My husband and I have discovered, that, even though it takes longer, with four kids, it is almost easier to travel in our own vehicle than brave the crowds in an airplane. Everyone has their own space, we don't bother anyone else with our noise level, and we are in control of the schedule.
The first step to a successful roadtrip is to assign seats and prepare the vehicle. Assigned seats is a necessary requirement for us! Some children are more helpful than others, some get along better with their siblings than others, some are more self-sufficient than others, and some just cannot keep their hands to themselves! Once seats are assigned, everyone can begin preparing their own spaces.
We do not have a built-in DVD player in our SUV, so we use a variety of personal DVD players strapped to headrests. This system works well for us! Each child has some autonomy in choosing their favorite movies, and it helps to avoid power struggles over whose turn it is to choose the movie. Headphones also are a necessity to avoid arguments over whose movie is the loudest.
Another important item in preparation includes the packing of the snack bag! While a roadtrip is not a free-for-all, we do indulge in yummy, crunchy (and maybe less-than-healthy) snacks. This can also help the time pass, as we usually try to space out our snack breaks. Instead of just having the goal of the destination, my kids also have a shorter window of time to wait for their next snack.
Most of the time, our travel days are quite long, so we try to limit the number of stops we make, but we do try to enjoy some fun pit-stops when we have the opportunity! We have stopped at interesting Welcome Centers when we enter a new state, we like to walk around rest areas to stretch our legs, and we love when we are in the south and can visit a certain gas station--whose selection of food never disappoints!
Movie watching, book reading, audiobook listening, and--my personal favorite--napping really do help the time pass for everyone. And, every once in a while, we engage in sweet and meaningful conversations about the sites we see, places we've been, or where we want to go. I know that, with every passing mile, we are making memories and building relationships that will last a lifetime!
If you are ready to plan your next great adventure, head over to my Agent Page, so we can get started!