Are We There Yet?


Congratulations Vanessa Gray for winning the giveaway from Legacy Photo Impressions!

We recently packed up our baby, dog, half of the house, and traveled across the south to Dauphin Island, Alabama for a beach vacation. We enjoyed 5 relaxing days of lazying around, playing ridiculously outlandish games with the family, and eating way too many meals that did not agree with our swim attire. It was a blast. But it did not come without a cost. The 2 day trip down there, and the 14 hour trip back were both trying and exhausting. Here are some of the things I learned from road-tripping across the country with a baby.


1. Plan intentional stops. Stopping somewhere where we could accomplish multiple needs was super time-saving and almost enjoyable. For us, Chick Fil A had it all. Great play place for a toddler to stretch his legs, decent food, and clean restrooms for diaper changes.

2. Soft toys and mushy food. I’m probably breaking all kinds of car seat rules, but spending all day in a car seat facing backwards has to be boring! I try to give Kyler plush toys that won’t poke his eye out if we have to break quickly, and I sit back there and feed him only smooth purees so he won’t choke on anything. This really stretches his ability to ride happy for longer.

3. Good music. This is a no-brainer. When we weren’t singing “The wheels on the bus”, we were listening to The Civil Wars, Ryan Adams, and Wilco. My husband is devoted to instilling a love for good music in our son from a young age; I’m just hoping he can sing on key (unlike his mother).

4. Pack an over-night bag. We broke up our drive down there into 2 days, so we stayed in a hotel the first night. Thankfully I thought ahead (this is kind of uncharacteristic of me) and packed a bag for the hotel. This way, we didn’t have to unload the entire contents of our car just to find baby pajamas and underwear.

5. Embrace the road-trip-ness. We had the genius idea to make our 12 hour road trip into a 14 hour road trip by taking a detour to New Orleans. Why did we enjoy such self-inflicting pain? It was out of the way and added a few hours to the day, but we now have memories from sitting at a Cafe in the French Quarter listening to an awesome jazz band, while eating Cajun food with our son. Make the road trip part of the vacation. Go out of your way to give your kids new experiences, see new places, and learn about different cultures.

Obviously, I am no expert on road trips with kids. Road trips with a 10 month old baby sharing the back seat with a 50 lb dog…now that’s my area of expertise. But I am still learning and will continue to do so for many years. That’s why I want to know..

What are your tips for road-trips with kids??



  1. Long road trips for young children can be challenging but if you plan it right you can create some great summer memories. And with new tools like the smart phones and ipads you can really save yourself a lot of valuable room in the car. Instead of lugging around puzzles and games to play with little pieces to loose or eat depending on the child. Now you just have to have some great apps loaded and ready to go. Only you know your child’s likes and dislikes and might test out some games before you head out on your journey.

    My 5 year old daughter loves legos and ninjago is one of her favorite, so I ended up getting a fun <a href=""<tap,bubble popping game called <a href=""<Evil Sushi Squish. It was a life saver and a great way for her to get her bottled up energy out. She goes to town tapping my phone and loves to get to new ninja levels. This was a really great game for our trip, and I’m sure there are many others out there.

    Another thing I did to prepare for our 6 hour drive was to go to the href=””<Evil Sushi Squish web site and download the color sheets and activities. So when we got to the hotel she spent the evening coloring the charters of the game and played her Dad Evil Sushi Squish tic tac toe.

    So one thing I see is that the app games are becoming broader based and lots of them have web pages with extended activities. Evil Sushi Squish was so popular with my daughter she never even asked for a different game. But this goes back to repetition and how children can hear the same story over and over and never tire of it. You just have to find the right story or game.

    Hope this helps other parents about to take that summer car road trip.


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