March 20, 2007

Our Travel Plan - Part Three

The Situation: 640 miles, ten kids, and a huge desire to not spend one minute more than necessary traveling. We want to get where we are going in the shortest time possible (while being safe too of course). (Edited to note there will be 11 of our kids going now)

Our Solution:
1. Leave very early in the morning, around 3 AM, so that there will be about 4 hours of the trip that the kids will actually sleep through. Put them to bed in their travel clothes the night before and maybe let them stay up a bit later than usual **ahem**, wake them, walk them half asleep to the potty and then tuck them into the car with their pillow and cuddle blankie. It is dark out, they are sleepy and the car motion lulls them quickly back to sleep.

2. Make as few stops as possible. We accomplish this by bringing food to eat in the car (that will be breakfast and lunch for this trip) so we don't have to stop to eat and so we (hope to) only stop when we need gas. We could lose hours of time stopping at every rest stop to use the potty, but we encourage kids to hold on a little longer. We also purposefully do not pack a large quantity of fluids to drink, just enough to keep everyone hydrated, but not tons of extras (as might be used to pacify bored or hungry kids). We usually have to stop twice for gas and maybe one extra potty stop at the most, but sometimes we have made it with just using the potty when gassing up the van.

3. Plan things to entertain the youngin's. Last year we listened to books on CD (our favorite was James and the Giant Peach read by Jeremy Irons) for car trips of about 2 hours each way and that was great! On previous 550 mile one way trips we strapped a combo TV/VCR with a 13 in screen to the back of the drivers seat, which was only good for the first two rows of seats in our 15 passenger van (which has 4 rows of bench seats by the way). This wasn't the greatest solution, but did help break up long travel days. This year we have a ceiling mounted DVD player to watch movies on and even those in the back will be able to see the screen.
Busy work, with coloring or small toys they can play with (without lots of pieces that might get lost in the car) such as an Etch-a-Sketch or the smaller MagnaDoodles give kids things to do. Depending on if you have kids that get carsick, you either need to dose them with a travel med. so they can work on coloring a paper without throwing up, or find ways, like the books on CD/Tape that they can listen to while looking out the window. I was a very car sick prone kid and still am as an adult. I can't read in a car or even look down at a map for more than a few seconds, without getting queasy. When I was younger I coped by sleeping during travel. As an adult and co-pilot, I take the smallest dose I can of motion sickness medicine to ease my discomfort. I mention all this just so other parents can be sensitive to car sickie kids and make appropriate plans for their travel entertainment.

This is our main plan. Next is planning the food to take along so that we can save all that time NOT stopping for "fast food" (it is never fast with our size of family! LOL!).


Roberta said...

You look pretty prepared.
I pray you have safe travels and that the puke bucket is not needed. :)

Like you I canNOT read in a moving vehicle and about 2 minutes looking at the map is all I can take before getting queezy.

Happy Gleanings!

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