I had so much fun reading others tips and ideas, I thought it might be interesting to share mine too :) I found out there's lots of tips and tricks out there for big road trips if you go looking for them! After awhile I felt like I was on "idea overload"! :) We took lots of things along to try to keep people occupied, I knew they probably wouldn't all get used but it was exciting to have these bags of things that no one could play with until trip time! Another thing I wanted badly to do, was figure out some way to not have to drag 50 things in everytime we stopped for the night. A kind reader sent me an article with lots of great ideas and it included the perfect packing tip!
So, without further ado:
disclaimer: I realize I am a light packer. If these ideas sound crazy to you, that's fine :) Maybe there's someone out there like me who will like them!
1) We put a rod in the back of the van and put all our dresses, shirts, pants, jackets...in short, everything possible...on hangers.
2) We used two "communal" suitcases, one big and one little. In the big one I packed all of our night clothes, our box of toothbrushes/paste, etc, shampoo/soap and a few other misc items. In the small one I packed all our underware and socks and here's where the perfect tip came in: I took a gallon size zip loc bag for each of us and wrote our names on them. Into each went that person's underware and socks. (*) Flatten out all the air, throw it in! It kept things neat and orderly and even Lillian (age 4) could find her own things easily. I loved it! It also made it simple to put things away when we came home! When we stopped for the night, out came 2 suitcases and 7 sets of clothes on hangers and that was it!
*note: this was summertime so there weren't many socks. You could use 2 bags per person if needed.
since we had a big van, we took along a small stack of drawers that's usually full of doll clothes to hold all our stuff. Worked great tucked between Charles' car seat and the back of the driver's seat!
1) Coloring books/crayons/markers; Paper and pencils/pens
2) Books to look at/read
3) Books on tape from the library
4) A pack of pipe cleaners - my girls love making people and shapes out of them!
5) Magnets of our family and house and a cookie sheet to play with them on. I read this on a blog somewhere a long time ago and thought it was so neat! I took pictures of each of us and of some of our furniture, cut loosely around them, bought magnetic sheets, stuck the pictures on and cut close around them and made magnets! (We discovered the cookie sheet came in handy for a nice lap desk too!)
6) Three ring binder with plastic sleeves. I put blank paper in a few and cut pages out of an activity book and stuck them in the rest. They could write on the sleeves with washable markers and then wipe them off!
7) A list of all the states to mark of license plates. Chris and Isaac had a big competition going with that! I think they found all but 7!
8) A bag of wrapped packages. I went to Dollar Tree one day and had fun! :) Nothing big, just little stuff. On the days we drove for longer stretches, I'd set the timer for an hour an they'd get to pick a package to open. This had to be the hit of all the activities along!
9) Other misc - sometimes we'd do the timer thing and play a game when it went off, or read another chapter in the book we bought, or sing, or tell stories.
10) Rubberband bracelets. The girls spent a bunch of time on those!
11) Games. I think the only one we ended up using was Battleship and the Uno Dice for Charles!
Charles was the biggest pain! There's not much to amuse a 15 month old in a van that lasts more than a few minutes! We had some books and toys and snacks,etc. His favorite activities turned out to be messing around with the Ipad, and playing with the Uno Dice game on the cookie sheet :)
I think that's it! Should have asked y'all for ideas before we left - maybe you'll have to share them and I'll tuck them away for another time!