My husband and I are a few weeks away from embarking on our first family vacation to the Outer Banks. We are really excited: going with good friends whose kids are very close with ours, a week to lounge on the beach or at the pool, a break from real life. Good times.

What is making me nervous is the 12 hour car ride. That’s a long ass time in the car for anyone, let alone an antsy three year old. Our kids are good travelers and definitely sleep in the car. They are fine during our five hour trek to upstate Vermont each August, but five hours ain’t NOTHIN compared to 12.

We have gotten some great tips from fellow parents who’ve BTDT (been there, done that), as well as some Pinterest inspiration, so I’m going to share with you our potential plan of attack in the hopes that maybe it’ll help you, too. OR. You’ll laugh at my naivety and just tell me to pack a few flasks and power through it.

  1. Leave at night. If we leave around 10pm, the girls will either transition seamlessly from bed to car seat (Olivia) or be groggy enough that they’ll fall back to sleep in a reasonable amount of time (Audrey – hopefully before midnight?).
  2. Bring a portable potty. We have this one and the liners to go with it and it’s a life saver. Because it has liners, cleanup is a breeze.
  3. Electronics. Because come on. We have an iPad. I fully intend to load it with movies and games.
  4. Travel games/activities. How amazing is this idea?

    swiped from Pinterest -- if this is your idea, tell us! I want to give you MAD PROPS.

    swiped from Pinterest — if this is your idea, tell us! I want to give you MAD PROPS.

  5. Snacks. Portion out snacks/drinks and have them easily accessible to small, hangry people.
  6. Books. I plan on filling one of our canvas totes with the girls’ favorite books (both regular and activity) and putting it between them.
  7. Emergency/necessity kit. I’m packing a tote with: wipes, bandages, nail clippers, medication (prescription and OTC), hydrocortisone, sunscreen, lotion, chapstick, extra hair ties and a comb, full change of clothes for each kid, and hand sanitizer. And maybe ear plugs for the grown ups? Kidding. Maybe.

That’s all I’ve got so far. What am I missing? Have you survived any long road trips with your kids? I read that a few people have “bribed” (I am ALL FOR BRIBES, to be clear) their kids to behave during long car rides. As in, for each hour they get along and act like normal humans, they earn a dollar to spend on vacation. And it works. I don’t think my kids (3 & 5) are quite old enough to grasp this concept but I am not above giving it a try!

Happy Summer!

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