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tranquilsea's avatar

Any tips for making a 15 hr. drive with 3 kids and just me driving?

Asked by tranquilsea (17739points) July 26th, 2010

Soon, I’ll be driving a good way across Canada without my hubby to spell me off. My kids are older (15, 12 and 10).

I’ve driven 18 hour days before but that was when I was a teen and I had my sister to spell me off when I got tired.

I am most concerned about the first day of driving. The other days are an easy 9 hours, 6 hours, 7 hours and then 4 hours.

My plan, so far, is to take a lot of breaks. Get out of the car and stretch my legs and maybe jog up and down for a few minutes.

Anyone have any other tips for staying focused on driving and avoiding fatigue?

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31 Answers

Dutchess_III's avatar

I’m confused. Your question said it was 15 hours. Not sure where the 18 hours came in….. I add up 26 hours from the numbers you gave up there, and you suggest that the first day will be the longest, longer than even 9 hours…..

tranquilsea's avatar

The 18 hours was my longest trip as a teenager. That was years ago. The 15 hour drive is the one coming up. The first day of driving will be about 15 hours, the second 9, the third 6 hours and so on.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Why do you have to drive 15 hours the first day?

YARNLADY's avatar

When I used to drive my grandson’s to my house for the summer, we would take an extra day, so I could stop frequently, and we always made sure to stop at a hotel with at least a spa, and usually a pool.

I used to take a 13 inch TV and a VCR, which would be plugged into the inverter we bought. I made a box to put them in so they wouldn’t tip over in the car.

Now they have personal DVD players that do the job much better. Our newest car has a drop down player built in.

Drink lots of water or juice. Traveling will dry you out very fast, and use body lotion at night for a more comfortable drive the next day.

Dutchess_III's avatar

(Gran kids in a box! Now THERE’S an idea!!)

tranquilsea's avatar

@Dutchess_III It is either 15 hours in the first day or I leave a day earlier which I don’t really want to do as my hubby’s 40th birthday is that weekend. I want one day post party with him before we take off.

Splitting that first day is something I am considering but I really don’t want to leave earlier.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I see. Well….do you have a newer car, with a DVD player? I’d guess that’s your only hope! And get lots of paper games. When you’re done, let us know which ward you’ve been checked into so we can come see you! That’s a helluva drive.

tranquilsea's avatar

@YARNLADY I’ve booked hotels with pools so the kids can unwind. That first week is really going to suck because it is just drive, drive, drive.

The kids are pretty stocked with things to do. We routinely made the drive from Calgary to Vancouver (14 hours) with them and they developed ways to keep themselves busy though that time.

I’ve done books on tape before (now books on iPod). That helps pass the time.

BoBo1946's avatar

yes, rent a u-haul and put the kids in it…loll…

My suggestion would break it up into two days!

jazmina88's avatar

snacks…..fruit. a nice cooler. wraps. caffeine. iced coffee. get an early start.

or split up that first day and get 4 or 5 hours out of the way.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Good thought…leave early, early in the morning…middle of the night even, and the kids will sleep through a good portion of it.

chyna's avatar

Games, portable dvd player, IPODs.

BoBo1946's avatar

This could work….something to keep the kids occupied.

Portable DVD Player 7” LCD Screen With Latest Features.

tranquilsea's avatar

The only kid I’m worried about is my daughter. She has developed motion sickness and the last two longish drives she needed an anti nausea pill every 4 hours. I’m hoping to circumnavigate that by having her in the front seat and looking out the front windshield.

I wish caffeine worked on me.

charliecompany34's avatar

you need a minivan with DVD and plenty of movies and fruit snacks and just stuff like pillows, IPODs video games and just stuff like paper and pencils for drawing or coloring. lots of water and juice and just stuff. it will last for a while and then you have to go into primal mode and get resourceful. it aint easy.

tranquilsea's avatar

We actually bought this minivan without the dvd because we didn’t want it. The kids read, play car games etc. while we drive.

What I am most concerned with is staying focused. I usually have my hubby with me and we switch out on long drives. This time he won’t be with me until Toronto. I’m planning on pulling over when I start feeling tired, but on an extremely long drive I won’t want to pull over too often.

I’m am starting to lean toward splitting that day into two driving days for safety’s sake. It’ll be tight after putting together and holding that party but it will be safer and less stressful.

Thanks for all your replies!

wundayatta's avatar

@chyna That’s the ticket! Valium!

But actually, what I think she needs is to stimulate the kids. If they’re bouncing around the car, that’ll keep her awake. As it is, they sound too easy.

One thing that keeps me awake while driving is having to tell the kids a story.

Also, I don’t know what the rules are in Canada, but in the US, 15 is almost old enough to get a license. Why not let your kid spell you?

tranquilsea's avatar

@wundayatta We’ve been on him to get his learner’s for months! He’s making an effort right now to study and make a go at the test the day before we leave.

But in saying that I would be hesitant to let him drive as the speed limits are 110km/hr on the TransCanada. Those are “everybody in the car died” speeds. It would have been nice if he’d have gotten his learner’s license a couple of months ago so he could have had some practise on easier roads.

This trip would have been ideal when my youngest was 2. He managed to scream for 600 km on one trip. No fear of falling asleep at the wheel when that is going on.

Pandora's avatar

Take a bus, a train or a plane. I wouldn’t trust driving 15 hours by myself. Too easy to get tired and get in an accident.
I would consider getting a lot of expresso.

perspicacious's avatar


Dutchess_III's avatar

Yeah, @tranquilsea I know you don’t want to, but splitting it into 2 day is a good, safe idea.

BTW, prompted by @Pandora‘s suggestion, have you looked at train tickets? They very comparable to air line tickets, i.e. comparable to gas to run your own car. Please, look into it.

tranquilsea's avatar

Nope, but thanks for the suggestion. We’ve planned this trip for years and we’ve always planned it driving. We’re actually driving to Nova Scotia and then back through the northern States.

The train across Canada, although it would be very cool, is tremendously expensive.

Cruiser's avatar

An MP3 player loaded with all your favorite tunes and a charger for it is essential for road trips. Stop every 2 hours max whether you need to or not. Enjoy the scenery and waving to everyone makes it more enjoyable.

tranquilsea's avatar

@Cruiser Thanks, we’ve got the car decked out with an iPod compliant stereo that charges too. I would be lost without it on long trips. I’m going to make a special trip to the library to load up on audio books that we can listen to on the trip. Seven hours goes by fast when you are listening to a great book.

Cruiser's avatar

@tranquilsea Audio books are great and thanks for that reminder. Have a safe fun trip!

tranquilsea's avatar

@Cruiser Thanks :-) We are really excited about it. Once we hit east of Winnipeg we are in the land of thousands of lakes. I’m really looking forward to watching the scenery and meeting people from far and wide.

Cruiser's avatar

@tranquilsea How nice!! I would ditch the music and books and just drink in that scenery once up there! Lucky you!

tranquilsea's avatar

@Cruiser There are quite a few points, through the Rocky Mountains, where I have said that they are the most beautiful places on earth. I’m looking forward to testing that notion.

The only thing I’m not looking forward to are the bugs!

WestRiverrat's avatar

When we travelled as children, my dad always started the trip at 1–2am. Us kids slept or dozed for the first 3–4 hours. So we were pretty much settled into a routine when we were awake enough to get bored.

Frequent breaks is a good idea. When we were on vacation, my dad made it a point to get to our daily stop by noon or shortly after. That gave us time to see any sites do any shopping for the next day.

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