For our annual trips, it takes us anywhere from 18.5 to 20 hours of actual drive time to get from our home to Walt Disney World. That seems like a huge amount of time for a vacation drive, but since we tend to have more time than money, its a great way for us to get a longer vacation. I mean, this past summer it would have cost somewhere around $1600 in airfare to fly. It cost me less than $250 to drive. That is a huge difference. The savings is spread out between our vacation budget and our vehicle maintenance budget. We still come out ahead.
But what do you do for that long of a drive? Well, here are some of the things that we do now or have done in the past:
- DVD players for the kids. They load up a small carrying cases with their favorite movies and TV programs for the trip. I also load up CD’s filled with MP3 files that can also be played on the players if they want to listen to music.
- Don’t forget about music for the drivers. Create CD’s or MP3 CD’s filled with your favorite road trip songs. Download music to your phone as well. Consider getting a trial subscription to satellite radio if you think that might be of interest. The only thing I would not generally recommend is streaming live music. Too much data is consumed over the course of a trip and sometimes you get miles worth of dropouts. (Your mileage may vary on that one…)
- Load up new games, movies, and books on tablets. Let’s just say that this is where a Kindle and Amazon Prime comes in real handy. My son loaded his Kindle with 20 movies and programs and countless new games. He was never bored. My daughter would bring a library worth of books. Every couple of hours we would hear “I finished another book” from the back of the car.
- Create a small box of goodies that contains small surprises for kids to open at certain times of the trip. These can be new books, activities, puzzles, game books or other small items that can entertain. (I remember books worth of Mad Libs as well as those books that had the invisible ink as a kid!)
- Snacks and drinks. These can save a lot of time. Someone mentions hunger and you got it all covered! Make sure they are snacks your family will enjoy as well or they will just go bad in the snack bag.
- Play traditional traveling games like the license plate game or even eye spy. I know, these sound boring to older kids, but you never know what you are going to see. Besides, there are some real cool looking license plates out there from different states.
- Consider stopping for a break at a place of interest. Sometimes an extended break can really help revive the gang. Going through Georgia, there is a place in Tifton where we get peaches every year. At times, we have stopped at the Corvette Cafe in the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, KY as well. And let me say that if you go through Bowling Green and you have older kids that are car nuts as well, looking into a tour of the Corvette plant is so worth it!!
I’ve said this before and I will say it again. You know your kids best and by talking with them and doing some pre-planning as to what they want to do in the car will pay off dividends in the end.
Ive got one more installment in this series, so stay tuned and let your friends know!
Have a magical day!