Part 4: Advice on scheduling
We did two types of driving on our trip – overnight driving and day driving.
Our day drives consisted from 5 hours to 12 hours. I would highly suggest overnight driving for any distance longer than 12 hours. We would leave in the afternoon (2 pm for us). The kids would watch a movie in the car (invest in good headphones; it’s totally worth it), have dinner, and then watch one more movie.
At some point during that last movie, we would do our 3 hour stop for driving change and gas and have the kids change in to pajamas. I packed them in a backpack in the back of the car. Pass out pillows and blankets and everyone get’s cozy. Do your best to time this with it getting dark – driving through time changes can complicate this so plan accordingly.
Once the movie was over, we packed up toys and headphones and it was “lights out”. Our kids slept around 8 hours at night in the car. We hardly had to stop and we made great time during our night driving hours. If you are doing day driving, I would suggest several hours without movie or electronics. This allowed our younger kids to nap and the older kids to get some rest too. This was the time we listened to music together, listened to a streaming book, or just talked about our trip. It was wonderful time in the car.
One last tip about driving at night – when you stop to change into pajamas tilt the kids’ seats back a little bit. Our 2 year old sits in a forward-facing car seat and his head was flopping around when he slept. We tilted the seat and his car seat back just a little and he slept much more comfortably. We found this applied to the older kids in booster seats as well.
I hope the road trip you’ve been dreaming of becomes a reality and that some of my advice helps make it a memorable trip!