that the whole family would enjoy can be helpful. (That’s my family’s plan for our MI-CO road trip this summer. I’d recommend Little House on the Prairie, for sure. Partaking of something like this all together could even be bonding and surely help pass the time.

  90. Christina says:

    Hey there! Our family of 4 moved from Williamsburg VA to Tacoma WA almost 3 years ago when the kiddos were 4 and 8. We took 2 and a half weeks to travel since we wanted to see lots of places and have fun. We didn’t have a DVD player or tablets for the kids.

    Here’s what worked for us…
    I collected lots of fun activities like window clings, mess free coloring supplies, activity books, games etc, and gave them a new one each day.
    When stopping to eat we’d find either a park for them to run around in or a fast food place with a play structure (pre-pandemic obv).
    Audio books and kid friendly music that didn’t drive the grown ups crazy.
    We talked up our next stop and what we would do/see/eat.
    We had a combination of sleeping accomodations… Hotels, family, camping
    We talked a lot about what we could see outside as we drove through different parts of the country.
    We made a couple quick unplanned stops at places that looked interesting, like a cheese shop in Wisconsin.

    Something I wish we had done is planned fewer activities per day. It ALWAYS takes us longer to get from place to place than we think it will and we set up tents at midnight a few times.

    Good luck! We are road trip converts now that we’ve taken on a cross country move. You’ve got this!

  91. Jen D says:

    Your road trip will be great! Making memories for sure!!! I recommend audiobooks & podcasts. My kids get carsick, too, so they can’t do screens. Download everything ahead of time. Audiobooks that are a series will be long lasting and nobody fights over what to listen to next. Consider: Harry Potter, Wings of Fire, Ramona Quimby/Henry Huggins series by Beverly Cleary. Podcasts: Greeking Out (Greek mythology), The UnExplainable Disappearance of Mars Patel, Six Minutes, Becoming Mother Nature.

  92. Kara says:

    I’d definitely recommend get seat pockets for the back of the seats – especially for your big girls. Much more accessible then a car bag. Also, they can see what’s in there and pick what they want.

  93. Becky says:

    If you get a chance, stop by St. Louis Missouri for the STL zoo. We have the best zoo in the nation, and best of all? It’s FREE. The Arch is pretty cool too. ;)

  94. Kelly says:

    Road trip BINGO. We love it! All ages. https://www.amazon.com/Regal-Games-Original-Travel-Vacations/dp/B004GVYD98

    Audio dramas –
    Focus on the Family has Radio Theater and
    Adventures in Odyssey (great character lessons). Chronicles of Narnia series would be great and lots of hours.
    Jonathan Park – creation science
    Lamplighter Theater
    These are a few our family enjoys.

    Snacks

    Magnadoodles

    A, B, C game where you try to find words on signs starting with each letter of the alphabet. Can do it competitively or cooperatively.

    I Spy books

  95. Kate says:

    Balancing electronics with old school games! ABC game, license plate, 21 questions, I Spy. Also we would do Usborne crossword puzzles as a family. We just finished the planet earth one! We would learn new things and then google different things to learn more facts. Usborne also has awesome wipe clean books that are great for travel. Just go the acticity books section on Usborne website.

  96. Jan says:

    Hi Julia… I used to make 1500km (~950 miles) trek home with kids each summer. And even once with two toddlers by myself. My main tip that I always went back to is – make sure their feet are warm. Even during the heat of summer, if air conditioning is on in the car, and they have light shoes on, kids will not relax and/or sleep. So I always had warm socks on in the car and often blankets.

    Also I agree with the treats. I did dole them out every hour. But I was not picky about what they were, we started with a Tim Hortons doughnut run (Canadian staple) and then chips, you have it. But a full belly and a warm body will make the trip so much easier.

    We used to have to make good time, so I often got good at even ordering pizza to be ready at the exact time we hit certain towns, but I am thinking you may have more time. ;)

    Oh and when my kids hit Faye’s age they LOVED to watch us move along Google Maps. I would let them see the blue dot move as we drove and they would tell me what cities were coming next and watch the signs to confirm.

    Good luck! I am sure you will have a great trip!

  97. Emily says:

    Check out @mrsblinks on IG. She has a road trip stories highlight with fun tips!

  98. Heather says:

    Auto Bingo. Amazon has some great cardboard sets. Also, my older girls love making friendship bracelets. We take Embroidery thread and clipboards, and they’re a great way to pass the times.

  99. Lindsay says:

    We love podcasts as others have mentioned and The Unexpainable Dissappearance of Mars Patel is really good! It has a Goonies vibe but with outer space! My kids were 6 and 9 when we listened to it the first time and they loved it. My husband and I also enjoyed it! We also like Wow in the World and Brains on. Happy travels!

  100. Victoria says:

    One of our favorite things is to plan stops around parks/ playgrounds, so the kids play while the driver eats, then kids eat in the car. I hate making them sit to eat when they’ve been sitting in the car all day.

  101. A says:

    I’ve never done a 35 hour drive with my kids! 😱
    But sticker books were great for planes and any new/ novelty toys. We always play a game of who am I in the car and everyone enjoys it! Yes/no answers only! Audio books are a great distraction to stop arguments. You could have a book a day ready? I’m sure Young House Love did a post about what they found helpful when they moved last year. Think they had a mileage countdown that helped keep the momentum going.

  102. Amanda says:

    Are you making stops? My daughter (8) is really into National Parks and we always prioritize stops every few hours to stretch our legs and enjoy the outside! Bonus points for printing out the Jr Ranger books ahead of time so you get a badge! We also have the National Park Passport and she loves looking back at all the parks she has visited.

    Audio books or Podcasts are also great! We are big fans of ‘Wow in the World’.

    We like to pick a gas station thing to try… so every time we stop we get a new and different bag of chips or candy and everyone needs to try it! Then we will rate it our favorites.

    Whatever you do, it will be a lot of fun!

  103. NM says:

    My kid gets carsick pretty easily. After one particularly brutal drive through western NC and Tennessee, we finally found a decent solution. For whatever reason, a half dose of Benadryl seems to keep the nausea at bay. We’ve been using this trick for about 7 years now, and it works every time.

  104. Kaitlyn says:

    My girls get car sick too, so we got them sea bands (you can get them on Amazon) to wear on long car rides or planes. They work SO WELL! And they look like little 80s chicks at the same time 😂

  105. Brenna says:

    Since you’re using roadtripper, find cool parks along the way. We stopped at all the giant wood castle-y parks on a trip from Miami to Virginia and the kids slept like champs afterwards. The climbing seemed to make the difference. Have fun!

  106. Meghan says:

    We drive long distances all the time with our 8 and 5 year old. I make sure to pack each kid a brand new bag of cheap things (dollar store toys, find it workbooks). Then we have some of our favorite trace toys always on hand: lots of books that are long and have a lot of variety like an animal encyclopedia or how things work, a boogie board/electronic doodle board, etch-a-sketch). All of them are good for both kids and have little mess. We let them do electronics too, but lately they are more interested in the other stuff and making up their own games.

  107. Allison w says:

    When we moved from CA to MN with our 2 girls there were a few things I did that helped the days significantly!!!
    1) I put a tub filled with snacks for the day and the rule was they didn’t have to ask…just go ahead and eat what you want! They loved it and no complaining ever about food or ‘I’m hungry’. And the number 1 item to have in tub was individual lunch size chip bags of all sorts of flavors. Something about picking out their flavors made the difference instead of 1 big bag of chips!!! I also put some healthy options in there…but I wasn’t concerned for the few days of indulging!
    2). I packed a bag for each day with new car toys/reading/crafting things. Each day when we would get in the car they would get a new bag with new things to keep them interested and I think having new things everyday really helped.
    3). We drove really long days and when we crossed the MN border line it was almost dark, so I pulled out the glow sticks and we had a car dance celebration we were almost to our new home. It was super festive and made us all very excited we were almost ‘home’’!!

    Safe travels to you all!!!

  108. Tanya says:

    When I was 14 we went on a cross-country trip. And my best friend gave me a bag with a regular envelope to open for each day. Sometimes it had candy most days it had a few Word searches or crossword puzzles. It was really fun because it had something fun for me to do that was just mine. If I did it today, I would even consider ripping up a paper back book into a few different chunks so they had to pace themselves and look forward to the next day when they could find out more about the story.
    On that same trip, my mom made us each bring a backpack filled with things to do. Headphones, mixtapes and our own tape player. Books mostly our own snacks, realizing that they had to last the whole trip. But every time we stopped to get gas she always got a roll of Lifesavers and that was a total treat!!! We were the family that bought bread and lunch meats and made sandwiches in the car. We had a cooler for breakfast and lunch and always ate out for dinner.
    Take it vantage of anything cool that’s happening along the way. Even if it’s 10 minutes out of the way just to walk out of the car and see something cool on the side of the road that was always fun. (Ex. Cadillac ranch in NM, or the rocks outside of Vegas.) it gives you a chance to stretch your legs. Also stop and see the sights, like mount Rushmore or the arch in St. Louis, or Grand Canyon. Make it a trip that they will remember instead of just a trip that we were ONLY in the car with no fun.
    This is a game my grandma made up, and it lasts the whole trip. Divide the car and half half for two teams. One side counts points on their side of the road and the other accounts on their side of the road.
    A cow=1 pt
    A horse= 2 points
    Cemetery=lose all your points
    Church=you give all your points to the other team (because of your generosity).
    We didn’t play the entire trip. Just portions of time. But the score was constantly running. *** this was the 80s when kids knew true boredom. this is the best we could do to cure exhausting boredom.

    • Susan says:

      Haha I just posted a similar game we played – we lost the cows when your opponent (sister) spotted a McDs on your side of the car!

  109. Rachel says:

    Six kids here (and I’m typing this halfway through a ten-hour drive, haha!). We drive 1500 miles every summer to see our families; a few years ago when I drove by myself I wrote up a blog post with all my best survival tips! http://theirchronicles.blogspot.com/2016/06/last-day-of-school-vacation-planning.html?m=0

  110. Lora says:

    Kellie Hampton from Enjoying the Small Things just did a fantastic road trip post (https://kellehampton.com/2021/05/__trashed/). So many great ideas there!

  111. Haley says:

    I’m literally taking my first child on our first road trip right now so I don’t have mom experience with this, but my family made a cross country move when I was young and I still think fondly of it! I think one big thing is that you flip your thinking to “every hour is closer to the exciting new place!”. I think your kids are probably more excited than sad, based on my own experience at least. The things I remember most about our trip though were the stops we made! I don’t remember the ride much at all, except I know there were a lot of ‘I spy” games (state plates, a-z, etc). The stops though! My parents made our stops as many national parks as possible, and looking back, this must’ve been to get us moving. We even stayed extra time in some places to do things like horseback riding, etc. So that said, my biggest rec is to plan your route, and timing, around the stops, and what you can incorporate based on that route. Giving yourselves an extra day or two might mean the world of difference in making your trip one your girls will never forget, in a good way, of course!

    Some ideas that might be on your way that I enjoyed as a kid:
    -St. Louis Arch
    -mt. Rushmore
    -Louisville slugger
    -garden of the gods
    -lake of the ozarks
    -opryland (tons of parks in nashville too, and a very cool water park at opryland)
    -national quilt museum (sounds lame but amazing in Paducah)
    -Dollywood /so many hikes and parks in east TN

    • Alli says:

      We’ve done tons of long road trips with our boys at various ages. Our youngest gets car sick of he reads or watches too long too. One thing we found that was great was audio books. It gives them entertainment and also allows them to play or draw as well. We also use to let them each take turns with our camera or phone so they could document the trip in their own way. It was always neat to look at their photos at the end of the trip and see what caught their interests. Lots of stops also helped.

      Best of luck on your trip.

  112. Kiara says:

    Recently drove cross country from New England to CA! Not child specific but some practical driving tips that worked well for us:

    – Every 2 hrs or so, find a place to stop so you can stretch legs, go the bathroom, etc and switch drivers. Really helps with fatigue behind the wheel and breaking up the drive!

    – We stopped at Whole Foods or a local grocery store every morning before getting back on the road to pick up sliced fresh fruit, vegetables, hummus, yogurt, etc so we could have some fresh, healthy snacks in addition to the popcorn, chips, or pantry snacks we packed to munch on that day. That way you don’t have to worry about packing a massive insulated cooler or worry about things going bad.

    – Start looking for a gas station once your tank is half empty. That will give you plenty of time to find a gas station before the light comes on. There will be times where there won’t be a gas station for miles and miles.

    Enjoy! Planning is the worst part but once you’re one the road it gets better! Leave some room for spontaneity and you’ll find some fun, unexpected surprises on the road.

  113. Stephanie says:

    When we drove to Yellowstone a few years back when our kids were 5-10, I had small books and gifts that I had them unwrap every hour or two. Most things were from the dollar store or thrifted. That helped with keeping them entertained. We also stopped a lot to stretch our legs. I’ve done a PNW move to the midwest twice by car and loved the trips immensely.

  114. Elizabeth says:

    Road trip ideas!! Go follow Steph Pollock on IG, she just posted a big blog post on long car rides with kids and has some great ideas in there. One of which I’m filing away for later (we’ll be moving 11 hours away in the next year) is to hand out a new treat bag every hour or when you cross a state line! And she has ideas for what to put in the bags (it’s not candy!). Prayers for a happy and safe trip!

  115. Jess says:

    I grew up with not a lot of money, but my mom would take my sister and me along on her road trips for work and that would be our vacation for the year. She always made the road trips so fun and special. We sang car karaoke, played the license plate game, trivia, etc. We always stopped at cool places along the way and picked out local treats at the places we stopped. I’m 30 years old and still have some of the cheap little knick knacks I picked up on our road trips when I was a kid!

  116. Sara says:

    No kiddos here but when we travel we like to map out *Panera (*insert any place you like here) and stop. We know their bathrooms are clean, we can stretch our legs and grab a green smoothie or a cup of soup before we get back on the road. We love a place like this over going to the bathroom at a gas station.

    Growing up we always played the alphabet game (find the letter of the Alphabet as the first letter of a word) while on the road. Or spot license plates from every state! We’re all rooting for you!! 🎉🎉

  117. Cindy says:

    We did a two week road trip with our children when we moved from Nova Scotia to Alberta (Canada). We journaled along the way, so that we wouldn’t forget any of the details. Then, after we had moved in, We made a photo book with pictures from our trip along with the journal entries. Our kids read it ALL THE TIME even though the trip was in 2016. We also always picked hotels with pools or water slides. It was a nice way to unwind at the end of a long day of driving and sight-seeing.

  118. Karen Miller says:

    Julia, do you think the new owners will allow send pictures of the new kitchen to share with your readers? Or any other updates they may do to the house? That would be nice

  119. Hannah Gokie says:

    Honestly a good old-fashioned audio book and some new colored pencils + notebooks always seem to make my kids happiest and occupied for the longest stretches!

  120. Angela says:

    I never packed toys for a long road trip. Instead we would stop at a Walmart or target along the way and let them pick out something to play with in the car. It was a nice way to stop and stretch our legs and the kiddos had something new and exciting to open and play with in the car!

  121. Emily says:

    One thing to keep in mind in COVID times (and this may change by the time you leave) is that a lot of fast food restaurants have their dining rooms closed. We’ve had to do some quick meal stops that turned into a mini-tailgate party. So if this is something you tend to rely on for road trips it may be worth double checking whether you can dine-in or not.

  122. Eliza says:

    Maybe you could put together little “photo albums/postcard albums” of some of the Raleigh area museums, gardens, trails, landmarks, bookstores, toy stores, and even state/city trivia (bird, flower, etc.). that the girls can look through en route to get them excited about their new home?! Also, Auto Bingo cards are fun! You can search for them on Amazon. Of course, finding playgrounds in cities along the way where you can stop and let the girls run around a bit makes a HUGE difference for peaceful and memorable road trips (I heard there’s a playground app that can help you find them along the way)!!

  123. Heather T. says:

    Before we went on a cross-country trip as kids, my aunt gave us each a dollar-store notebook to journal about our trip each day. I’ve done the same with our kids so they can look at these in years to come.

  124. Courtney says:

    You have to check out Kelle Hampton’s instagram @etst and her blog!!! She does a road trip from Florida to Michigan every summer with three kids, and she just posted a ton of fun road trip ideas the other day. Sending you all lots of fun and happy vibes for the big move! 🖤

  125. Stephanie Reiner says:

    Space the snacks AND the activities out. Audiobooks. We did alone activities (target dollar spot has a million things) and each girl got a new Lego or duplo set (one of the small ones that are like $10 each). Then we would do a “family” activity like I spy or a question game (this is super fun to get adults involved too and ask questions like “if you could take one person on a Disney vacation who would it be and why”) chick-fil-a had a kids meal prize that was called dinner questions and had a lot of fun questions to get everyone involved. Plus trivia games like that help keep the driver awake. Plan a stop every 2 hours (we had little kids who hardly get screen time so they needed the stop — no way the iPad would’ve held their attention that whole time) and do an exercise all together for each stop (like this one we have to do 50 jumping jacks while naming colors or something silly). Save some things for the last day. We usually let them watch an episode of something around 2 PM since a few kids usually do naps and this was like a wind down thing. We also drove until 9 PM so we would do a movie after dinner when they were tired. Also comfy outfits and slides that they can take off in the car and easily put on for stops. Our 6 and 8 year old loved books on cats cradle and friendship bracelets and they had something to show for it at the end! The 2 and 4 year old loved playdoh the best and I had to be ok with it🤪 also little water games are super entertaining! (Remember where you push the button and try to get the rings on the posts??) mad libs was a hit too. And ginger for motion sickness! We also got motion sickness bracelets since our girls also get car sick and I think between the 2 it worked!

    • Stephanie Reiner says:

      Also sorry for the super long comment but we just did this halfway across the country with 4 kids and I was pregnant. I lived to tell the tale and share our tips🤪

  126. Maha says:

    I also have 3 girls. When we road trip, they each pack a car bag that includes car activities, books, and food. They do sometimes eat all their food early on. We also have a bag of snacks handy for later, but we don’t tell them that right away, so that they feel like they need to pace themselves. We pick out good audiobooks to listen to. Right now, we are listening to Anne of Green Gables. Lemony Snickett books have been popular in the past, as well as Harry Potter. Last trip we made, we listened to a dramatised version of Little Women, and everyone from my 6-year old to my husband really loved it. We also have listened to fun kids’ podcasts like Wow in the World and Stories Podcast.

  127. Jessica says:

    Are you following Kelle Hampton @etst on Instagram? She plans an epic driving trip for her family from Florida to Michigan each year and has awesome ideas. We did tons of driving trips as a kid and having access to our own pillow in the car was so nice. Of course snacks, electronics, headphones, audio books, drawing supplies and a lap desk are also so helpful. I also think organization is key so some sort of seat back organizers for all their things or bins next to them help to keep things accessible and in a place where they can see them.

  128. Jenn Becker says:

    1. Wishing you all the absolute best! We just made a huge life transition ourselves and it’s filled with so many different emotions. Give yourselves grace and learn a little bit about the stages of change. (Grief, disorientation, etc)
    2. We love crafty car activities that aren’t messy…wikistix, sticker books, and (this is weird, but I promise they live it) rolls of aluminum foil to make creations out of.
    3. If you can, Save the individual screens for when everyone just needs space but can’t get away from each other
    4. It’s going to be great! Praying for you guys!

  129. Julie says:

    So much good advice already! A couple things that worked for my family is that I had a different thing to do each hour… it helped the time pass for me as well. If they got done with that activity or didnt want to do it they could just sit or sleep etc…
    First hour: Listen to our road trip CD
    2nd hour: play the ABC game with a small snack
    3rd hour: pipe cleaners
    4th hour: color
    5th hour: would you rather game or answer questions game, trivia game small snack
    6th hour: a small box( a pencil box) of toys for each person, magi clips, small little potatoe heads, my little ponies–and then each day you switch who gets what.
    Etc…
    Always with an audio book in the background playing (after the CD and if we weren’t chatting). Then in the last two hours was a movie/screen time. When we hit 99 miles left for the day we had the same song we would play that we would have a dance party to, because we were so close to getting out of the car! We always tried to eat lunch at a park with a playground, and make one fun stop to see something.

    Also, my kids started each day with $2.00 (I kept the money, they just knew it was theirs to spend) and if they fought, didn’t listen excessively they lost a quarter, whatever they had left, they got to buy a treat at the gas station when we stopped to fill up–they LOVE this!! (Never are many quarters taken away! They want the $2.00)!

    Good luck! Road trips are the best!!

  130. Grace says:

    Highly recommend listening to audiobooks the girls will like on the road trip! Particularly the Harry Potter series (if they haven’t read and/or if they are already fans!) read by Jim Dale. It’s fun, no screen, easy, and frequently helps kids stay entertained (or fall asleep) on the road in my experience!

    • Isabella says:

      I was just going to comment the same thing! Jim Dale is such a great narrator and kept me entertained for hours on end on long drives! Fun for kids and adults.

  131. Denise says:

    Find some suction cups with a metal hoo, and put them on the vehicle back/ side windows, and then hang a lightweight baby sized blanket to block the view. This allows my daughter to read on long car rides without getting car sick (blocking the car movement from the peripheral vision seems to be the trick). And we did a test run first to make sure it didn’t impact the drivers sight/road view at all.
    Best of luck! I still remember our big move to North Carolina with a 4 year old :)

  132. Erin says:

    Get the Roadtrippers app to identify fun stops along the way for leg stretching and filling bellies.

  133. Hilary says:

    Audiobook would be a fun alternative to ipad time. Less chance of getting car sick too. Maybe find some goodies or toys, trinkets that go along with the stops you’ll be making. I remember my mom would give us each a little notebook to document our road trips when we were kids. We’d collect things and write in the and draw pictures.

  134. Laurel says:

    We always bring white boards and markers on road trips. You can use the markers on the car windows too.

  135. Amy C says:

    I have three kids as well (5,3 and 18 months). I agree with the potty chair. We have the oxo tot portable potty chair. It folds up and stows away easily! I know your kids are a bit older, but mine absolutely LOVE those invisible ink drawing pads that you can find in the dollar bins at Target. We recently were on a 6 hour round trip straight from Charlotte to Hillsboro to pick up some baby chicks and those pads kept them entertained for at least an hour straight. They even went back to it later on too. I would download some new movies on their iPads. Good luck on the move!

    • Amy C says:

      P.S. Story Pirates podcast for the kiddos. My kids LOVE it and it has some funny comments for the adults listening as well.

  136. Sarah says:

    You must check @etst on Instagram, she just made a road trip button in highlights that’s amazing!!!

  137. Tina P says:

    For our cross country drive, we listened to Tennis Shoes Among the Nephites audio books. There are so many, but make sure to follow them in order. Very entertaining! Our kids would want to hurry and leave wherever we were so they could listen to more.

  138. Ann says:

    Cross-country move tips: We moved from UT to MD, and took 3 days to get here. Best thing we did was pack basics (shower curtain and rod, basic bedding, TP, towels, cooking basics, etc) because when we arrived to the new house all of our belongings were stuck in Baltimore for a few weeks. Having the basics on-hand was a life saver. We also traveled Route 66 and stopped at random places (world’s largest rocking chair, Cadillac Ranch, a hotel Elvis stayed at, etc.) it was fun for us to be spontaneous. We saw things we would have never have considered otherwise. When the kids were tired we would look up what there was in the area and do it. We allowed ourselves the space to be curious about the country as we travelled across it. The kids did great! It’s funny how staying in hotels and eating out makes everything fun.

  139. Kate says:

    Having moved across the country by car several times myself, and doing cross country road trip vacations every summer as a kid, the first thing I would say is don’t overthink it! Of course everyone is different but as a kid I actually found it really cozy to set up my “space” in the car with pillows, toys, books, etc. We would split our time between listening to music or audiobooks as a family (highly recommend Hank the Cowdog or the Redwall series – fun for adults too) and doing our own thing in the back of the car. We had a lot of fun doing scavenger hunts and trivia questions. The car can also be a great place to have deep conversations – I heard so many stories about my parents’ childhood and got to ask them questions about things I was wondering about. I’ll always remember that. We also limited snacks because you don’t want to eat too much junk and then feel carsick or need to stop, and to be honest, you can get a little blocked up after a few days of sitting! We had big bags of cut up veggies that I still do as an adult for trips. We would get a special drink and small snack (we weren’t usually allowed candy or sugar drinks so a big deal!) when we stopped for gas – and also important that everyone gets out of the car to stretch their legs! You have good kids who get along. Of course emotions will be high and there’s always a squabble, but I feel confident that they will all look back on this fondly as a formative time.

  140. Lindsey says:

    We love road trips and we have 3 kids (9, 7, 5) in a 5 seater car. Over time we’ve come up with a system that works great. Instead of giving them their backpack full of everything they will inevitably let get trampled all over the floor we give them their backpack with coloring stuff and a blank journal for drawing and trip notes. Another fun thing is for them all to have cameras to document the trip. I keep a basket under my feet in front of all the brand new things/games/etc. I never reveal everything at once and I ration them over time. Once my mom made them envelopes with “open at your first stop” or “open when you get to X state” it was fun to look forward to for them. Everybody bathrooms at the same time and we always take time out of the car for snacks. My husband is a stickler for no food in the car. We had goals of how may hours without stopping we could beat. We made it 6 hours and 45 min! Literally a dream come true!! Good luck and have fun!!!

  141. Krista Riemer says:

    We use sea bands for my kids who get car and plane sick and they are fantastic! My husband uses them too when he is not driving. My boys can read, watch movies and never have any trouble. If you can plan time for national park stops have them do the junior ranger program. Even if they don’t finish it at the park you can mail them in to get badges and it fills the time! We did a 3 week road trip hitting a bunch of national parks as the ranger programs were their favorite. https://www.sea-band.com/

  142. Laci says:

    Audio books! We lived in an RV and traveled the country for years and rarely do screen time (not opposed but try to avoid). I read out loud or we listen to a book. We’ve listened to Harry Potter, Rick Riordan books, The Adventurers’ Guide series, and pretty much any other childhood classic you can think of. Also, when we stop for lunch/bathroom/ gas I scout out playgrounds or room to run. Get out there and encourage the girls to play tag or red light green light or have a dance party. Getting them tired is key! A car potty is a must. Perfect for emergencies in the middle of nowhere. Bring all the snacks, and relax all the rules! It will be fun and stressful. You guys will do gteat!

  143. Kim says:

    We play tons of games (“my yellow car” similar to punch buggy but with a yellow car/truck), we also play 20 questions but with animals. We listen to some kid friendly podcasts like “Smash Boom Best” and “But why” … or we just chill and listen to music and let the kids have the iPad for a bit haha.

  144. Sarah says:

    My favorite long road trip hacks: Cheap small plastic/acrylic trays and divided utensil carriers for each child for eating snacks in the car. I got ours from the dollar tree. And I do a bunch of small activities and gifts wrapped in tissue paper/newspaper to get every so often when the kids need a distraction. Another fun thing we do as a family is rotate who’s turn it is to pick the song, each child gets a turn then mom and dad so everyone gets to listen to songs they like.

  145. Wanda says:

    Audio books, travel scavenger hunt list…, Stop for potty breaks and stretch!!, picnic rather than restaurants so they can get wild.

  146. Robin says:

    We road tripped all the time as kids. My parents would pack the car the night before and then we would get on the road really early-like 4:00. We would drive for 3-4 hours…. Kids would sleep, traffic was less and it was just easy driving. We would stop about 7 or 8 and have a nice big breakfast and find a playground. Then, back to the car for another 3-4 hours of driving. Then stop at lunch for our hotel (with a pool). The kids would spend all afternoon in the pool, my parents would take turns resting. As kids, it never felt like we were in the car that long…. And we still drove 7-8 hours each day!

  147. Kate G says:

    My parents took us on multiple cross country road trips when we were young, and I remember car games vividly. Granted, they didn’t even have the option of iPads! But it sounds like that’s not a great options for your girls if they get carsick that fast. So I vote for car games – here are a few random ones that I remember fondly:
    1. Collecting cows – this one is so random. When you pass by a bunch of cows, the kid whose side of the car/road the cows are on gets to estimate how many there are and add them to their farm. I have no idea why I still play this in my head as an adult.
    2. License plate game – I think my mom printed out a US map and if we saw a license plate from a state we could color it in. When you’re driving through so many states it’s fun to “collect” them all.
    3. Alphabet car game – finding a thing that starts with “A”, then starts with a “b” and so on.
    4. The Alphabet Name Game – take turns going through the alphabet saying with the variations on the following phrase “A my name is Alice and my brother’s (or husband’s) name is Adam. We come from Alabama and we sell Apples”. We played this one A LOT.

    Good luck! My husband and I made a major life-changing cross country move a few years ago and I was a MESS of nerves in the month beforehand. Remember to feed yourself and drink water and breathe one breath at a time and it will all be great, promise.

    • Kate says:

      We played the cow game too, only if you saw a white horse- cows doubled. And a cemetery meant you lost all the cows and started over. We would divide the car in half and play teams– left side vs. right side of the road!

  148. Janet says:

    During our family car trips, our daughters made lists of state license plates and of animals we saw. We played the alphabet memory game “I’m going to Grandma’s and I’m going to take my (start with something beginning with the letter a, the next person repeats that and adds something beginning with b and so on (my husband is the best at thinking up ridiculous answers). Keep repeating and adding to take turns and work through the alphabet. We played the Disney song game, taking turns to sing a Disney movie song until we couldn’t think of any more. We also played “Ha ha, starting with serious faces and saying a single “Ha”. taking turns as each person repeated and added another “Ha” to the list. The game ends when all seriousness dissolves into giggles and laughter.

  149. Kathy says:

    Don’t forget the old fashioned car games: finding license plates for 50 states. You can either print a list out or I simply kept track on my iPhone Notes. Also the supermarket game, “I went to the supermarket and I bought A pples.” Next person goes and they pick up with the next letter of the alphabet, but you have to remember all the previous items. “ I went to the supermarket and I bought A pples and B ananas”. It’s fun and very creative for some letters. What’s fun is that the driver can also play. Also the last item is maybe print out some Travel/Roadside Bingo boards.

  150. Candice says:

    I printed a bunch of online sheets for my kids. Map of the US to track license plates, car type bingo, things to find bingo. Then put them into clear plastic sleeves in a binder! They can use dry erase markers to reuse as needed. Mad Libs as well, always fun!

  151. Karla says:

    We moved to NC two years ago with seven kids. Good audiobooks are a must for road trips! Our youngest was four when we moved. When most of our kids were younger, Hank the Cow Dog stories were a hit. Now we like anything by Andrew Clements, The Penderwicks series, Land of Stories, Mr. Limencello’s Library, etc.
    Getting an early start each morning works becasue that’s when my husband likes to drive while the rest of us are still sleepy. We stop at a playground for yogurt, granola bars, etc. after a few hours of driving. We limit the snacks to healthy food because everyone feels better (and acts better) with no food coloring, corn syrup, etc.
    Find a balance of getting the miles in and stopping to run around. See a few new things along the way, and play the license plate game and the alphabet game. Focus on the adventure! You’ve got this. 😊

  152. Cori says:

    It’ll be great! And don’t be afraid if too much ipad time. I drive across the country twice (34 hrs) every year with my family and last year we hit 18 states (a 2, 4, and 7 week trip) I’d definitely call us advanced road trippers. And less is more! Our way has minimal pre-planning!! If you’re interested I’ll make a list of our way.

    • Molly says:

      I have gotten motion sick my whole life. There are these wrist bands that have pressure point nodes on them that work great for kids! Then they could Roblox a little longer and you don’t have to drug them! I would suggest wearing them from the beginning as motion sickness is easy to prevent but hard to treat!

  153. Anya says:

    Listen to a lot of audio stories. We particularly love Adventures in Odyssey ($9/month for membership with the app). Or there are free ones through your library or on YouTube. During quarantine when I thought I was gonna lose it, my mother suggested that to me instead of extra screen time so I could still focus on work. The children are engaged, able to really use their imagination, and give us something different/more to talk about as a family. In fact, my husband and I enjoy it too because it keeps us entertained as well. The other thing I tell the children, is that it is OK to be bored and just learn to enjoy the moment (very challenging but a good exercise). We’re making memories! We usually stop every 3hrs for breaks, even if it’s a picnic in a playground for the kids to blow off steam and get their wiggles out or a walk into a grocery store for more snacks. Hope this helps. x

  154. M says:

    This is a comment more for the adults driving-

    It may seem obvious for some people- but recently I found out it’s not so obvious to others.

    Always park the car where you can see it. (From the restaurant, or bathroom stop)
    Park the car in lighted areas with security cameras if possible. Don’t leave things in the car. If you are traveling with things that need to be left in the car take a dark tarp to cover it at night so that it looks like the car is dark and empty.

    If where you are staying you have the option of valet parking – do valet parking.

    Plan out gas stations early. I drove alone from Florida to NY. Stopping in North Carolina for the night. I almost ran out of gas at night because I was on the phone and I got caught up talking to my mom.

    But through out the trip I had planned out most of my gas stops and made sure “gas stop=bathroom break” to avoid having to stop too often.

    I was alone and packed my meals to avoid spending money/time eating at stops. Bringing snacks is a huge help to avoid crappy junk food that ‘you’ may not eat often.

    I also got sunflower seeds to snack on. It keeps you awake since you have you fidget with them.

    And when it all fails- Car concerts to Disney Movies never fails. (Or any movies you guys may love)

    Safe travels!

  155. Colleen says:

    A little potty lives in the back of my van. Put a bag over it, lay an open diaper in the bottom of the bag – they can pee on it and the diaper soaks it all up. Just tie up the bag and go. So much easier when the weather isn’t good or the public bathrooms are gross.

  156. Brittany says:

    I would absolutely NOT give them all the snacks at the beginning!! In fact, the BEST road trip with kids experience I’ve ever had has been where I gave them a new activity or snack every two hours. So they’d do iPad for two hours, then it’s gone, same thing over and over for sticker books, little toys that you put together or something like kinder eggs or those banana peel toys? do movie for two hours, playing the alphabet game, playing I spy, listening to a book or podcast, listening to Disney music, magnet photo sets, magnet games, coloring books, water wow books, sticker by number books, etc. you give them the activity and then take it away and replace it with the next one every two hours. If they finish early, they have bored time (which is good for kids). And I mix it up between screens and hands on and food and places to stop along with way.

  157. Nancy Stetler says:

    If you don’t aleady, follow Kelle Hampton on @etst … she has the BEST road trip ideas for her family’s annual trip from Florida to Michigan!

  158. Kim says:

    Check out @etst on Instagram. She just shared a huge blog post on her family’s annual summer road trip from Florida to Michigan. She has the best tips from doing the road trip every summer with 3 kiddos.

  159. Naomi says:

    As far as snacks go, we do road trips FL to PA (not quite as long as your trip 😉), I bought each of our kids a small (6-8”, not the large ones) craft box with many compartments (think of boxes that organize beads and other small things). I fill the box with 6-8 different snacks (Cheerios, goldfish, veggie straws, dried fruit, and a couple treats, etc.) that is their snack box for the day and you do not have to worry about getting snacks for them all day long. You can let them have the box all day, or just give it to them when you’d like. It lets them have the choice of snacks. Boxes can be found at any craft store or even dollar stores.

  160. VG says:

    I would add ME readers to the list for your youngest. We use them on every time we get in the car-not just long trips-and have multiple sets. https://www.amazon.com/s?k=me+reader&i=stripbooks&ref=nb_sb_noss We also keep the velcro ball and catch games, frisbee and soccer ball in our car for even quick breaks.

  161. Brianne Hunter says:

    We recently drove to Oregon and we got a scavenger hunt card game from Amazon and my kids (ages 10 and under) all had a blast for hours with it! It would say things like “find a yellow car” or “find an American flag”. They had so much fun trying to find al the things! My baby loved having bubbles to entertain him. Best of luck!

    • Brianne Hunter says:

      Oh and also, we put together snack baggies for each day and told them it was their snacks for the day so that we didn’t have to keep passing out the snacks. We filled it with things like fruit snacks, trail mix, etc.

    • Rachel Y says:

      Audiobooks! My family loves them on road trips! I get a variety of lengths to coordinate with different legs of the trip. Watching movies makes my kids car sick, but audiobooks they love! We always travel with Dramamine though because someone always seems to get car sick anyway. A tip for kid friendly bathrooms on trips is to stop at local libraries when possible. We don’t always do this, but library bathrooms are usually clean and libraries are a familiar setting.

  162. Christina Knight says:

    My advice: Its not going to be as bad as you think it is!😄 Your going to get to Raleigh and say that was actually fun.I know your nervous but retired military wife here, and I have done that same route with 3 kids.Now in their 20’s they still remember the trip (even the not so fun parts which are laughed about until we cry) You’re a thoughtful Mom and will have all the “things”.It’s gonna be great!….

  163. melissa says:

    So many good ideas! We like podcasts. The Story Pirates are a family favorite!

  164. Monica says:

    Some ideas: Harry Potter book 1 audiobook, looking out the window games like find A-Z on billboards and license plates, try to find all the states on license plates.

  165. Alison Baer says:

    These aren’t new ideas but we always bring lots of grocery bags for improvised garbage bags. Also a little potty and some diapers to collect where is going into the potty ( just place it in and toss in the baggy when done).

    As for crayons, hooray love them but they do melt. So keep in mind if you are taking a break and the car might get a bit warm. According to google they melt at 120 degrees (F) and a car can g we to that easy on a 80 degree day if just sitting in the sun. Good Luck!!! Also I have yet to find a way to remove the melted crayon from our cup holders, but the car now smells like crayon which I don’t hate.

  166. Claire says:

    So one time when I was young I was going to be taking a 12 hour road trip and I took Dramamine so that I wouldn’t get car sick and it KNOCKED me out for hours. So I’m not saying drug the kids, but I am saying that if someone is car sick- then that is also a great sleep aid!! Hahaha

    • Betsy says:

      Ha! Ha! My aunt used to say, “just Dimatapp(not sure it is still around) them”. If she was going anywhere longer than a few hours.

      Pillows and blankets. License plate game. quiz games. Would you rather questions geared towards each child. Like for Polly, Would you rather eat an apple, or orange. This always leads to everyone saying they thought she would answer the opposite way. So makes for fun conversations. Make sure to include the adults. I always loved hearing my parents answers. Most important, but the hardest thing to remember is patience with each other. Stop and stretch all your legs frequently. Doesn’t have to be long. Quick 5 minute game of tag is great from stretching the legs. I hope you will blog all about it once in your new home!

  167. Kate says:

    We moved (and drove) across the country earlier this year and our neighbors did such a fun thing for us (two adults) that I bet your kids would love. Before we left they gave us one bag/package for each day of our trip with the number on it. Each morning before we headed out we looked forward to our package and it made it a little more fun to “hop” in the car each day. (Even though I am a middle aged woman, I am a kid when it comes to long car rides!) The first package included fun car games in a spiral bound book and a cool road atlas. The last had $ for something nicer than a fast food meal. I am sure you will get plenty of ideas from others who have children about what to fill the packages with, but I highly recommend a daily round trip suprise package as morning motivation!

  168. AJ says:

    Our kids get carsick anytime they are looking down at screens, so mounting the DVD player up on the headrest has been a lifesaver.

    • Hayley says:

      This x 1000. The second my kids use a screen they hold and look DOWN at they puke. They can watch one mounted high on the headrest for days.

  169. Sarah says:

    We have an tablet holder that attaches to the front passenger seat headrest so they are looking forward and not down while watching movies in the car. This helps with car sickness A LOT! We put an splitter in the headphone jack so they can both listen on their headphones and we can listen to whatever we want up front! It also helps to plan for pit stops every 3 hours – just stretching your legs is all you need sometimes to be refreshed for the next leg. (And always stay in a hotel with a pool if possible – it’s all kids need to feel like they are having fun!) Good luck!! 🤞🤞🤞 It will be so memorable.

  170. Meredith says:

    On family road trips we’d always listen to an audio book or two as a family. Something with good voices and a fun plot (in the late 90s early 00s, this usually meant the Harry Potter Books). It’s nice because it’s entertaining, but you can still look out the windows.

    My mom would also put together a boredom box for long road trips. She would fill it with little activities, crafts, books, toys etc. and hand something out whenever we became especially insufferable (lol). Things like pipe cleaner bracelet making kits, a little lego to put together, a new coloring book, her favorite childhood book that I hadn’t read, a new car game for us to play as a family (20 questions, eye spy, the license plate game, etc).

    As an adult, I’ve done a few long haul road trips (including a cross country trip with two cats). The days that I’ve liked the best are the ones where we plan to make a longer stop (~2 hours) in the middle of the day to sight see, especially if that involves something active (long walk or a hike). National parks are great for this. I also tend to do better when I limit the number of hours I’m driving per day to about 8, get up at a normal time, and plan some time to unwind in the evening at the hotel.

  171. Emily says:

    We’re a bit unorthodox bc while we road trip A LOT with littles (1&3), we do our driving at night. We’ve found if we want to get anywhere with any haste, we need to do it with the kids sleeping to minimize stops. We can do a 10 hour trip overnight and just get to where we’re going, whereas day driving that 10 hour trip would turn into 13-15 hours. Now, your trip is much longer an adventure, so I know you won’t do a night haul, but if there is any portion that you want to get “done” with relatively few stops, I highly recommend a night portion. other than that, audiobooks and plan for your travel legs to take a bit longer than you may have planned for. It might be easier since your girls are older and can participate in planning stops, etc.

  172. Emily says:

    Sharing DJ duties! While playing thé games suggested, it’s so much fun to allow each family member to select the music / podcast for a specific period of time. This way you’re sharing music and everyone is part of the decision making process.

  173. Jess says:

    To avoid the constant “ARE WE THERE YET?!” and sibling fights, give them a set amount of money at the beginning. We put it each kid’s in a plastic bag on the console so they can see/be reminded but not play with it. Each time they ask how much longer or pick a fight with their sister, a set amount gets taken away. Then once you get to the end of the trip, what’s left is theirs to spend! To make it even simpler, we usually just use quarters and designate it to be used at a specific place like a candy store.

  174. Ashley says:

    Wrap small gifts to give the girls every couple of hours. Even wrap their snacks. It makes it much more fun to have little gifts to open, even if it’s just an applesauce pouch or a new coloring book. I number the gifts and keep a master list, so I can give a snack gift if everyone’s starting to get hungry.
    Also, listen to an audio book together. It makes the time pass much better for everyone!

  175. Samantha says:

    Yes in the car is the hardest! Window cling stickers are fun and reusable. I get carsick reading so books on tape or whatever they call them now are great. Podcasts. I would monitor snacks or just let them go crazy but make stops for more if they do. Also just go with the feelings flow as this isn’t a vacation it’s a big life change. Let them feel those feelings head on as they come up. The journey is part of the change but we often just want to distract ourselves from that part. It’s going to be equal parts sad and exciting.

  176. Michelle says:

    Car bingo. My kids play it over and over! There is country one and a city one.

    Regal Games Original Assorted Auto and Interstate Travel Bingo Set, Bingo Cards Great for Family Vacations, Car Rides, and Road Trips, Multi Color, 4 Pack https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00BJOG0LE/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_fabc_2J9YD4DEQPFDVS3JH7T3

    Also, try to find a license plate for every state. We did this just here in Idaho Falls a couple summers ago and my older son was in heaven. We kept a tablet in the car and wrote them down as we saw them. Greta would love that!
    It’s also a great time to journal the trip and their thoughts about everything! Maybe a cute travel themed journal for the older girls.

  177. Faith says:

    So many great suggestions already! We always plan our stops at parks or a green space for kids to run around so we either pack food or get to-go. We’ve also found rest area bathrooms to be much cleaner than gas stations. And don’t forget the bridge in Memphis is out if you’re route takes you that way. 😉

  178. Carron says:

    My husband was in the army, so we moved our kids around many times, always leaving behind the familiar for the unfamiliar. We’ve moved cross country and back too. I will say, that if you can make the most of your route, where you plan stops to see the highlights of this beautiful country, it will not be wasted. When we moved from NC to Oregon several years ago, we went through Glacier NP, Mt Rushmore, and stopped in St Louis to see the Gateway Arch.
    If that isn’t an option, pack lunches every day and find parks/ playgrounds on the way for lunch and a car break. It always worked for our kids.
    By the way, we’ve since moved back to NC because it is our favorite state!!

    With your love of architecture, you must visit Beaufort, NC on the coast for a casual stroll past some really beautiful old homes.😉

  179. Tarynkay says:

    Road trips: We often drive from NC to FL, about a 14 hour drive. We do it in one very long day, leaving at about 5am. We put the mostly asleep kids in the car and have breakfast after a few hours. The kids are very active 5 and 9 year old boys.

    Audiobooks! We get these for free through our library on Hoopla and Libby. We give the kids coloring books/things to draw on. They love dry erase boards in the car. They listen to their books (with headphones!) while they color.

    We have tried doing movies and video games on the way down but they get super cranky after so many hours of this. With the audiobooks, they will listen and then fall asleep after a while.

    We stop frequently for running around/jumping jack breaks at rest stops. Every time we stop, everyone has to try to use the bathroom.

    Our kids are absolutely thrilled to pick out and buy their own treats at gas stations. I’d say don’t pack any treats, just healthy snacks like baby carrots. Give each girl a couple of dollars when you stop and let her pick something out. Unless there are actual allergy concerns, try not to interfere with their selections bc this just drags everything out and makes it less fun and yes, circus peanuts are gross but it’s ok to find that out on your own. I learned this by doing. Also establish a time limit, like everyone gets 5 minutes to choose bc my kids could easily spend 3 hours deliberating in the candy aisle.

    If your kids like gum, distribute unlimited gum. It really helps some people not get carsick.

    When we have gone on longer trips and stayed at hotels, we always try and find one with a pool. It’s so helpful for the kids to be able to swim between long days of driving.

  180. Megan says:

    My friend’s mom packed us a road trip surprise, and it was awesome. Each hour we opened a package and there’d be a note and something different—a snack, a little game to play, trivia, music to play, etc. So much fun. Trip was maybe 12 hours, might be good for first and or last day.

  181. Annette says:

    We’ve done many cross country road trips with our kids. One of our favorite ways to pass the time are family chat pack games. They are cards that ask kid appropriate questions, and the whole family can have fun hearing each other’s answers. Some are like “would you rather” questions, some are more thought provoking. We have several iterations of these games. (we also love to do these while eating dinner at home).

    https://www.amazon.com/Chat-Pack-Kids-Bret-Nicholaus/dp/0975580159/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3VKSJPWWSIEH0&dchild=1&keywords=kids+chat+pack&qid=1622815397&sprefix=kid+chat+pa%2Caps%2C199&sr=8-1

    https://www.amazon.com/What-If-Jar-Questions-Dilemmas/dp/1631982028/ref=sr_1_2?crid=3VKSJPWWSIEH0&dchild=1&keywords=kids+chat+pack&qid=1622815540&sprefix=kid+chat+pa%2Caps%2C199&sr=8-2

    Also we love to make a big deal about crossing state lines. Pulling over to take a picture with a Welcome to ___ is fun. Also we have printed out a map of the trip so every time we passed through a state they could color it in or if nothing else, X it out so they have a visual of how far you’ve been and how far you have to go.

    Another thing about passing through states, each kid can pick a simple treat. Put as many in a bag as the states you’ll be passing through. Each time you enter a new state, they get one treat, when the bag is empty, you’ll be in NC. Another visual way they can keep track of the distance.

    Any roadside attraction is worth a quick stop. On a drive from Florida to Colorado, we stopped for pictures at the worlds largest Superman Statue, worlds largest art easel, worlds largest ketchup bottle, a Buffalo Bill statue and welcome center, Wizard of Oz museum (in Kansas of course), and so on. Some were a 10 minute stop, some were an hour. But all worth it.

    One last thing. If you happen to be passing through St. Louis, do your family a favor and stop at the City Museum for a few hours. It was the coolest place we have ever taken our kids. It’s amazing but so hard to describe, but look it up and you’ll understand. They can get out some pent up energy for the next leg of the drive and have great memories. https://www.citymuseum.org/

    Enjoy your journey and can’t wait to follow along.

  182. Shannon says:

    We road trip 27 hours from Denver to NJ every summer with our kids. We started when they were 7 & 5. WE learned lots over the years. First – don’t hold too firmly to time expectations. When we started this, our son who was 5 had to go to the bathroom A LOT. I got frustrated in the beginning and then just said ‘it is what it is’ and we stop whenever the kids asked. There is “the world’s largest rest stop” near Des Moines IA and it’s a big deal. We ALWAYS stop…weird, i know. We have to do 1-2 hours screen free at the beginning of each day’s drive. we talk, we play games, they read books. but no screens. other than that, they do what they want – listen to music, watch videos, sleep. we do about 9 hours of driving per day. we’ve never done treats or new toys. they each have a car bag and they can bring what they want. my daughter will make friendship bracelets, my son will play with his little action figures. my kids are and have always been amazing in the car. we’ve never had a melt down. ever, in 6 years of making this trip. staying in hotels is a thrill for them, even though we stay in the exact same hotels every year…

  183. Tasha says:

    Kid friendly Ideas:

    1. Sensory bins they can have on their lap (works for older kids as well) I would put play-doh and tools/small figures. Anything to keep imagination going and keeping them from being bored.

    2. Clipboards with paper/pens/crayons/markers.
    Also check out busy books on amazon.

    3. Maybe get them each a disposable camera to take pictures along the way. Remember how exciting it used to be to get those rolls printed!

    4. Audiobooks are also a must for long road trips.

    5. reusable stickers / window friendly stickers to decorate the windows (messy but fun!)

    6. All the mini car games!

    7. healthy snacks (pack a cooler with fresh fruits/veggies)

    8. Remember to take breaks often and move. If they have scooters, take those and they can ride them around when you take breaks.

  184. Colette says:

    Go check out Kelle Hampton’s @etst road trip highlight, she just posted a few days ago. She has SO many great ideas and links everything! They go to MI every summer. Good luck!!

  185. Jodi says:

    We did a cross-country move with our 2 and 3.5 year old last year and we did 35 hours in 3 days! It went really well, and I think the biggest thing is to be super organized and make as few stops as possible. Plan your food, bathroom and fuel stops together (expect 45-60 mins for this).

    Pack twice as many snacks as you think you’ll need, more variety the better! Our lifesavers were mess free colouring, color forms and movies on the tablet. As adults, good conversation, a good music playlist and our Nintendo switch made the drive enjoyable.

    My parents used to drag the road trip out as kids (6-8 hours a day), camping and sight-seeing along the way. I wouldn’t recommend it. It was way more manageable to power through 3 days than spend 5+ days in the car!

    Best of luck!

    PS: Biggest hack for night time driving: glow sticks! Keeps the kids entertained for hours.

  186. Kate says:

    We have two young kids and before a recent road trip, I bought them each a cookie sheet to use as a tray. It helped keep small pieces contained, they could use it to color/write, or as a place to eat. I found some magnet activities that stuck to the sheets also to occupy time. They didn’t take up a ton of room which was helpful.
    My kids also get sick looking down at iPads, but we’ve had much better luck if they are looking up at the entertainment system in the car. So maybe putting the iPads on the back of the seats to watch a movie will help?
    Safe travels!

  187. Shannon Kovanda says:

    Check @etst (Kelle Hampton) road trip tips stories on Instagram! She has amazing ideas!

  188. Selena says:

    We recently did a (much shorter) road trip to move three states away. I used Young House Love’s idea to pass out a new toy (water Wow coloring pads, Crayola mess free coloring pads, small toys they love but haven’t used in a while, special snacks, etc.) every hour or so. Tablets were definitely in the rotation but were time limited. I think your girls may be old enough to enjoy a state license plate scavenger hunt (again, from Young House Love :)), and I love free printable road trip scavenger huts that you can pick based on their abilities.

    We also tried to plan our stops at playgrounds or other fun places where the kids would be engaged and get their energy out. I also made a spotify playlist of songs my kids love and that I can stand so I don’t have to listen to the same tv show album on repeat.

    Also, their own backpacks that they pack themselves is gold. My family did a yearly 20-hour road trip one way for our vacation, and my siblings and I loved it.

  189. Amanda says:

    Bubble wrap! What kid can resist popping those bubbles.
    Also, dollar store cookie sheets make great little magnet boards for tic tac toe or magnetic dolls.

  190. Brit says:

    Hi Julia! I don’t know if I have a lot of specific advice for you, as my little one is only 18 months now. But I wanted to share that I grew up roadtripping allll the time, with my family of six. We regularly had two-day road trips, but when I was 8 or 9 we drove from VA to CA for a move. I look back on those memories very fondly! It was definitely chaotic at times (4 kids under 10) and boring at times (what a gift these days, to be bored!), but I loved it. Like you, my mom planned for places to stop along the way. She also made us each little travel bags with new toys (mostly from the dollar store), books, and treats/snacks. If I remember right, we got to pick one new thing from the bag each hour or maybe it was every few hours.. it kept things fun! We also had a portable DVD player in the car that helped but we had limits on how much we could watch in the day. But much of the trip was also spent staring out the windows, daydreaming, or playing road trip games with my family. I just wanted to share this to validate the stress and anxiety I’m sure you’re feeling, and also to remind you that it doesn’t have to be perfect! There will be fights, and complaints, but the trip in and of itself is a new adventure for your kids and your family… I bet you will all make wonderful memories in the midst of the mess and grief of moving. Hope all the best for you in this journey!

  191. Tara says:

    We travel by car a lot with our four young kids. My best advice is to stop at regular intervals. When we had 4 under 5, it was every two hours. Now that we have 4 under 10 it’s more like every 4 hours. Every four hours get out of the car for a meaningful stop. That usually includes a meal and a trip to a playground or attraction, maybe a special ice cream shop. The stops take about an hour, sometimes longer if we’re having fun. It gives the kids something to look forward to and everyone gets back into the car feeling refreshed. My other advice is actually NOT to bring too much for them to do. Maybe one thing per day. An activity/coloring book one day, a road trip scavenger hunt the next, etc. Give the readers a couple of good books to read. We usually give them nothing to do until after the first break, and they gave a great time talking, etc. Put the ipads/DVD players away and save them for when YOU really need a break. We usually do one movie per day with bags of popcorn. I find that if you give them too much to do it actually backfires. Make everything a special treat and something to look forward to (keeping treats/toys to a minimum is key!). Kids are great at being creative and will keep themselves occupied. You’re going to have a great time. Good luck!!

  192. Paula Patton says:

    Collapsible trash containers so they dont hand you everything!!! I use an insulated bag from grocery store for leaks.. wine bags work great..fyi

    Yes, they will eat all snacks if you give them to them.. I used a smallish container bigger than plastic shoe box , with clamps to put all snacks in..

    Reward items for doing something kind!! This always was a hit, to be kind to their siblings.. simple items.. but never food..

    For older, Journal scrapbook!! To pick up postcards or menus along the way.. and write a storybook of trip..

  193. Brenda T Grover says:

    We moved cross country with a 5&9yo. before ipads, cell phones,google.. the one thing we did was stop every 2 hrs. for a short break to move around, toss a ball anything to get the wiggles out..:)…also made little daily gift bags, with a treat,book,or car game in it.Safe travels
    Brenda

  194. Laura says:

    We did non screens before lunch, then screens in the afternoon. Books, audiobooks (great for even non-readers). Triangle crayons, coloring books & lap desks. Stickers. Window clings. Fun mini hikes or pretty places to walk & move around. We stayed at hotels with pools for evening swimming. And started driving early in the morning so the kids would usually sleep an extra hour or two in the car. I never did the midnight driving thing because I can’t do that personally. I’d fall asleep. So we’d start driving at 5/6 am then everyone would have the same bed time.

  195. Laura says:

    Every other year we road trip from Raleigh to the ranch I grew up on in Montana (a 32-hour drive) with our five kids. We do a 3-hour rotation of activities. One hour we listen to a family friendly audio book together, one hour the kids get screen time and the third hour is rest/personal reading time/card games (whatever the group chooses). It seems to help the hours tick down. Color by Number, license plate books, travel bingo and boogie boards are good time passing activities.

  196. Rochelle Anderson says:

    I love this blog post from Kelle Hampton with Road trip hacks. https://kellehampton.com/2021/05/__trashed/

  197. License plate game! I’m sure they’re on Amazon, we’ve had ours for years and our road trips from Seattle to LA have used these non stop. We also listen to books on Audible. Let the girls pick out a book each and it’s amazing how long they are! We hand out snacks on the trip because our girls will eat all the things in the first 15 mins of being in the car.

    • Megan says:

      My parents did a version of the License Plate game that we hated (but as an adult I now appreciate – just don’t tell my parents!). When we see a new license plate – what is the capital of that state; other major cities in that state; major rivers/landmarks/etc.; what are the states around that state and the capital of those states; etc. you can keep it going and going.

  198. Nicola says:

    Audiobooks and family friendly podcasts have been great for our road trips. Also, there are games specifically for car rides, like bingo cards that you can print and the kids have to look out the window to find certain things (e.g. a red car, a motorcycle, a restaurant billboard, a city that starts with a D, etc.). We also used to play a game where you had to make sentences out of license plate numbers,. For example if the license plate was AG4DH, you have to take each digit and make it the first letter of the words in the sentence – Adam Got 4 Dog Houses.

    • EJ says:

      I’ve done many long road trips from moving with my kids (thanks military). We have dual portable DVD players that can both play the same movie or can play separate ones and then just put headphones on. We always pack a small soft sided cooler with snacks and drinks. We brought some sandwiches, chips and fruit so that we could stop at a rest area for a picnic so they can stretch their legs for a bit mid day too (super fatty/greasy fast food often made one of my kid’s car sickness worse.)
      Also we also packed a storage bin with things we would need at the house before our goods would arrive; blowup mattresses/blankets/pillows, Paper plates/towels, toilet paper, towels, a shower curtain if needed, plastic utensils, insulated cups, a pot/pan, garbage bags, our coffee machine (essential for my husband), a board game/cards, and whatever we needed to get internet asap. This storage box was a life saver when we arrived at our new house at 3am one time.
      On road trips as a kid I wrote in a diary each day, you could also get them a basic digital camera and they could do a digital diary. Car bingo is always fun and I enjoyed making string friendship bracelets using embroidery floss but I’m sure there are kits that include ways to make different patterns now as well. My mom loved it because it wasn’t messy, I was quiet the whole ride and I’d hand them out to people along the way (ie a waiter, some who gave us directions, a kid I made friends with at a park, etc)

  199. Terry says:

    We did several across country trips with my girls. We got them physical maps. They highlighted the routes we took. Back in the days, they had no Yelp. They used travel books to find places to stop. They found rest stops for breaks, ice cream places for an afternoon snacks, restaurants to eat. They chose them all. Sometimes they would find hotels too. Now with maps on their iPads, they could really be involved in the planning. Even now they still talk about songs they listened to on the trip and how we all sang these songs. It will be a great experience and memories will be made!!!

  200. Liz says:

    We take long trips in our car all the time, and my girls get carsick when on their ipads as well. We actually have a lot of fun just playing old school games like the alphabet game (trying to find each letter of the alphabet on signs and billboards), 20 questions and I spy. Audiobooks the the whole family can listen to and enjoy is always fun, too! Also snacks! Lots and lots of snacks!!

  201. Camille says:

    Welcome to the east Marcums! It’s fun to watch your process for moving out this way, we are in Georgia and love the Carolinas! We did the move with toddlers 5 years ago and have driven cross country several times now. Here’s my tips: keep screen time for the second half of the day, that way if anyone gets sick they don’t have to struggle with it all day and it makes the time when it starts getting hard to be in the car go faster. Also do what you can to get screens up on head rests etc, not in laps (hurt necks and sickness will follow). We try to do tunes/musicals/audiobooks in the morning hours, and each of my kids gets a box to rest their feet on that doubles as toy/activities storage. Also, make sure to have a cooler with food you’re used to eating (helps a lot with car sickness) this year we’re investing in a cooler than can plug into the car so we don’t have to deal with ice. We stop at grocery stores more than restaurants and always feel better eating fruit and food from there. We use the long lidded plastic tubs for putting meals into for kids (think Costco sized turkey container). It’s so much easier to place that in their lap with everything in it, and have a lid for leftovers or snack time. Also a wrapped little gift for each day helps a lot for toddlers who don’t want to get back in the car after breaks haha. Good luck prepping!

  202. Aubrey says:

    Audiobooks! Audiobooks are our saving grace on long road trips. And the bonus is that it is a shared activity, so even when they get turned off you can all still talk about the characters or the plot or what they might have done differently. Rachel McAdams narrates a great “Anne of Green Gables.” We especially love Narnia. The BFG is silly fun.

  203. Anna says:

    Books on tape and the Hamilton soundtrack! It’s a great time to introduce classic literature. My kids love the Hobbit and the Wizard of Oz. Also, my family drove across the country when I was a young teenager and my mom read Laura Ingalls Wilder aloud.

    • Totally agree. Books on tape (now on podcasts or audio) are wonderful. One summer, my kids listened to all the Lemony Snicket books while driving back and forth to their outdoor day camp. There’s also a fun version of Mary Poppins out there. Enjoy!

  204. Christy says:

    For car trip or even visits to the playground with gross or no bathrooms, we keep the OXO Go Potty seat/chair in the car. It comes with bags to easily and cleanly dispose after use and it all goes into a drawstring bag to store. Would recommend!

  205. Shari G says:

    Get the Melissa and Doug license plate game. I bet you could get at least 48 states if not all 50 states on a trip that long and far. We got 40 states on a weeklong trip from salt lake to Disneyland. We still talk about how we didn’t get Wyoming until we were an hour away from home!

  206. Alicia says:

    We’ve done many many car trips as a family of 6 over the years (and many international flights) because of our work. I did the cutest divided tray snack deal one year and indeed it was all gone in 30 minutes and people felt sick. I recommend snacks periodically. My girls fav roadtrip “toy” were the Usborne sticker books. They are easy to do in the car. They have an interior design one and fashion design one which mine have liked as they’ve gotten older. Bring an active toy for the pit stops. Playing a quick game of four square or throwing a ball around or tag after visiting the restroom was always helpful. They should be out of breath when you get back in the car! We loved listening to audiobooks as a family. One of my daughters loved doing origami on car trips.
    Embrace the hard too! We just made an international move (forced during the pandemic) and it’s been brutal. But life is hard! We are resilient. We can feel sad and excited all at once! We’re learning how to go through hard feelings together. You’re “packing their life backpacks”. This won’t be the first time they will have to endure really difficult things.

  207. ANS says:

    Our biggest win on long car trips for my 6-year old daughter has been audiobooks. She listened to the entire Chronicles of Narnia series on our drive to/from Colorado for Spring Break this year! And for whatever reason, we don’t see the same negative behavioral affects as with watching movies/shows for that long.

  208. Karla says:

    Can you do a day trip to Sun Valley and back before you leave? That way you can see how they do with 6 hours or so in a car before you leave so you can gauge what works and doesn’t work. Plus Sun Valley is beautiful and you can eat and look around before you move.

  209. Angela says:

    Congrats on your move. We drove from SF to NY last summer with two kids, 4 and 7. We drove between 5.5 and 7.5 hours per day with a break in the middle to stretch our legs, eat our packed lunch outside, buy a snack at a rest area, etc. The longer days were much harder and to be honest I would consider adding one more day to your trip and reducing the hours per day if I were you. A fun day gets un-fun when it’s too many hours in the car.
    We bought a Bluetooth wireless speaker that we kept in the back with the kids and played audio books almost the whole time— classics like tales of a fourth grade nothing and that series, Charlie and the chocolate factory, Beezus and Ramona and other Beverly Cleary books. They were a bit advanced for our 4 1/2 year old but she still listened and enjoyed. We also played games like “guessing game” where someone thinks of something and gives clues until someone gets it and then that person has a turn giving the clues. We also talked about where we were driving through, noted the terrain, read from Wikipedia about the state or city. We spotted cool things like trains with 100 cars and huge car carriers. We counted Amazon trucks or flags or other things on the road the kids found interesting. We stayed at Airbnb’s and made sure to arrive with time for dinner and outdoor play. I tried to find ones with fun stuff like an outdoor swing, a fun bathtub, a trampoline or a good playground nearby. Because it was 2020 we did no tourist stuff, everything was closed. We drove around though to check out the town or city and just tried to find something interesting or joyful where we could. Our trip was to temporarily move our family to NY. We were so grateful to find that the road trip was fun and delightful.
    All the best to you on your new path!! It sounds like a great move.

    • Amanda W says:

      We do multiple trips a year from NC to ND with 4 kids and a dog… you definitely sound like you’re prepared. Different snacks that they don’t always have at home are fun and I usually have a prize bag that they get to pick something from every few hours (3-5 hrs or so). The prizes are normally from the dollar store or Target… coloring or activity books, stickers, little journals (encourage them to write or draw about things they see along the way).
      For the adults: give yourselves grace and patience, we view the trip as part of our vacation and adventure so are open to changing plans a little if needed. Honestly one of the best stops we’ve made along a road trip was at Costco… clean bathrooms, walked around to stretch and a pretty cheap food option, then filled with gas on the way out. It was enough time out of the car and a familiar layout and feel.
      Good luck, it will be an adventure and your girls will remember it forever!

  210. Ali says:

    Movies! Having a dvd player in the car completely changed our road trips. I also have gone to Dollar Tree to get fun little toys and activities and put them in brown paper treat bags to pull out at certain times. ie, who can bounce their bouncy ball the highest at the rest area, window clings for the car, etc. i made for a very memorable trip for them and the effort in advance definitely paid off.

  211. Lisa says:

    Kelle Hampton @etst on Insta has blogged and posted great tips for road trips!
    Good luck!!

  212. Sabrina says:

    I remember YoungHouseLove had a podcast (# 176 I think) about keeping their kids busy and content during the drive for their move last year. I’d hit up John and Sherry for some tips!

  213. Vanessa says:

    Just did a big move from Portland to Minneapolis with a dog and 3.5 year old on a 7 day road trip. Our friends gave us the best gift – a tote with a new wrapped car activity (water wow, wiki sticks, coloring book, etc) 1 for each day of the trip. Our kiddo was STOKED to open his new activity each morning. It kept him occupied for at least a few hours each morning. Then we got through to lunch time and did screen time after lunch. We also never did more than 6 hours a day in the car. Also tons of snacks. Best of luck!

  214. Rebecca says:

    It’s going to be better than you think. We’ve done cross country trips w our 6 kids and it was fun. The stops make it interesting. I took a cross country trip from ca to Va when I was a child and my grandma brought a gift for my cousin and me to open each day. That was THE most special thing anyone had ever done for me and still remember it to this day 40ish years ago. I wanted to be so good to get that wrapped gift every day.

  215. Natasha says:

    Hi Julia! We drove from California to Raleigh for our move 5 years ago. The most helpful thing was wrapping small presents my daughter could use such as sticker books, scratch art, small fidgets etc. We used post it’s to count down every 100 miles and then offered a small present or snack then. Wrapping each item made it exciting and we just kept small trash can at our feet to collect everything. Also road bingo was super fun!

  216. DJ says:

    Wiki Sticks!! We drove from Seattle to Chicago twice with young kids (starting at 4 years old). And it’s shocking how much they played with these. Also, lap desks so they could draw, etc. Sometimes they watched videos and played video games, but I was surprised how much they just entertained each other. We offered them ziploc baggies of new/used stuff each day. Art supplies, little toys, books, etc. It wasn’t much, but it was enough to keep them excited so that I could enjoy my trip. Love a good road trip! Also, we put little treats (like chocolate chips) in a plastic Easter egg. They enjoyed the novelty of that.

  217. Steph says:

    Some ideas for your trip:

    – Clipboards with fresh notebooks and fun pens.
    – Neck pillows, Amazon has some that look like animals and my girls love them!
    – Activity books are also great, like the ones from Highlights

    Welcome (back) to the east coast! Safe travels!

  218. Dana says:

    My kids are out of college now so this may be “old-fashion” advice BUT for what it’s worth…. Road Trip Advice that worked for me:
    Michele’s sells these awesome plastic colorful trays, they have pockets on the sides great for eating and creating.. I had one for each child.
    Musical soundtracks (Spotify) for car Karaoke.
    Colorful sticky notes. My kids would create cartoons, picture stories, play waiter and stick the notes all over the windows.
    Once I found this coloring book where u created “stained glass” artwork and could hang in windows.
    i gave my kids $. (Not a lot) they could buy a special treat in Convenient stores. It’s amazing what they find.
    A tool kit with all my emergency things . Band aids, motion sickness meds, vomit bags, extra TP, wipes, tweezers, matches, allergy meds, eye drops, etc.
    Don’t forget extra LONG chargers.

    happy journey.
    Road trips are still to this day our most precious memories.

    You got this!
    Xo
    D

  219. Roberta says:

    Years ago we bought Road Trip BINGO cards from “Restoration Hardware”. Back then they sold more novelty toys and gifts. Loved them! Now you can find them on Amazon.
    Regal Games Original Assorted Auto and Interstate Travel Bingo Set, Bingo Cards Great for Family Vacations, Car Rides, and Road Trips, Multi Color, 4 Pack https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00BJOG0LE/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_fabc_V6HT9G2DWD4SA1Q7WWBG
    ALL the travel games like Yahtzee and Hangman (the original handheld games ;).
    Nowadays I read books out loud to my Hubby as he drives. Makes time go by much faster and he’d never read on his own! So good book series like THE BOXCAR CHILDREN works for all age groups like your girls. Have fun!

  220. Makila says:

    I think your family would love listening to the American Girl stories on audio. My girls were about the ages of your girls when we all listened on a long trip. My husband, son and I even loved them. Start with Rebecca, she is a favorite but they are all good.

  221. Meg says:

    We really like kids audio books for drives. Everyone can listen and they aren’t glued to a device. I usually don’t allow devices until halfway through the drive day. I also pack them a lunch or just a bunch of snacks in their lunchbox so they can have it near them and there isn’t any fighting over the snacks.

  222. Mandaliah says:

    We have done it lots of times, we move alot 🥴 but we also really dig road trips too. A dvd player helps and we have three children who have to agree on the movie so that takes up alot of time and skill for each of them to negotiate and agree. Our car has a dvd player and while we also have a portable player, it’s terrible and wouldn’t recommend it. We talk alot about the landscape, where to stop for lunch, what we’ll eat for lunch, people we’ll meet and what our new house will look and be like. A friend highly recommends audiobooks that all the kids might enjoy, mine have never really loved listening to books unless its me reading lol. We also stop and see just about everyone we know on our way and try to plan our stops accordingly and that has always helped my kids have something to look forward to that day. The hotel pool also is a great place to burn energy and the one thing the kids are always excited about. There is usually some good naps in there too, even my most “not tired” one. Our kids also have their own inexpensive digital cameras and they get to make an album of our travels with their photos. Safe travels and have the best time making some great memories – you got this!

  223. Holly Meyer Berry says:

    Road trip ideas – books for you to read in the car out loud (Serafina and the Black cloak) takes place in Asheville, NC at the Blitmore house. A parent reading helps because you can censor if needed. We take all devices and it gives everyone some down time from screens. Or fun books about the history of Raleigh/North Carolina.

    Surprise snack bags for each day with each kids fav snacks and candy – surprise toy or fun item new book, activity book. dollar store or five below is great for these.

    Mystery movie – give clues, but no one can complain about the pick for each day.

    Find Cool Parks to visits for exercise and get your beans out. Near hotel or food stops… we have a son who skateboards and we now goto skateparks everywhere we travel. Even in Europe, it takes us to fun little neighborhoods to explore. (When you get to Raleigh Pullen Park is a gem)

    Good luck and safe travels!! It will be crazy, but you will make some great memories!!

    Welcome to Raleigh!! It’s a great little city!!

  224. Carina says:

    I have never taken a road trip with young kids but have been on countless road trips as a kid. I am from the Netherlands and every summer and sometimes winter we would drive to Italy or Switzerland for vacation. One of the things my mom did that made the whole thing fun was she bought a ton of arts and crafts supplies. We had paper, scissors, glue, pencils, crayons, markers, etc. When we arrived at our destination all of our crafts would fall out of the car. It was a bit messy but I know it helped us deal with the long trip. I always loved reading so I would pick a few books for on the way as well. We would stop for potty breaks and lunch.

  225. Amber says:

    My girls get upset stomachs in the car too, we use nausea bands (bought on amazon that they wear on their wrist) and also bought actual barf bags that we keep in cubbies by their seats just in case!

  226. Anna says:

    Folding travels trays. They were a lifesaver for our cross country trip. The kids could eat on them, color, play with toys, etc.

  227. Amanda says:

    We just wrapped 18 hours with a 3 year old driving. My tips are
    -comfy clothes.
    -easy on the stomach foods (but also if they eat fries all day that’s okay too).
    -Start as EARLY as possible. My kid is prone to evening meltdowns, so starting early allowed us to get to our locations (most of the time) with enough time for her to play and eat a good dinner.
    -Stop every 2 hours or so. With a newly potty trained kiddo this was crucial, but it also breaks it up and lets you stretch. We only stop for 10 minutes or so at a rest stop.
    -Blankets, pillows, each kids lovie of choice.
    -Last tip is controversial – I go to Five Below/Dollar Store/Target and buy cheap junk to keep her occupied in the car. Preschool workbooks, a new doll, Chuckle and Roar at Target has great car items, Melissa and Doug re-usable stickers. We hold off on new stuff as long as possible but sometimes the last hour pulling out a new Barbie saves you.

    Good luck! You only have to do this once!

  228. Sara says:

    Good luck on your road trip! Breaking it down in to 5 days will help a lot, especially if you are planning fun stops along the way. We took a cross country road trip, KY to CA, with my family of (then) six kids when I was 8 and I have fond memories of all the sights we saw along the way.

    I give my kids Children’s Dramamine for any road trip, especially if I know they’ll be playing on a tablet. Otherwise I also download plenty of movies and shows on them (Disney and Netflix both allow this option), and get holders to put on the headrests so they aren’t looking down at them the whole time. We also love the Color Wonder markers and any sort of non-messy art for the car, and I’m buying some fidget bubble pop toys (Amazon) to keep them busy as well. Yours are also old enough you can make games out of spotting license plates and various things along your trip and keeping track.

    If you have kids prone to car sickness then I wouldn’t give them all their snacks at once and instead dole out when they are hungry. We made the mistake of letting my daughter eat her snacks at her own pace on a plane trip and let’s just say, it didn’t end well.

    Good luck!

  229. Amy L says:

    It’s going to be an adventure! When we drove across country with our kids to move from CA to TN, we talked it up. We made sure that it seemed like the trip was going to be so much fun!! If they go into it with a good attitude, it will make it sooooooo much easier. I then made sure I tried to make it fun 😉. I also was sure to explain to them that we would be in the car alllllllll day long for several days; so they knew what to expect. I stuffed a backpack full of different, cheap little toys that could be played with in the car. Matchbox cars, puzzles, coloring books, a new book to read. . .I would hand new ones out every couple hours or every 100 miles or something like that. A DVD player is definitely helpful. I always try to vary screen time with non screen time; so no one gets too grumpy from too much screen time. Also, audio books!!!!! My kids love them, and they can listen while coloring or looking out the window. We have listened to sooo many good books on long trips, that have really helped to create fun family memories. You’ve got this. Our trip across country ended up being much more pleasant than I thought; and I’m hoping yours will be too!

  230. Jenise says:

    We love to listen to audiobooks on road trips! My kids are 7 and 11 and over the past couple of years we’ve worked our way through the Percy Jackson books. I’d also love to listen to all the Harry Potter books, (even though we’ve read them and seen the movies). Best wishes for your big move! All of us in Raleigh are excited to welcome you here!

  231. Wendy says:

    It’s normal to feel anxious about such a big change. Just remember it will all work out. Enjoy the journey. We used take long road trips when I was a kid. My mom’s trick was to leave around 3am so that I would sleep for a big portion of it. We’d also play games like name all of the states. Since yours get car sick when they look at their IPads, how about having things they can listen to on an ear piece instead? Perhaps get a camera for them so they can take photos along the way. It’s also okay for them to be a little bored.

  232. Erika says:

    100% ditto to the travel potty! Look up the OXO tot travel potty on Amazon. It’s collapsible and compact and I make my own “potty bags” to use with it in the car with a plastic grocery bag as a liner and like a size 4 or 5 diaper. It collects all the fluid so you literally just tie it up and throw it in the trash when they’re done (just make sure the plastic grocery bag doesn’t have any holes or leaks!). It has saved us SO many yucky gas station stops because you can literally just pull over on the side of the road and open the back hatch of the car or if you have bucket seats they can even set it up right in the middle on the floor. Game changer!

  233. Christine says:

    We’ve done several road trips from Texas to Idaho with extra little kids (e.g. babies, toddlers). One thing I did that was extremely helpful was have a schedule. The first two hours of the trip, for example, were like reading time/noon time or whatever. They had iPad time at some point, movie time at some point, and even nap time, where devices were put away (usually right after lunch). As for snacks/food, I packed a cooler full of peanut butter sandwiches, grapes, cheese sticks, etc. (some healthier snacks). You’ll find that on a long trip like that, fast food gets old, and it’s nice to have something healthier as an option and even have something like sandwiches to give a break to the hamburgers, etc. On that same note, we always planned on having a sit down dinner somewhere. This also depends on how fast you want to get there, but when my kids were extra little, we would only travel until like 7PM each day, eat dinner, and stay at our hotel. Also— have a general plan of where you want to stay each night. With kids, I would plan on an additional 2 hours of driving time of whatever my GPS told me it would take. And the morning of each driving day, I would officially decide on our destination for that day (I would only guess when I was doing the overall plan before the trip, because, you know- things come up). Anyway- I would decide on our destination, and then I would start looking for hotels in that area, read reviews, etc., and then I would start calling that morning and book our hotel for that night. It was having a goal and not having to. Wonder where we would be sleeping that night.

  234. Laura says:

    We’ve done lots of long car trips with our 5 year old in his short life! A few things that add good entertainment:

    – Those Crayola mess free markers with lots of coloring pages.
    – I read books to him from the front seat, holding it up like a teacher in school.
    – We bought a case for the iPad that allows it to hang around the headrest. It helps tremendously to have him look straight ahead instead of down. Download 3-4 movies on it for getting a few hours of entertainment.
    – Sticker books! You’ll be cleaning out stickers from the car for a while but it works.
    – Download the license plate game app on your phone to see how many you can get.
    – Get a kids atlas to they can see where you’re traveling. My guy is obsessed with maps. The one we have talks about each state as well so it’s fun to read about the area you’re going through.
    – We always make him take a break from any activity just to look around and take in scenery.

    Enjoy and have fun! I grew up constantly traveling in the car and love a good road trip so much! Safe travels.

  235. Jessica says:

    We moved cross country two summers ago, we did audio books! Told the kids we are going to listen for an hour and then we will do something else, we had 4ish things they could do and then put them on rotation.

  236. Kimberly says:

    We moved from Idaho to Pittsburgh for two years and drove cross country both ways with our three boys and our golden doodle pup. Of course there were hard moments but overall it was an amazing part of our family adventure! I think all that driving actually helps the move settle in and the time makes the adjustments easier. It gave my kids’ brains time and milestones to mark the change.
    We stopped at random parks and big landmarks. My kids remember the random places most—a gas station with rocks for sale that they got to buy and hold in the car, a really tall slide, etc. You can’t really plan that out but it’s worth the time to stop and enjoy the moment. I always gave my kids a small daily allowance for gas station treats or souvenirs. That autonomy was important since I think they felt like everything else was out of their control. I don’t regret paying triple price for the skittles or the rocks in all the cup holders.
    Our way home we used an RV so this doesn’t apply but on the way there we were smart and had a pool at every hotel—lifesaver. Those little bodies needed to swim after sitting so long!
    Not sure if that’s much practical advice. Don’t worry too much, plan what you can but then try to embrace this part of the adventure and that it will be somewhat spontaneous but also incredibly memorable!

  237. Larissa says:

    Some kids do a lot better with being given their entire snack allowance and are able to portion themselves. Others not so much. I take the approach of letting them know what time snack time will be and remind them of that every time they ask. They can see the clock at the front of the van.
    Learn lots of road games! We like “one word story” (everybody says one word at a time to tell a story), alphabet games (find the letters of the alphabet on road signs in order), collect license plate states, wild life count.

  238. Mallory says:

    One time we took a 14 he road trip with small kids. I went to the dollar store ahead of time and purchased things they can do like activity books, books, drawing supplies, etc. It was a little bit extra but I wrapped the items! And about every couple of hours, they were able to open another activity. It was so much fun for them and memorable and they didn’t finish all the activities in the first couple hours and get bored. If you didn’t want to wrap, you could just keep the items aside and bring them out every few hours. Good luck on your move!

  239. Chelsea says:

    If the kids (or grown-ups!) get carsick, I highly recommend Sea Bands. You can get them at most drug stores. I get terrible car sickness and they’re totally life-changing, and drug-free.

  240. Jennie says:

    Audio books or kid-friendly podcasts could be a good way to keep them occupied if too much screen time makes them carsick.

    We also try to stay ahead of the car sickness. We use Dramamine and sea bands.

  241. Lynn says:

    We print out a map and attach it to a clipboard for our kids. We mark out our route in 100 mile increments, and they get a mix of snack and toy treats every 100 miles throughout the trip. It helps with boredom, improves their map skills, and gets us talking about the different areas we’re driving through. We’ve found magnet dolls to be a great travel toy! As well as magnetic letters. Have a great trip!

  242. Lauren says:

    Hi Julia, I’m a mom of four, 8 years down to a baby. I’ve done a few long road trips with my kids with and without my husband.

    I STRONGLY second the baby potty. We line it with a large sized diaper and it can be used, the diaper wrapped up and tossed in a trash can for easy clean up. Pack baby wipes and some kind of car trash. This has been a life saver, especially when there’s no rest stop, when children are constantly needing to pee and you want to make more than 30 minutes of progress.

    We have done snacks two different ways. One where I hand out snacks, the other where they had control of a bag of snacks. Both work well, but I enjoyed the hands off nature of their freedom to just choose snacks when they wanted. It involved less questions, less whining, more autonomy. They could trade. The oldest stockpiled. The youngest always finished his off, but never was without. Having 10 snacks to eat over the course of 8 hours is a lot for a 4 year old.

    Having individual iPads is great but I recommend some kind of arm that attaches to the head rest and holds the iPad up. Then you have the option of all watching the same show (hopefully you can AUX cable your audio to the car) and that’ll help with nausea.

    We are intentional about times of shows and times of breaks for books, car games, talking or nothing. We play The ABC game and all hunt for letters of the alphabet, older kids can do license plates. Listening to audiobooks is another fun way to do something without staring at a screen. My 6 year old listened to all of The Secret Garden Classic Start on our last road trip.

    I have back issues that are exacerbated while driving. So I need to stop and walk and move, just like my kids. I recommend determining how often you want to stop and roughly where and then searching ahead of time for an awesome playground or park to visit. We have found all sorts of amazing stops and these stops are sometimes the biggest highlight of the whole trip. We’ve found places and climbed cliffs, climbed on giant concrete turtles in St. Louis, found old diners along Route-66, anything to make it more fun.

    Also, if you have any pain with riding check out stick on Thermacare patches for heat or Biofreeze stick on patches for pain. They are car riding life savers for me.

    Last recommendation. Keep the stuff you pack in the car to a minimum. The worst is feeling cramped with bags and boxes. Travel with a car top carrier. Make space for feet. You don’t need much while you’re driving.

    Good luck!! It’ll be a great adventure. If you choose to make it fun and full of adventure, they’ll see it that way.

  243. Chelsey says:

    Take a few min sometime before the road trip and download some new podcasts all the girls will like.
    Smash Boom Best is kid topics debated! Cats vs Dogs, who’s the superior pet. Things like that. Something that multiple ages can get into. We also love By Kids for Kids Story time. They recently did the entire book Wizard of Oz. You’ll make some great memories no matter what! Good luck!

  244. Staci says:

    We drove from MN to Fl and kids Dramamine and SeaBands saved us from car sickness. We took our camping toilet and it was a lifesaver and cut huge time off of potty stops. We bought lap desks on Amazon that had white boards and the kids used them a ton and they served as a place to draw and have snacks. We listen to audiobooks and podcasts and that really passes the time! Little bins filled with small lego sets, brain games, sticker books and treats kept them busy too. It’ll be great!!!

  245. Bethany Fallon says:

    We just drove from Nebraska to New York and back last week with 4 kids. My #1 piece of advice is to get a subscription to PINNA. its basically a curation of kids podcasts and audiobooks that are all amazing. My kids will quietly listen for hours. I also recommend giving each kid a garbage can/sack to collect garbage along the way. And I speak from experience that if you give them all of their snacks up front they WILL eat them all on the first 20 minutes. 😂

  246. Amanda says:

    We moved across the country twice last year, and with 2 kids and a large golden doodle, I was anxious about what all that car time would look like! We were prepared with iPads (with Netflix shows and movies already downloaded) and headphones for each of the kids (do NOT forget the headphones!). Our neighbours gifted the kids a large plastic bin with clipboards, paper, colouring books, activity books, crayons and coloured pencils. She also added a few travel games (like magnetic x and o’s). It was a lifesaver! We added their favourite books and stuffies. We had a supply of snacks in our trunk, but refilled their lunch bags every morning/or the night before, for our car ride.

  247. Kate says:

    As a kid, my parents took us on 2-week road trips each summer to explore the country. As motion-sickness-prone kids, we could never read or do games in the car. So my mom would always get a bag of books on tape from the library and we would spend thousands of miles and hours in the car as a family listening to stories as we traveled and looked out the window at the changing landscape. Today, I would guess you could use Audbile or Libby through your library! It’s one of my favorite childhood memories and we were always eager to get started each morning to find out what happened next!

  248. Marilyn says:

    We made the same road trip! We moved from Salt Lake to the Triangle 2.5 years ago with 4 kids…1 of whom was only 6 months. My kids very favorite thing was that we got pie slices in every state we went through and they rated it based on the state. 🤣 They still talk about which state had their favorite.

  249. Jenna says:

    We just did a 24 hour road trip in two days so the fact that you are doing 36 hours over two weeks makes a HUGE difference! My only piece of advice is to really do some research ahead of time to pick out memorable stops. If you don’t mind going 20 min off the beaten path to get to a state park with a beautiful waterfall, DO IT!

    We had our dog with us on our most recent road trip which meant we had to stop every 4-6 hours for a walk. I used the AllTrails app to find nearby walking trails and parks rather than just trying to do loops around a rest stop. We discovered some amazingly beautiful places as a result. <3 Road trips are incredible and rare opportunities to be together with no other distractions. Enjoy your journey and welcome to my home state of North Carolina!

  250. Heidi Hopkins says:

    My daughter does really well on road trips with a headrest tablet mount I got her off Amazon! I think it helps her not get car sick because she is looking up and not down. Game changer for us! Also it can hold an iPhone. I will try and send the link!
    https://www.amazon.com/Headrest-Tryone-Compatible-Smartphones-4-1in-5-9in/dp/B074YYYNJ5/ref=mp_s_a_1_4?dchild=1&keywords=headrest+tablet+holder+tryone&qid=1622812159&sr=8-4

  251. KRISTEN M says:

    Our kids loved audiobooks when they were little. They keep everyone entertained without any carsickness! Harry Potter was our absolute favorite. The Ramona books would be awesome too for your age range. Also, stretch breaks but learn from our (truly horrendous) mistake and pick parks and not rest stops. Turns out LOTS of dogs use the grass by rest stops and we learned the hard way. 😩

  252. Britta says:

    I would suggest finding an engaging, family friendly book on tape to listen to for the road trip! I have such strong, fun memories of listening to a Harry Potter book on tape during a long road trip with the family when I was young. We never wanted to get out of the car because we wanted to keep listening! I also get car sick if I look at a screen or book in the car, so it’s a great way to be entertained without the risk of sickness. Plus, it’s great to have the whole family engaged in the same activity!

  253. Rebecca says:

    You’re going to have souch fun!! When we took a long trip with our two kids we planned in advance where we were going to stop along the way to rest or eat. So, I put together surprise bags with a little toy or game and a treat with that place name written on it to open after we got back in the car to entertain them for the next leg of the journey. They were SO excited because they knew they had little things to look forward to along the way!! And honestly it was so much fun for me lol Also, we downloaded podcasts for kids on a thumb drive..Eleanor Amplified is one of their favorites! Enjoy!!

  254. Ann says:

    Road tripping…:) we did a cross country road trip almost 10 years ago with our kids. Mind you they were older but we also did one when they were littles and had a bag o’ things to do. Mad lib books are great for your older girls. We found crayola colouring books with invisible ink. They ink only shows up in the books. Helpful when you are trapped in the car 😂😂 we also started an alphabetical license plate game. But the highlight of that one, was an Alaska plate that we saw :) there were also travel games to play. Also, music!! We had a few different playlists to go through that we all enjoyed.
    Anyway..all that to say, the hours will fly and sometimes just chatting about all the new that you will get to explore together will be a fun conversation. Safe travels and God bless you as you begin this new adventure in Raleigh.

  255. EP says:

    I grew up going on long 10+ hour drives and there were no iPads! I suggest coloring books and audio books. We played a lot of games like “I spy” — “I spy with my little eye something YELLOW” and everyone has to guess what it is. I’d suggest having the older girls grade off sitting next to Polly as she’ll likely require more entertainment. Also, when I was young we would always leave before dawn so us kids would sleep a few of the hours off.

  256. Mandy says:

    Hello! We are making a big road trip soon with our girls too – both under 4. So far I’ve picked up a portable DVD player, boogie doodle boards, water pen books, sticker books and then plan to pack a few electronic games and toys from home. I’m a littler nervous about stickers in the car but we’re going for it. Safe travels to you all! ❤️

  257. Candice says:

    My favorite road trip was one with my family from Oregon to Florida! What made it memorable is at each special/planned spot my Dad bought us a small item to remember our time there. One night we camped at a KOA and things didn’t go as smooth as possible. Lots of tears and bugs, I was a little dramatic! In the morning my Dad bought me a towel that said “we’re all happy campers at KOA” and we laughed so hard. I still have the towel and that memory is so special to me. A little souvenir, even a cheesy/eye sore, can last a life time.

  258. Teresa says:

    Audio books for the win! Everyone will enjoy them, and no car sickness!
    They can play with toys while listening. 😊

  259. Katie Eiserloh says:

    I used to get a bunch of little things from the target dollar section and wrap them up and let them open a little gift every now and then. I also gave them each a little journal where they could draw or write. I packed each of them there own little back pack with their snacks colored pencils and other little things. Down load a few shows on iPads, and audio books. If you keep mixing it up the time will fly by.

  260. MC says:

    We moved cross 4 states last year and finally got to go back and visit friends, yay! But yes, long road trips: our new find that we end up doing an hour at a time: riddles! Google ‘kids riddles’ or just ‘riddles’ and you’ll find lots of options. Also the license plates game, I spy, road trip bingo (sheets with things like school buses and windmills, IHeartOrganizing has a good one), and the age old alphabet game. We allow one movie for every 5 hours or so of road time. If you are traveling with more than one vehicle/family, switching out people helps the sibling dynamics.

  261. Bethany says:

    This journey is going to be an adventure to remember! We have kids similar ages and have spent a good part of the last year road tripping with our airstream and all three of them in a row next to each other in the truck. My best tips are wait as long as possible watching out the windows before you pass their treat bags out – enjoy the beautiful drive like we did as kids. We have motion sickness issues also so we all love listening to audio books as a family, Anne of Green Gables and Little House on the Prairie have been favorites with our girls. If you’re all needing a pick me up, let Greta be DJ with your phone hooked to the car speakers, teach her how to search for songs and “play next” on your favorite music app and let everyone take turns making requests. Melissa and Doug puffy sticker books are always good too. Have fun! It will be a special time all together, some of our favorite pandemic times have been squished together laughing in that truck.

  262. Beca says:

    We just did a 14.5 hour day (12.5 hrs of drive time) with a 2 and almost 5 year old! No meltdowns except the 2 year old about 30 minutes from home. Some things that worked for us- I did a paper chain countdown (they tore one off every hour) that had either an activity or a present they could open. I usually buy small stuff (Melissa and Doug activity pads, dollar store toys, target dollar spot stuff, etc) and wrap it in old wrapping paper for them to open during the trip, they love it. I usually don’t give iPads as an option until 3 hours from our destination so they aren’t using them the whole time. We also did audiobooks, and some fun silly music playlists. Doing a visual trip progression (like the paper chain activity countdown, or a paper car moving across a string that’s strung across your car with planned stops, or even a paper map with your trip mapped out where they can follow) helps a lot for our 4 year old! We also got a car ride scavenger hunt game that was fun. Personally I wouldn’t hand snacks out all at the beginning especially for younger ones. Also, my favorite thing I bought for our trip was a grabber claw to pick stuff up they dropped! Good luck on your trip, I’m sure it will be full of lots of memories!!

  263. Sharon Capone says:

    Hi Julie, my family moved from California to Ohio when I was 12. We drove and the best thing my parents did was to be very clear and honest about how much time we would be in the car. We didn’t ask because we knew we would drive until lunchtime, then after lunch we would be stopping to sightsee than back in the car until evening. We played a lot of I spy and my mom would tell us all about where we were stopping so we were excited to see it. I get very car sick so they made sure I never got in the car hungry, always had a window seat and a pillow. ( They also only let us drink milk my dad said water made for too many bathroom stops)
    When James was little and we made those trips to the beach we made sure he ran and ran and ran during stops. He had so much energy we had to get it out. Uncle Joe would always try to find places were we could have races or where there were stairs he could run. It really helped he would always sleep for a while when we got back in the car. We also tried to schedule some of the driving for early morning or at his bedtime so he could sleep. ( I am sure it’s why he became a track star from all that running we always had him doing, haha)
    Good luck, so excited for the new house. Hope you feel better here.

  264. Khs says:

    Moved across country several times. For long road trips with kids always expect it will take longer than the gps says. Each bathroom break can add 15-30 minutes, and food 30-60. It always takes so much longer with them. My sister-in-law takes her kids to the dollar store and lets them pick five little trinkets for their trip. And after wards they get trashed. You can download movies and shows to ipads just as easily to ipads so I am not sure a portable dvd player is worth it. Also if they are going to be on devices make sure they have headphones. You could also let them pick out a couple new apps before the trip, that way they have something they are excited to try. If your kids get carsick get some of those barf bags the hospital carries, I think you can find them at your local pharmacy. You could also pick a family audiobook to listen to on the way, or even a series.

  265. Rebecca says:

    Audiobooks has been our life saver on long trips. We find one eveyone will enjoy and play it on the main speakers of the car. Some good ones are Flora and Ulysses, Echo, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (any of them), Zero G from audible, Babe, Charlotte’s Web, Ramona. It makes the hours fly by. Good luck on the move!

  266. Sarah says:

    A friend of mine has a travel tradition of passing out a “special snack” each time they enter a new state. (In their case, it was a cookie. Just something different from the other snacks available.) You could get out of the car and take a family picture by the state sign. This would help chunk the trip into manageable pieces and give them something to look forward to.

  267. R says:

    We used to road trip for 20+ hours when we lived far from family. Best advice- leave early in the morning when kids are still a bit tired- like 5:30 am. Limit pit stops- the more getting in and out of the car the harder it is to get back in- it makes the trip endless. We also didn’t pack up tons of food and snack- it makes such a mess in the car so we would often just stop at a Walmart or target and pick up a new snack- it made it more fun for the kids that way to see what we would get.

  268. Kayla gassaway says:

    We always give every family member a treat bag before a road trip begins!
    Includes snacks, treat (candies, gummies, etc), a little toy or 2 – like a fidget toy or tiny coloring book.
    It’s the best! They can then choose what to eat. We do out a limit of how many treat they eat right away!
    Best of luck! You all will love the Carolinas! We have lived in SC for 11 years and love it☺️

  269. Carrie says:

    My family moved from Minnesota to South Caroline with 3 kids when I was 8. My grandma made these special bags for each grandkid in the car with stuff tailored to each. Sunglasses, books, toys, and snacks. It was so special and I still remember it as a way to keep us occupied.

  270. Jenn Freeman says:

    Definitely do the potty! It is a given that everyone has to go the bathroom at different times. Over pack the snacks, sometimes they eat them sometimes they eat nothing! We always did separate hand held electronics and they would work it out. All 3 snuggled in the back watching a movie on one of them are some of my favorite memories… forcing them to be uncomfortable in one row is the point of a cross country road trip right?! I am so excited for you all, your adventures to be had. Sending all the love in the next couple of weeks, knowing those emotions well.

  271. Kate says:

    We honestly just let our kids watch movies the entire time. We tend to limit screen time quite a lot at home so this is their treat, constant movies (movies take longer than a game and they’re not as crabby after). My son gets carsick but he’s been fine as long as we use an iPad mount that attaches between the front headrests, it keeps him looking up and not down. We have headphones that link together so they just watch the same thing. Granted that’s just been for one or two days not five. We are also the ones that just try to get to the end destination (or stopping point for the night) fast. So bring lunch and snacks or order ahead meals for quick pickup and eat in the car. I’d rather push it to get there then keep extending the day for the kids and making it feel EVEN longer. That being said we have planned out one longer stop when needed, at a playground! Bring extra grocery bags and stash them in a seat back for all the trash and throw it out at every stop. Have the old fashioned star peppermints on hand for car sickness (or kids Dramamine). When we do stop for a quick bathroom also made kids do jumps and runs and a mini obstacle course in a small patch of grass for a few minutes to stretch it all out. Kids podcasts. Eye spy. License plate game. Home and Kind has lots of air and road trip travel ideas for kids on her blog. But honestly, screen time (from an anti screen time mom :) ). Safe travels!

  272. Kathleen says:

    We just did an 11 hour drive x2 recently to NC coincidentally. My kids are 12, 10 and 7. I got the Melissa and Doug license plate game, which was more fun than we imagined – highly recommend. And the interstate bingo game. With snacks, reading and an encouraged closing of the eyes, we used electronics for one hour of the trip each way – my kids have better moods with less screens in the car so I saved them for the end. An audio book would also be a great way to pass the time. I had snack trays with mostly healthy snacks and some treats and that was an activity in itself…. we moved 4 years ago from Canada to the US. We’ve done this very nerve wracking move (a move I didn’t choose) and drive to a town we’d spent less than 48 hours in. It’s been nothing but a blessing!

  273. Jolie says:

    We always played a version of I Spy… go through the alphabet and identify something that starts with the next letter, use colors as a substitute for little ones.

    Listen to an audiobook together.

    My daughter is obsessed with her Boogie Board writing/drawing tablet.

  274. Jasmin Snyder says:

    We just did 13 hours with 2 kids (9 & 3) and my biggest tips are if you want to get there fast pack all your food (including meals) and eat on the go (fast food isn’t very fast!) and we always listen to a family audio book! We did Tale of Desesraux (sp?) on the way here and we’ll do Jungle Book on the way home. We’ve done Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and Harry Potter on other trips. Even my toddler loves to listen in. I do purchase a few activities ahead of time like sticker books, melissa and Doug Decoder mystery books for my older kid, etc and I spread those out. We don’t have tablets and we only did one movie and honestly the kids just figure it out the rest of the time and have fun. We’ve also done sing alongs like Hamilton or Moana. Oh last thing, if you are going for speed use every rest stop you see! So much faster than other types of stops.

  275. Hilary says:

    Audiobooks and podcasts! So many libraries now allow you to borrow audiobooks through the Libby app and it’s the best way for my kids who (just like yours) get car sick after watching a movie or playing games on the iPad. They listen with headphones and watch out the window!

  276. Jordan says:

    I don’t have kids yet, but my mom used to travel with us from California to South Africa every year to visit family, by herself with two kids because my dad couldn’t take as much time off work, and the flights to get there are horrendously long. Anyways what she used to do for the plane was pack up our backpacks with wrapped gifts, every few hours we were allowed to open another one. Some were big, others small, but it was always exciting as a child to get to unwrap something which usually occupied us until the next! This was before all airplane seats had media consoles 😂. Another idea is to maybe see what funny and weird sights there are along the way (funny diners/landmarks/art installations etc) create a list and let each of the girl choose something? That way they feel like a part of the journey is special just for them?

  277. Amy says:

    Our family road trip from Utah to Branson, Missouri is our favorite trip so far, the scenery once you get into the Midwest is so beautiful (flat, green farm lands) especially in the long, variable weather of summer (beautiful storm clouds). We stopped by several church sites along the way. We bring small bowls and fill with treats periodically, my kids would blow through all their snacks within the first hour. Suckers are great since they take some time to finish. I like tactile entertainment for kids, thinking putty, magnet toys… we also wrapped dollar store items (some treats and some random things-like bag of balloons) and when they were bored or whenever we felt the time was right we would have them take turns opening the gifts. They loved the surprise element. And even though they were dollar store items they kept my kids happy for a while (mine are 10, 7, 5 and 1 in age). It’s reallly a lot of fun, get excited!

  278. Megan says:

    My kids loved being able to follow along on a map. Made a big difference with the “how much farther” question. I printed the map pages off google (aka mapquest days of old) and made sure town names and points of interest were visible. Their pages were bound in folders and they each had their own plus a pencil to jeep track of our progress. Even my youngest who couldn’t read well but enjoyed marking his map.
    In regards to screens I follow the same process I do at home – only a certain amount of time each day. Set expectations clearly up front. What works best for us is no screens for the first half of the day, movie and games come on after the half way point.
    I grew up doing road trips with my parents and they are such valuable memories for me. My mom was a teacher so she loved lining up our pit stops with points of interest. It’s a great idea but most of my trips I’m too impatient to get to the end so we don’t stop until we absolutely must. Best of luck! It will be full of challenges I’m sure but it can also be a wonderful memory.

  279. Stacy says:

    https://kellehampton.com/2021/05/__trashed/

    Kelle Hampton has some amazing and fun sounding road trip hacks.

    Wishing you a fun and safe road trip

  280. Kristin says:

    Our road trip rule was that everyone had to go to the bathroom when we stopped, even if they said they didn’t have to. The ONE time we didn’t wake our son up, we had to stop again half an hour later. We were on a toll road, so we had to pay the toll and get another ticket when we got back on, so it was an extra pain.

  281. Carrie says:

    Podcasts! My son gets carsick and they are great for long trip entertainment that he can also still watch the road. Favorites here are WOW in the world and Eleanor Amplified. We also do a lot of finding images in the clouds and making up stories to go with them! It can get pretty silly and take a good chuck of time up. Good luck on your trip!!

  282. Angel says:

    We are a road trip family and have been since our kids were very small. We are about to embark on another one this week & are kids are now 20, 17 and 14. We listen to radio shows! When the kids were small, they loved Adventures in Odyssey and sometimes we still pull that out for old times sake. The old Nancy drew and hardy boys audio books were great too, but can be a bit spooky. I think the thing is that I’d try to schedule your bathroom stops at places the kids can run around (a little known state park, the world’s biggest ball if foil, whatever…just something interesting), rather than the typical bathroom stop.

  283. Emily says:

    We have 5 children, our oldest is 8, and car trips used to feel like a nightmare! I now use audio books, you can use cds or digital download options and it has been a complete lifesaver! We don’t go anywhere without a book on tape now. The stories mesmerize them and us and though they still will get antsy after a little while it’s a great way to break up big chunks of the trip. Our favorites have been Matilda and really anything by Roald Dahl, A to Z Mysteries by Ron Roy, and the series of A Boy Called B.A.T. by Elena Arnold. I wish you all the happiest trip and many blessings as you start your life in North Carolina!

  284. Alison says:

    Go check out the enjoying the small things blog by Kelly Hampton- she just did a post on road trip hacks!

  285. Laurie says:

    Check out http://www.kellehampton.com – she posted some great road trip ideas this week. Good luck!

  286. Amanda says:

    Audiobooks! We all love trying to predict what’s coming next. Before we start up again after a break, we rotate which kid gives the recap. If we have a lot of road tripping ahead of us, we’ll choose a book series.
    Also, our last cross country move, my husband and I each drove a car. The kids shuffled between each and it was a great way to have a bit of one on one with a kid during all the chaos of moving. Spicing up the seating groups kept things interesting.

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We’re a couple of homebodies, working to uncover the home our home wants to be. And we’re so happy to have you here. 

HI! We're Chris + Julia

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What We're                     Right Now

What We're                 Right Now

Looking for our favorite things? A place to shop our home room by room, or just catch up on what Julia's wearing / loving right now? Browse the CLJ shop. 

Loving

looking for inspiration? 

Almost daily I get asked what I would call my home style. I don’t like to box myself in, but I definitely lean Modern Traditional with an emphasis on comfort when it comes to our home. This especially came up when I shared our Powder Bath Reveal on the blog. I think it changes slightly […]

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Follow Along on Instagram

Welcome to our online community where we've posted home, DIY, style, renovations, and family since '09. Renovating our #cljmoderncottage in Idaho and headed for new adventures in Raleigh, NC. #cljfam #cljtransformations

@chrislovesjulia