So that's my number one tip - - best way to travel with kids - do it while they're sleeping :) Also know as - - best way to deal with kids while traveling - don't deal with them :)
UPDATE: - - I thought this list was pretty accurate, but Trevor thought it was sugar-coated - - here's his version: Traveling with Kids - unedited!
I guess I can dig up some other tips....
- Take a fun picture of the kids loaded up in the car. For some reason I guess I haven't - these couple were all I could dig up, and the kids are really young in them.....
- Seating is KEY!! Make sure you give it some thought. If you have a baby/toddler, you probably want them near the front so you can reach them. Kids that can buckle themselves can be in the back. Consider sitting an older child next to a younger one, so if the younger one drops snacks or drinks or toys, the older one can pick it up, etc. Consider personalities - - right now we always sit our 2 girls in the back together - they get along so great. When my older two (9 year old boy and 7 year old girl) are back there together they annoy each other and cause lots of contention. So the girls are the perfect combo for a happier ride.
- Books on CD - - we don't do a lot of "screen time", so books on CD is a great option. For our kids (ages 9, 7, 5, 3) I would suggest Magic Treehouse and 39 Clues - books I don't mind listening to. They can all get the gist of what's going on, except for the 3 year old who just zones it out. We hit pause occasionally to review what's going on for the younger ones. Last year we got all the books to The City Of Ember series and they loved those - and so did I!!
- Grab Box - - have a box of new-to-them toys (dollar store, garage sales, etc) and let them pick out of the box every hour or so. Ours is an old Lego container and I blogged about it HERE.
- Electronics - - they have their place - tablet, DS, DVD player - - whatever you want to bust out and rotate around the kids.
- Snacks! -- we don't buy a lot of snacks - until it's vacation, then the amount of junky food I buy is unreal. Kate saw my load once and was in awe. I buy lots of candy, fruit snacks, etc - whatever the kids will get excited about. And then use that as treats for good behavior. I don't do a whole lot of drinks because I don't want to make a whole lot of bathroom stops....
- enjoy it!! I have Trevor trapped in a car with me, with no kids awake to distract him - it's fun! we get hours and hours to talk - sometimes it's hard to find time in day-to-day life to just talk. We talk about life goals and money and raising the kids, etc.
- take turns! I'll admit I couldn't do it - but Trevor takes the bulk. He drives most of the trip anyways. At night he'll drive and I'll be awake til about midnight. Then I'll sleep til about 3am til he gets super tired. Then since I rested, I'll drive my turn - which is pathetic - maybe a couple of hours. By then the sun is started to come up, so Trevor's back awake and ready to go. When we get to our destination we can sometimes sneak in a nap to catch up on the sleeping.
- while driving myself at night, I constantly eat to be alert - I love Pringles and pretzels because they're salty and Spree and Sweetarts for sweets. By the end my tongue is raw. Also Dr. Pepper is a trip must. We highly recommend listening to podcasts (our favorite - Dave Ramsey) - something about listening to talk radio and thinking about the topic makes you stay away and alert versus listening to music.
- admit defeat - - if you're getting tired, wake the other person up. No reason to push it. If you're both tired, pull over and sleep at a rest stop for a couple hours. No problem to take a break.
Any other great advice you have??