The first thing that my wife and I have learned about living on the road with two small children is to go with rhythm rather than regimen. We constantly ask ourselves the question what wants to happen now? When we plan an activity for the day we cut in half the amount of time we allocate to the activity, this seems to reduce the stress caused by over stimulation.
If we need to travel more than two hours at one interval we always plan to stop for a short break in order to get our wiggles out. This seems to work well for adults and children alike because it breaks up the amount of time we are crammed in to a small space together. We make these regular stops at either rest stops or local parks with playgrounds along the way.
Lisa has provided us with many different types of music for children and adults to play in the car while we travel. We learn the words of songs together as we listen and sing along with the music. Certain music we play helps the children relax and even go to sleep for naps. Small children really are more oriented to their bodies and physical movement becomes essential for their emotional and mental well being.
Another important factor for our family is to have at least one separate room that can be used for either play or sleep. It has been difficult to find a true suite at most hotels along the way and we try to book a house through Airbnb or VRBO whenever possible. When we find ourselves in a situation where we need to travel over 3 hours in one day, we simply double the amount of time that mapquest says and plan small excursions to a petting zoo, train ride, public library, or childrens museum.
For example, tomorrow we need to travel 5 hours in order to get to our next intended destination. We will pack the night before, leave out only a change of fresh clothes for each of us, and plan at least two long breaks along the way. If we depart around 8 we should arrive on or before 6 rested with plenty of daylight left for unpacking the car.
Packing healthy snacks is another very important thing for successful family travel. We always have plenty of water, nuts, fresh fruit, string cheese, granola bars and hard boiled eggs whenever possible. This saves both time and money and keeps the family healthy and satisfied between meals. Living on the road with children can be challenging but also extremely rewarding as well.