I’m finally getting an opportunity to visit my daughter in her adopted state, and am headed out soon on a long road trip. Driving from Florida to North Caroline, in one day, is not something to attempt unprepared. Granted, there are three licensed drivers in our car, so dividing up the trip into three, four-hour increments sounds a little better than saying 12 hours cooped up in a car with two other adults.
If traveling alone, I’d be packed and ready to go two days ahead of time. Being that I’m traveling with Hubs “start-projects-at-the-last-minute” Roberts and The Boy “can’t-wake-up-before-noon” Roberts, odds are we’ll pull out of the driveway a good 2 hours behind schedule.
When my kids were very young, traveling with them was simple. They were great about sleeping in the car, or were easily entertained with audio books and toys. Typically we only stopped for potty breaks and meals.
It’s not so different now. Traveling with a teen, like with little kids, is manageable with the right toys, snacks and favorite blankie.
1. Favorite stuffed animal and lovie: Throw a pillow and blanket in the car, and they’re happy to sleep the miles away.
2. Favorite toy: Teens graduate from beloved action figures and dolls, to iPads, laptops or smart phones. Downloaded music, TV shows and movies, and e-books can entertain for hours. Just remember to bring charge cords and/or auxiliary connectors. Don’t forget to pack earphones too.
3. Snacks and juice boxes: Goldfish and gummies remain a favorite low-maintenance/low-clean up snack. Pack a cooler with G2s or Powerades, sodas, and bottled water and you’re good to go.
4. Picture books: Load up on magazines. If you have a book reader, hit the library before you hit the road.
5. Change of clothes: If it’s an early morning departure, let them sleep in their travel clothes the night before – T-shirt and basketball shorts, or flannel pj pants – and they’ll fall back asleep for several hours once you get driving. Stop for lunch or at a rest area and let them change into their regular clothes… or not.
Of course, I have my own survival kit packed to make the trip as stress-free as possible. Blanket – check; pillow – check; iPhone and laptop – check; snacks – check; books – check; pen and notebooks – double check. Bottle of pinot noir – check.