I love family road trips. With five of us, traveling by car is certainly a cheaper way to travel but it can mean limits on our destinations. One of our favourite trips for us is Walt Disney World in Florida. It’s not a bad drive if you are prepared.
The drive itself is about 22 hours from our home. I know a few families that make the drive in one straight flight, switching the driver en-route, but as my vision impedes my ability to drive at night we tend to break the route up over two days. This actually works out great and adds to the fun of our trip.
If you have a long family road trip planed, here are 5 tips that make the drive easier for the whole family (and fun for the kids):
- Divide the Travel Time. We break our drive into two days, weighing the first part of the drive with more hours than the second part. This means roughly a 13-hour drive on day one and a 9-hour drive on day two. After many road trips my husband has figured out his limit for one day and 13 hours is about it (with breaks)
- Incorporate Extra Time for the Unexpected. I like to add an hour to an hour and a half in the drive time to allow for roadside stops, construction (we always seem to find this on the US highways) and traffic congestion around major city centers.
- Leave Early. Neither my husband nor I are fans of night driving so we always plan an early departure, I mean really early, in the morning. We tend to leave around 4 a.m. on the first day. The kids are usually still sleepy since the sun isn’t up so it means a pretty quiet drive for a few hours, at least until we reach the border.
- Keep the Kids in their PJs. My kids love this tradition plus it helps them keep in sleep mode a little longer. We plan a stop for a quick breakfast bite and give the kids a chance to change in the washroom ready for the rest of the drive.
- Pack an Overnight Bag. Instead of dragging everyone’s luggage in and out of the hotel room for our short stop on day 1, I pack a small overnight with PJs, toilettes and change of clothes. It’s easy to pop in and out of the hotel on the road with one small bag.
Getting on the road is only a small portion of the journey; keeping the kids entertained for the other 10 odd hours a day can be the real challenge. I’m of the mindset that traveling is as much a part of our family vacation as the destination. That means distractions with a theme.
My kids helped to organize for our upcoming road trip to Walt Disney World and we put this little video together sharing some ways we keep everyone sane and happy (mom and dad included) with a little Disney twist:
The drive to Walt Disney World seems to be a road trip many families have taken, some as kids and now with their own kids. Have you done the drive with your family? How do you keep the kids entertained in the car?