Hey there, I’m back and ready to blog! If you didn’t see my post back in July on the update on our family, we have had a lot going on this summer. Alan started his MBA program, we moved from Utah to Wisconsin, and we have a little boy joining our family (to make a family of 6!) in just a few months! There’s been a lot of big changes, but we are excited about this phase of our lives.
Wisconsin is different than Utah, but have loved getting to know the area. There are corn fields everywhere! And the people are super friendly. We love our new town home – complete with a 2 car garage and stairs, which is a huge leap for us! And I’m excited to decorate our new home. 🙂
Before we moved, we drove just 6 hours from Utah to Idaho and it was a disaster! So this time I was super prepared and it went great! This time we drove 21 hours and split the trip up into 3 days – 7 hours each day. I really liked that so we could go do something in the afternoon and stretch our legs out. But I know lots of people just try to get it all done at once, so I think either way can work.
The road trip from Utah to Wisconsin went surprisingly well so I wanted to share my tips with you! If you’re driving a long distance, you need these tips!
Here’s what to do:
1. Prizes every hour
To help keep things fun, I went to the dollar store and bought a prize for my kids for every hour. Our trip was 21 hours so I bought 21 prizes. I went to the dollar store and tried to buy as many multi-packs as possible so I didn’t have to spend so much. I also tried to avoid candy and sweets since they don’t last long. I spent $40 total and it was all worth it! It helped time go by more quickly and my kids couldn’t wait to get their next prize! I bought things like notebooks and markers, pipe cleaners (to make little bracelets), window stickers, microphones, books, stickers, dolls, dinosaurs, cars, etc. The window stickers and pipe cleaners were the biggest hits!
2. Mark your trip on a map
I printed a cute map of the US and marked where we started, where we were stopping each day, and our final destination. This was fun for the kids to see where we were going and they noticed things as we traveled through different states.
3. License plate game
On the same map, I also put a sticker on every different state license plate we saw. This was more for me and Alan since my kids can’t read yet. We loved it! And we saw 40 of the 50 plates on our trip! I felt pretty good about that. 🙂
4. Bring special treats and snacks
I brought lots of different snacks in the car so the kids had a large variety. I also bought special things like fruit roll ups that I never buy at home. This made it more exciting when I pulled them out and they knew it was a special treat! We also grabbed a small ice cream cone or Frosty a few times when we stopped for gas.
5. Kid Songs
If you don’t have a way to listen to Pandora in your car, buy a radio transmitter now! This is amazing and my kids love it! Even for day to day errands we plug in Pandora and listen to kid songs. They love to sing along and dance to the music. We really like the Toddler Radio and Disney Radio stations. There are other stations like Family Road Trips too. Find a few you like and bring them on the road (and don’t forget your charger!). The microphones I bought as a prize were a big hit with the songs!
6. Separate your kids
I know this isn’t always a possibility, but if you have the space, move all children from each other. We have a Honda Pilot and fitting all the kids in the middle was just a bad idea. They can’t keep their hands to themselves…ever. So we put two kids in the middle seat with a seat in between and then one kid in the back. In Pilots you can have just one seat up in the back row and put the other 2 seats down so we still had room for our luggage. It was a life saver. We first did this when we found out we were having another baby to see if the Pilot would still work for our family. We loved the arrangement so much we left it that way!
7. Movies with headphones
We bought DVD players for the car a while ago and they are great for road trips! I let the kids pick out 10 different movies before we left and brought them all in the car. They watched a lot of movies over those 3 days, but I figure it was a one time thing. And the headphones made it so Alan and I could listen to podcasts instead of Finding Nemo. 🙂
These tips made our move to Wisconsin a huge success! I’m much less afraid to travel long distances now because I know we can do it. It makes me not dread trying to get back to Utah next summer to visit our families. We will have another kid by then…so that may change things a little. 🙂 But I hope you find these tips as helpful as they were for us. Good luck!