If I had happy kids on a roadtrip, here’s how we did it (today’s top 10)

 Top ten things to remember for a road trip to keep the kids from driving you crazy

10. DVD player for each kid. Nothing funny about that, until you start reciting the
words to the Toys Story Trilogy….word for word since they’ve been watching them all on
a loop.

9. Abundance of healthy snacks and drinks from the grocery store before you
leave….Prepare to NOT spend $7 for a bag of mediocre beef jerky and a $3 Orangina every time you stop for gas. Is that stuff here legally? Some examples of snacks my kids like
are: goldfish, fruit snacks (Veggie Tale and Curious George these days), whole wheat
crackers, popcorn, and fruit.

8. Something to revert your attention. Don’t let the random lone person that’s been
driving cross country talk to you at the pump, they’ve been lonely except for their Bob
Dylan or Beegees cassette/8-track tapes and the people willing to talk to them while
pumping gas “Oh, you’re from NC huh? I knew someone that did something or lived
there once. Beautiful country there.” Responding by anything but “yup” could keep you
talking a while. By avoiding them, the kids don’t get cranky as they will soon be on the
road again asking (yelling at) you to put Toy Story back on.

7. Bring a garbage bag for trash and several containers to help you organize. Have a
clean car (mini-van…yes, I’m the mini-van guy now) on the exterior to avoid the pitting
of bugs and try for a clean windshield. Don’t worry so much about the condition of the
inside, so long as there’s room for toys, luggage, snacks, drinks and Tylenol, (oh, and the
family) then the interior is going to have cheese on the windows anyway, dirt stains on
the carpet and half eaten everything all over everything else.

6. We travel with our dog, so if you have pets and bring yours, don’t forget dog food, treats, toys and things that make her feel at home. We travel with our dog because we can, she’s never been in a kennel, and we’ve always had good friends in FL that are willing to watch her. More importantly, make sure that the cave
you cut out for her amongst the luggage, toys, etc is secure. I drove once for miles with
her shaking not realizing that a toy dinosaur that was turned on had fallen on her and
growled at her over and over again making her cave not so comfortable. Oh yeah, and
make sure that you take her out for a walk for obvious reasons when you stop.

5. Kids need activities beyond the DVD players. Don’t forget that kids can multitask.
My oldest (3yo) likes to color, play with cars and demand whatever he thinks he
deserves, again, with his eyes glued to Nemo. The baby, (turns 1yo on Saturday) is pretty
low maintenance and sleeps a lot…he must get that from me. But again, healthy snacks and
(not fast food) are the way to keep them in check.

4. Tune-up, oil change, check the tires, fluids, flush the system, change the wiper blades,
check your gauges, make sure your tail pipe does not have a banana in it….I’m not gonna
fall for that again!

3. Be realistic. OK, make sure to do at least one or two of the above suggestions.

2. Supplement Toy Story, Finding Nemo, (insert your kid’s favorite movie here) with
some of your child’s favorite sing along music cds. Be careful of Books on CD and
Prairie Home companion on the radio, they could put the whole car to sleep!

1. A tolerant companion. Luckily for me, my wife is a great conversationalist and likes
to laugh and play car games, and laugh at how bad some of those car games are. Just
make sure you like everyone in the car and know how to diffuse any argument. Speed
is necessary, Tickets are not, balance the two. Stay away from a__hole drivers. The left
lane is for speeders. Unfortunately, everyone thinks they are fast drivers. We’ve all seen
the 45mph Geo Prism in the left lane when the speed limit is 70. This causes us to break
the law and pass on the right…..totally necessary, sorry highway patrol. I was avoiding an
accident and road rage. All this, keeps my kids happy on a 12 hour road trip!

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