1. Anytime you drive near a rest stop, stop. You know that the moment you pass by one and the next stop is 50 miles away, SOMEONE will have to go to the bathroom.
2. No matter how many times your school age child says he has cleaned up his trash in the back seat, know that you will find a week old sopping wet juice box back there at the end of your trip.
3. You can bribe, cajole, blackmail and threaten your kids to clean up their trash until your blue in the face. They still will forget to do it.
4. Hot Wheels should always be banned from a car trip.
5. DVD players are amazing! (and the kids are insanely excited since our rule is no DVD player unless the trip is an hour long or more)
6. Bring liquid Melatonin and tell your toddler it's candy. Makes for happy kids who will sleep (at some point in the night)
7. 1 TV in a hotel room to be split between more than one child is cause for tantrums
8. Get 2 TVs in your hotel room
9. Hotel beds can withstand an insane amount of bed jumping from multiple kids
10. Hotel managers cant
11. iPods can only drown out most of the screaming "ARE WE THERE YET!!!!" but not all.
12. Babies can only stand 40 minutes of sitting in a car seat during long trips.
13. Stop every 40 minutes if you value your sanity.
14. Before leaving, get your kids to like YOUR music. If you don't I have extreme pity for you.
15. After listening to Raffi for 4 hours solid, I give you permission to toss the CD in the trash and tell your kids you "lost it". It's ok, they'll get over it after an hour.
16. Only go out to dinner when there is no other adults around. You know, like 4:30pm.
17. Make sure you doggy bag everything so you can your spouse can eat dinner when the kids pass out
18. at 11pm
19. Crayons and coloring books are great in theory for long car rides not not executed very well. YOU try scrambling for the black crayon while your spouse is driving 65 mph and your toddler is screaming because he dropped it and purple just isn't good enough.
20. Instead of crayons and coloring books, invest in several aqua doodles.
21. And bottled water.
22. Let your kids fall asleep while watching a movie in the hotel room. It's ok. Its vacation. Besides they pass out within 20 minutes of the movie starting anyways.
23. Only bring movies you can stand to have on the background nonstop. Your kids will try to watch the same movie every night since they keep falling asleep 20 minutes into it.
24. Teach your children to call your spouse a goober head. Watch hilarity ensue for the rest of the trip.
25. Beware though they will continue to do this when the trip ends. (it's still pretty funny to hear your 2 yr old call you a goober head)
26. Books on tape are not worth bringing along unless you can guarantee all kids passing out that the same time. Which, essentially, is impossible.
27. keep your purse/bag/ pockets filled with special candy treats. If visiting relatives or family friends, show your kids said treats, and tell them they can have them if they behave the whole time. If they don't let them know YOU will eat the treats instead. Instant perfect behavior!
28. Unless your relatives or friends have something better to offer them.
29. The trip back home will always feel 3 times longer than the ride up. The ride up to kids is an adventure. The ride home is not so much fun. Besides everything has been played with already and pieces of toys are missing under the mountain of luggage.
30. Last and most important of all take a lot of pictures. You and your family can look back at them and remember all of those wonderful memories you created together. And you may also have one or two photos to use as blackmail when they become teenagers. Cherish those moments, the good and the bad. It always goes by too quickly!