Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Road Warrior

Today I'd like to introduce you to Mimi. She is is the author of Woven by Words and the one woman I know who has logged as many miles as me!


I’ve enjoyed road trips since I was a teen. My parents used to drive all over for our trips. I get my love of driving from my dad. My enjoyment of road trips comes with experience.

I’ve driven from Washington to California with only 1 pit stop.

From Seattle to Virginia when my parents packed up and headed East (I was 18).

From Washington to Minnesota when I made the ridiculous move from the state I loved.

Here in Minnesota, people take 2 hour road trips every weekend to get to their cabins. We were part of that crowd! We head north to Aitkin, MN on weekends during the summer to spend at Grams.

We also used to drive to Chicago 3-4 times a year to visit with our extended family.


Twice we drove from Minnesota to Florida to go to Disney World. We’d drive down to Chicago, meet up with the extended family then drive 24 hours to Florida.

Oh, have I mentioned I’ve driven with my kids through snow storms to visit my family in Virginia for Christmas about 3-4 times? I’d say I have some road trips under my belt!

So, if you’re thinking about heading on a road trip, you need to be prepared. I know, that’s kind of a “duh” statement, but I think we all have different ideas of what being prepared means. We’d all be able to add a tidbit of great advice. Here’s my 2 cents for what it’s worth!

If you are going on a long road trip, invest in an overhead storage if possible. It frees up a lot of room inside the vehicle for immediate necessities. Stick everyone’s suitcases up there with clothes you won’t need until you get there. Have a couple of backpacks with a couple nights worth of clothing so you don’t have to unpack the entire vehicle. Then have a 3rd backpack for toiletries.

Pack a large cooler. Fill it with juice boxes, cheese string, go-gurt, milk, lunch meat, cheese slices, mayo/butter, etc. Have a 2nd bag or box for dry ingredients like fruit snacks, chips, bread, crackers, fruit, utensils, napkins, cups, baggies and plates. Maybe even a mini cutting board.

If you’re going on a long trip I’d do a couple of planned stops at certain times throughout the drive. You know your family well enough to know how far they can go before they need to get out of the car for a stretch. Maybe about 4 hours into the ride, look on a map and see what towns are around. Find out if there’s a school near the freeway and if so, plan on stopping at the elementary school. Let the munchkins out to run around and play on the playground. Trust me, a half an hour of burning energy is totally worth the stop. If you can’t find an elementary, maybe search for a local park that seems large and has a playground.

Depending on your kids ages, bring your gaming system. You can watch movies and play games on it. Something new we tried on our trip out to Virginia for Christmas was picking up a movie at a Redbox. We’d pick one up during the day and the next day return it for a different movie. It was nice to give the boys a new movie to watch and be able to return it at a new location. I looked Redbox up online for locations by where we were getting gas. If you’re kids are old enough to use a gaming system, visit a pawn shop and get a few new games for the kids to play. They can be relatively cheap and if your kids don’t care for them you can always resell them. Make sure you only bring one out each day and save one or two for the trip home.

I always pick up new markers, activity books, reading books for the older kids, and print downloadables at sites like and other kids websites. Again, I bring them out in slow rotation.

It’s ok to give kids some “no activity” time, too. They can use their imaginations and make up stories about where other vehicles are going. Maybe play the ABC game. You can search for different state license plates.

Whatever you do, remember this too shall pass. You won’t be in your vehicle forever and it’s really part of the experience! Trust me, it can be very memorable done well or poorly. Do the best you can to make it a great one!

What other suggestions do you have for families traveling with kids? I’m hoping to head to Chicago in August and could use some new ideas!

Mimi is the creative force behind Woven by Words, a personal blog about life as a  Christian single mother of 4, sister, daughter, and Jane-of-all-trades. She loves reality television and the Minnesota Twins and can frequently be found on Twitter, as @bigguysmama, winning up a storm at any given Twitter party.


rose said...

I like to bring my iPad when we go on road trips. With that they can download movies, games, and watch TV. With my provider/employer DISH Network I can access all my subscription channels from anywhere I am at. The kids can watch all their favorite shows live right from the iPad. I just had to buy a Sling Adapter for $99, which right now DISH has a great promotion for. Check out this link for more details about the promotion . Having my iPad with me on road trips is such a life saver.

Mimi N said...

Oh my gosh Rose, I'd LOVE an iPad! My boys did use my Droid and played quite a bit of Angry Birds over Christmas! I met a guy at work today who has the old and new iPad. I had some Apple envy to put it mildly! I have DISH so one day when I own, YES OWN, and iPad I'll have to keep this in mind. I'm hoping to go to FL in the next couple of years. Thanks for dropping by.


rose said...

You are very welcome! Have fun when you go to Florida!

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