Yes we drove 6,000 km with the kids. For those of you in the states, this is about 3,728 miles. We drove from Montreal to South Florida with the 2 kids. Our family and friends thought we were crazy! Maybe we were a bit but we are an adventurous family and we love road trips. We travel a lot and kids are used to the car. But we have never experienced such a long trip.
How did we come up with this idea? It all started when a generous friend of mine offered we stay in her condo in Fort Lauderdale for 2 weeks. At first we thought we would take a plane. It is only 4 hours flight but since we were going into the peak season, it was too expensive. We decided to drive!
Fort Lauderdale is 2500 km far away from home. Which makes it 5,000 km for back and forth and 1,000 km for extra touring: visiting Orlando, theme parks such as Wet’nWilde, New York for BlogHer, etc.
Tips to have a pleasant road trip
I have to admit that we were a bit nervous because it is our longest road trip and my daughter is always car sick. To ensure a smooth and pleasant road trip we took the following steps that worked:
- We downloaded the best GPS ever on our phones: TomTom. This GPS provides you with precise directions. You can set it to avoid toll charges (and there were many on the road) avoid traffic, suggest hotels to stay! It has a great reception even during heavy storms. We hit 2 heavy storms in Virginia and the GPS managed to show us the road!
- Even with the GPS, we took with us few maps! We went to CAA (AAA in US) and they provided us with a road map, where to stop, routes to take and maps of the major cities. My husband thought it was useless to have a map since we have GPS but it turned out to be very handy. These maps are great to organize your stops and destinations. Since it is a 24 hours drive we couldn’t obviously do it in one day! We used the map to fix our next stop/goal, learn about the cities we are crossing. It was also a great learning tool for my 11-year-old. In few hours, he learned about the East Coast major cities.
- Download films! With a 24 hours drive, it is hard to keep the kids busy! My daughter had some toys to play with and my son some stories to read but it wasn’t enough. So we download few films from the iTunes store on the iPad. It was a lifesaver.
- Bring some snacks: I am sure that most of the parents do so but I can’t emphasize how important it is. We had some dried fruits, nuts, (some chips too: it is vacation time so time for some unusual snacks). The snacks are important for the kids as well as for the drivers. It helps boost them and keep on going.
- Don’t forget a small cooler. Since we were travelling in the summer, the cooler was handy to keep our drinks cold and fruits fresh. We made sure to add some ice when we stopped for gas.
- 3 stops in 1. We tried to optimize each stop. Every one went to bathroom, ate snacks or dinner and put gas in the car. It is a great way to save on time and cut the stops.
- Drive in turns: It is a long road trip! It can be exhausting, your partner should relax for few hours while you drive and vice versa. I have to admit though that my husband drove more than I did. He firmly believes that I drive too slowly! I do not but I believe that he wanted to enjoy the driving!!
- Patience: Even if we enjoyed the road trip, sometimes we found it was a bit long. We just reminded them that we will be swimming soon and we will visit theme parks. It was enough to keep them going for few hours until the next stop!
I will be sharing more about the trips and places we stayed! Have you experienced a long road trip? What is your best tip? Share it with us!