Road Tripping With the Family for Thanksgiving

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Thanksgiving means family, big meals, reflection on the special things in our life and for many it means a jaunt to the grandparents or some other relatives house for a big meal. For those of us who are packing suitcases tonight and joining the 46 million people AAA reports will be traveling this Thanksgiving, I offer up these tips on how to survive with the kids based on a recent 10-hour trip to and from Ohio in a four-day weekend.

1. Pack snacks. I think that goes for anywhere you go with a child. And honestly, I like a snack too. Bring a variety, something healthy and then something sweet just for fun. And remember to bring water bottles that can be refilled and the juice box for an occasional beverage treat. 

2. Movies, TV shows and apps. If you have a DVD player in your car or van, you know this. For those of us who don’t, but do have an iPad or other tablet device, download a movie and a few TV shows and maybe a few new apps for the kids to play (maybe a Podcast for mom and dad?). I thought I’d never give into the digital devices in the car, but then as my kid got older, I ask myself why? Why would I not take advantage of technology? I keep it to a limit because I’m still a believer in looking out the window, seeing sights and the random car conversation.

3. Activity books. Bring sticker books, markers, crayons and activity books loaded with mazes and word games. These were a big hit with my 5-year-old on the 10-hour road trip.

4. Pack a soccer ball. Consider making stops along the way that have an open space where the kids can get out of the car and run and play, kick the soccer ball around and get out some energy. It’s good from them, and me, too! With any luck, and depending on their age, after a little exercise they may nap out for at least an hour or two on the journey.

5. Play road trip games. I Spy is fun, or how about the game where you talk like you don’t have teeth and add vegetables are you in rounds in the car? Or there’s the license tag game, sign game looking for letters of the alphabet, etc. This list of 10 Priceless Road Trip Games has some great ideas. And if you have a minute, print a Road Trip Bingo. Or if there is more than one child riding together in the back seat, UNO makes for a great game to pass the time. Here are some other great ideas from Road Trip Mom.

They say half the fun is the journey. Make the most of it and enjoy. And if you’re family is rolling right into Christmas, check out our list of Christmas Tree Choose and Cut locations and why it’s a great way to kick-off the holiday season with the family.