Car Trip Games, and Road Trip Adventures, Traveling with Kids
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Rolling Reviews from the Backseat: Vanity PL8 Puzzles

By The Back Seat Reviewer — Road Trip Mom’s Daughter!

We recently got a copy of Vanity Pl8 Puzzles. I think it is a fun and entertaining book — on the road or off. The book is filled with over 170 vanity plate puzzles and fun facts about license plates and their history, appearances on famous people’s cars, and other odd things. It was moderately challenging and very interesting.

I had loads of fun figuring out what these license plates said. Some were harder than others, but luckily the answers are in the back.

The only problem is that some kids, like me, get carsick when they read in the car. If that is the case, you can always look for real vanity license plates and try to figure out if they have special meanings. I would definitely suggest this product as a time-passer in the car to any kid, or adult who likes solving fun puzzles.

NOTE FROM ROAD TRIP MOM: This is a review by my road trip daughter! She is hoping to be featured regularly on my website with her product reviews and backseat opinions. Please give her a warm welcome!

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June 23, 2008   3 Comments

Stretch Your Road Dollar

I’ve been groaning along with the rest of my readers over recent gas prices. But in a press release I received today, things got a little clearer. There is no need to let the pump prices become a fun-sucking black hole in your summer plans! Here is an excerpt:

Everyone seems to be complaining about the high cost of fuel causing them to cancel their summer vacation plans. Carol White, co-author of the book Living Your Road Trip Dream, says, “I don’t like the higher prices, but if you take a realistic look at it, it’s something that most of us can deal with.”

Did you cancel last year’s plans? According to AAA, gas prices have increased an average of $.56 a gallon since this time last year. Let’s go crazy and say it has been $.75 a gallon in your area. If your summer trip is 1000 miles long and your car gets an average of 23 MPG, your fuel will cost $32.60 more this year than last. One dinner at home instead of eating out before you go will save that much. Is $32 any reason to cancel your vacation?

Carol White is the co-author of the award-winning book, “Live Your Road Trip Dream” – the ultimate road trip planning guide for extended road trips.

Thanks for putting it into perspective. It may be a big increase in the price per gallon lately, but when you figure out how many gallons you are actually going to use, it’s not that big an increase in your overall travel budget. Just cut back a little somewhere else to make the ends meet. If you need help doing that, then check out all the ways you can save money on the road in my article “Stretch Your Dollar on the Road.”

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May 22, 2008   2 Comments

Fun for the Road: Crazy Eights

Playing cards is one of my kids’ favorite things to do when we are on the road, or waiting at our airport gate for our flight to board. I’ve uploaded some printable instructions to with the instructions for playing some fun easy card games when you are on the road or in airports.

So, if you’ve forgotten the details of how to play Old Maid or Crazy Eights, here’s your chance to brush up. As a mom, the funnest part for me is watching one of my kids try to keep a “Poker face” when he/she has just drawn the Old Maid from someone’s hand!

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April 30, 2008   Comments Off

Road Trip Fun: The Green Game

In honor of Earth Day, here is a car travel game invented by my 15 year old Cousin Ben while he was on a long road trip through California.

The Green Game:
When driving through towns and cities, look for a hybrid vehicle, such as the Toyota Prius. Then count to 45. Within 45 seconds you will see another one if you are in an environmentally friendly area. Play this to measure which towns are “green”.

April 22, 2008   1 Comment

Car Seat on Airplanes?

Should you bring your carseat on board the plane when traveling with your child?

Most airlines don’t require it, but your child is always safer when restrained properly. There is a great new product I came across recently that is MUCH easier than dragging a car seat through airports and on board the plane. It’s called a CARES (“child aviation restraint system”). It is the first and only FAA approved harness type child safety device.

It fits in your purse or diaper bag and keeps your child safe and secure aboard the plane. It’s a perfect solution for the car seat dilemma when flying with small children (who are big enough to no longer need a rear-facing infant seat).

So, my current recommendation is to use a CARES restraint on board the plane and check the carseat through to your destination (you’ll need that for the car when you get there). When checking your carseat with your luggage, ask that they put it into one of the huge thick plastic bags that are available at the airport (usually no charge). Without it, your carseat will be returned to you scratched up or smelling like jet fuel.

Without having to drag the carseat through security anymore, you’ll have one more hand available to take care of your child, and one less item to knock innocent people on the head as you make your way to your seat aboard the plane. :-)

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February 21, 2008   2 Comments

Advice: Back Seat Couch Potatoes?

Dear Road Trip Mom:
What is your viewpoint on electronics as a diversion?

So many parents pacify their kids these days with car-installed, or portable DVD players and/or handheld video games. Could kids be making better use of their time, or do you believe such devices have earned a place in roadtrip entertainment?

I do think these devices have a place in roadtrip entertainment, but mostly as a break from other activities.

You just can’t expect children to be actively engaged and play games for hours upon hours. At some point, they just want to take a break and rest. This is when a DVD player is appropriate in my opinion. Kick back and watch a movie, then everyone will be refreshed ready to be involved again.

A family car trip is one of the best opportunities parents have to spend a lot of time really talking with their children, and it’s an opportunity that shouldn’t be wasted. One of my website readers once wrote to me and said, “The trip there is half the fun because our vacation starts the minute we get in the car.”

February 14, 2008   3 Comments

Aaaarrrrrrrrr We There Yet?

After spending a day on the lake last summer pretending to be pirates, I was inspired to write an article about playing pirates on the road.

The time will pass quickly if you and your crew carry out your travels with pirate personas. Use your creativity and make every aspect of the trip pirate related. Speak like pirates. Sing pirate songs. Tell pirate jokes. Watch pirate movies. Wear pirate garb. Make pirate accessories. Basically, make like Roger and have a jolly good time in the car!

See the full article: “Pirates of the Caravan” for a bounty of ideas to get you started. If you know any good pirate jokes, please post them here and I’ll add them to the article!

November 16, 2007   4 Comments

Cootie Catcher

cootie catcher image ©2007 MomsMinivan.comI have updated the article on How to “How to Make a Cootie Catcher“! Most kids really enjoy making these from scratch; however, I’ve had a few requests for a pre-fab version, so I have answered the call. My own children are often the test subjects for new material at the website, and I’m happy to report that they were very pleased with my printable cootie catcher creation.

They especially liked that I offer two versions. One is all inclusive and complete. The other version has the “fortunes” areas left blank so you can fill in your own fortunes. Please enjoy these PDF files which are now part of the cootie catcher article, and also posted on the Printable Car Games page with all the other printable goodies.

Printable cootie catcher (pdf file) (complete with fortunes)
Blank cootie catcher (pdf file) (write your own fortunes)
images ©2007

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September 21, 2007   6 Comments