Driving with kids, traveling more specific can be a hectic endeavor. I could give you tips and tricks to make the drive easier, list some must have's for the road. But, really all you need for the road is one thing. Well two, the first being make sure you have all children accounted for. No Home Alone experiences, I am pretty sure that is frowned upon. The second thing needed is to pack your sense of humor. Seriously, don't take anything serious.
I have three children that are ages 7, 5 and 4. I can pack the most scrumptious snacks ever to exist. Give them a new toy that they get to open up at the start of the trip, let them watch movie after movie on the DVD player. Things will still get rough, there will be some moments of chaos, they will still fight over if they want the window open or closed, and that one is giving the other mean looks. I will decide I can't go on driving anymore, my husband will ignore the kid's demands, and there will be tears. Probabaly from each of us at some point.
Kid's are good for that. No amount of planning will prevent the moment when you want to turn around or leave one kid at the rest stop (again, that is frowned upon). So to make it through, find the funny in the mundane. Turn the music up, make the car wiggle with your booty shaking. On one recent trip my oldest exclaimed "Mommy, this is not our jam. Can you change the channel?" I mean, excuse me lady, let us find your "jam".
My kid's will have contests of who can make the funniest sound. My husband and I play along. This particular contest always turns into who can make the loudest fart noise. Oh yeah, I went there. When it comes to long car rides, or any car ride getting a fit of the giggles is sometimes the only thing to keep you sane. You have to loose your mind to stay sane.
A few other noteworthy silly moments that have been had were "wait for the beat, now drop it!" "Let's just fly this car, I am done with driving." "That person is totally picking their nose." "What does being kicked in the balls mean?" Yep, that was a fun explanation.
I actually find that in car rides I get more time with the kids. Yes, they are confined. But that is it, they are confined. So am I. I don't ever text and drive, leave even using the phone to a minimum while driving. My kid's can't run off and do something else. We get to talk, be silly, have fun, ask random questions of each other, and sing really loudly to the radio.
So that is my pro tip. As a Mom to three growing kids, always let the crazy out. Have some fun, listen to the random conversation your kids are having about dogs, their school, the toy they are playing with or where to put their booger. Better yet, handle the booger situation. If there is one less crusty booger floating around the car that is always a good thing. Life gets tough, life with kids is really, tough. Riding in a car for any period of time longer than 5 minutes is really, REALLY tough. Laughing, talking, and hanging out during the drive is not so tough. In fact, this part of parenting is for anyone.
Pack the snacks, the juice boxes that will get squeezed all over their clothes, bring the coloring books, the toy car's, the small fairy doll's, your entire movie collection, and lot's of wipes. Potty trained kids or not those things come in handy. But, have some fun. Laugh at things, live a little, get a little silly. If you are relaxed and having a good time so will they. The kid's feed off of us, they look to us for the cues, if you are singing to the radio so will they. Unless it is not their "jam". Then they will pester you to change the station. But, annoying your kids with off key singing can be just as fun as singing with them.