Tomorrow at 10 a.m.

| | Comments (53)
... I'll be on "Great Day St. Louis" to talk about taking family road trips of the non-Griswold variety. How do you survive trips down Route 66 with two boys in the backseat?


I kid.

Oh the stories I could tell about my family road trips. Like the time a bee got into our car and my stepdad almost ran us into a ditch because of All the Screaming and my mom with her big violet 70s sunglasses.

Then there was that time, actually the eleventy-frillionth time, that our car broke down on the side of the highway and some very friendly Bubbas in overalls came to fix it for us or the time(s) I got carsick and threw up in the furry floorboard of the car. Which had no AC. And it was sunny summer. And 95 degrees.

Dana's Essential Short List of Vehicular Road Trip Necessities:
- Dramamine. I cannot travel without it
- CDs. I do a Jack Nicholson from "As Good As It Gets" and burn mixes with songs categorized relative to travel duration
- Maps because you can't get GPS in some spots in the Ozark hills
- A camera
- Barf bag
- Snacks
- Each kid has an activity bag
- Nintendo DSi. One for each kid. WORTH IT. Cheaper than buying a new car we can't afford with the fancy little television screens that drop down from the ceiling in the back.
- First aid kit. We will promptly run out of band-aids after the first rest stop.
- Blankets

Chris made me stop at flares because he thinks I'm ridiculous but I'm a Scaggs on my maternal side and I do not want to taunt fate because if there's a chance for all h-e-double-hockeysticks to break loose on a roadtrip then all h-e-double-hockeysticks will break loose on our roadtrip.

Anyway, I'll be on at ten o'clock.

Out of curiosity, what can you NOT do without on a roadtrip?  



We have a portable DVD player (it doubles as my CD player at home) and it is worth it. The 2 year old can't play a DS yet, the four year old has been told "not until you can read".

I've discovered a box of snacks is better than a bag of snacks. The Clif bars don't get mushed. I keep it by my feet and wait until the natives get restless.

No car sickness so far, but I always pack a first aid kit including thermometer, Motrin, Tylenol, and any other medicines I can think of. Nothing stinks more than being in a hotel room with a feverish kid, in a strange city, and having to run out to get Tylenol.

Our lists are pretty similar, but I do bring some empty water bottles for my son to pee in. I know it's gross, but getting stuck in traffic, or being no where near a rest stop is bad news when your kid has to pee. I'd rather him pee in a bottle in our car than go into some of the gross rest stops. (Also cuts down on stops)

Music. Typically I just zone out and focus on driving-for some reason I can completely clear my mind when I drive and time passes by very quickly for me. There have been times though where I will get bored and go through virtually every CD I brought for just a 3 hour drive to Springfield.

On the DSi's for the boys: I agree it is totally worth it. We bought our son a DS and it is a god send on long trips.

My must-have is a portable DVD player that straps to the back of the front seat (goes around the base of the headrest), and comes with earphones. I got mine for about $125 - totally worth it for a 10 hour drive with a 3 year old.

I love road trips. Just recently got back from a road trip from KCMO to Virginia Beach and back. Almost 3000 miles.
My husband and I cannot start a road trip without stopping at Werner's Specialty Foods in Mission Kansas. We always leave around lunch time so we stop in and get a brat, ruben sandwich, or a schnitzel sandwich. And of course a large pickle.

Road trip? What is this road trip you speak of?

If it means more than one hour in the car with two kids, then it is SO WORTH THE AIRFARE.

Since my wife got a new old car (used, in other words) that had a "line-in" feature, we've replaced CDs with an iPod!

Also, you are so right about the DS machines...except my youngest had her Nintendogs special edition STOLEN. ARRRRRGGGGHHHHHH.

We're getting ready to trek from St Louis to Grand Rapids, Michigan this weekend with a one year old and a three year old. I would probably end up pulling out all my hair if we didn't have the Color Wonder travel pack. My kids can have their own on their laps, the markers don't mark on anything but the color wonder paper and the girls are silent for a whole, blissful twenty minutes at a time. Otherwise we have a bunch of picture books, babies, and thankyouGodAlmighty! a DVD player that flips down from the ceiling. When they get particularly ornery, we toss in a movie and let them nap.

As a kid we always had a giant bag of jolly ranchers. I can't see them without feeling like it's time for a road trip.

My daughter's belt positioning booster seat has built in lights that aim directly at her lap - why I didn't buy the same for the other one I'll never know...
A magna-doodle, doodle-pad, or "writing board" as my daughters call it - and they have their own mp3 player loaded child friendly songs - paired with a set of headphones that you can plug ANOTHER set of headphones into - so they can both listen to the same music and I'm spared the joy of hours of singing along with "Move to the Music" songs from Noggin...

Baby wipes are a no-go item.

We cross the US several times a year, and I always scout the sale aisles in every junk store for random cheap tchotchkes to pass out as 'toys'. You'd be surprised how a 25 cent craft item excites when there's nothing else to do.
I also buy the canvas tote bags and bring buttons along to sew on. And Sharpies. And then I tell the kids to write what each state is famous for and doodle it on the bag. It's a great souvenier and stows the car crap along the way.

I know you're asking about road trips, but I've found the perfect activity for kids on a plane.

Hand the kid a pen and tell them to put mustaches on all the women in the in-flight magazine. You might have to explain that they encourage you to take the thing with you. Show them the crossword puzzle to prove that just this once, it's allowed to write in the magazine. Add giant rubber ducks, Tarzan, or speech balloons where each of the products in the ads tries to tell you why you should (or shouldn't) buy them.

This technique will give you at least an hour of distraction. For language arts, ask them to describe what the reaction of the next person in the seat will be.

Definitely music. For my old car ('96 Cavalier), I bought a Sony Discman that could play mp3 CDs and a gadget that could pipe audio through your car stereo by tuning to a certain frequency. I'd bring one CD w/ a bunch of mp3's I'd ripped, put it in the Discman, tune to the magic frequency, and I'd be off. My new car ('07 Ford Edge) has line-in AND a 6-CD tray that can play mp3 CDs. Makes the 6-hour drive from Nashville to STL to visit my parents go by that much quicker.

I love the idea of audio books on a long road trip, but one must be careful to keep the content lively. I almost fell asleep at the wheel while listening to "The Bridges of Madison County" read aloud (and sappily) by its author. Not good.

A pillow!

Any recommendations for a road trip with a four month old? Do you stop to let them "walk around" and stretch their legs?

I am with you are travel tunes. When we take road trips we make a mix of "the best of" certain artists, different each trip. We have tourtured and delighted our three girls with a plethora of music styles. They can sing word for word everything from Patsy Cline to Queen.

We really like the "Hank the CowDog" audio book series that we check out from the library. We switch b/t audio, DVD's, and coloring/writing. Last month we printed out a map of the US and every time we saw a new license plate we colored in the state it was from.

The portable DVD player is a Godsend. We would go to Target a few days before and pick out one of the cheap movies. We wouldn't get to watch it until the actual trip.

Since we're older, we have found that travel versions of some games (Scrabble is a popular one for us) really help. And, God help the person who forgets the snack bag. Snacks are essential.

portable dvd player, first aid/med box, box of snacks , water, travel potty chair( I have a girls so empty water bottle doesnt work) , coloring books, Ipod, movies for kids and mommy, bag to put trash in as we go, baby wipes and small pillow

books on CD...we listened to one of the Harry Potter books years ago and it makes long trips fly by. Also, crosswords, deck of cards for go fish and Uno keeps the kiddos occupado!

Favorite game once kiddos can read is the "Alphabet game"...find words on signs, cars, buildings that start with the first letter and so on....looking for the K and Q words keeps them busy for a long they really pay attention to their surroundings and see cool, unexpected things.

Books, books, and more books! Music, music, and more music! My daughter's DS and her own bag of activities. Books, for her, too! I have recently discovered that she is a fiend for books just like me! I am so excited! All my hubby requires is lots of music and a map to anywhere~! Oh yes, a camera or two, so we can document any and everything!

We are currently on a road trip from Graham, WA (near Seattle, WA) to Senatobia, MS (near Memphis, TN. We just tonight made it to Childress, TX, and are finally somewhere that has internet and a laundry facility~ THANK GOODNESS! We've seen California, Vegas, the Hoover Dam, and the Grand Canyon. Can I tell you that the Grand Canyon is so breath-takingly beautiful that it almost made me cry? It's also very big, wide, and deep, which made my heebie-jeebies about heights kick into overdrive, but it was so worth it. The only thing I found disconcerting is that I heard more foreign languages than English while I was there, which tells me that Americans aren't visiting our natural wonders in the US enough. We will be going to Yellowstone too, on the way home! I can hardly wait!

It's been a heck of a drive, and we have more to go. Over 6,000 miles total, when we are done!

Good luck on your road trip, Dana!

Cattleprod. Helps to keep the little guys under control in the backseat. Seriously, I make the kids suffer in the backseat just like we did. No fancy toys. They have to make up games to pass the time themselves. How many cars can you count before you see a..., that sort of thing. Roadtrips are sacred family events and should never be sullied with technology; ok, maybe an AM radio listening to country and western stations in small towns three states away at midnight. If kids get to bury themselves in computers and videos how will they ever learn to whine in the most effective way? Maybe, if you feel that a toy is necessary, buy them one of those horseshoe puzzles at a tacky roadside gfitshop when you stop to get peanut brittle.

We recently returned from a 4.5 hour car trip to and from Chicago. Books were a big win on our trip. I'd packed his Leapster and all the games, but he just wanted to read (yay!). And lots of snacks for both age groups. Other than that, we use the passing scenery for entertainment. My husband is awesome at pointing out things of interest to a 5 year old.

I don't have children, so all I need for a roadtrip is a companion that I can stand for the duration of the trip. Preferably a male one.

On road, with little kids, we always carry a travel potty chair with us, even if they are not on those training days. It avoids them to go to public services.

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Dana asks: "Thanksgiving Traditions: Yours or Your Mother's?"