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Old 02-14-2013, 10:35 PM   #1
avinsmomma
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Road tripping MO to TX

We are planning to drive the 13 hours from our home in Missouri to Galveston, TX with our 3 year old son. Does anyone have tips or suggestions on making this drive? We're planning to leave early and travel 6-7 hours, stop for the night near the TX/OK border then drive to the Galveston area the next day, spend the night there and board the cruise ship the next day.
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Old 02-14-2013, 10:45 PM   #2
ChloroFiend
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Where in MO? I've driven from Dallas to Chicago numerous times; the former is home now, the latter used to be.

If you're near KC, the easiest way is to probably just ride I-35 all the way to Dallas, and then hop I-45 from there.

If you're off of I-44 or near St. Louis, I'd suggest taking I-44 into Oklahoma, then taking US-69/US-75 all the way down to Dallas. It's primarily 4-lane highways, though it goes through a bunch of small towns. It's actually quite quick of a drive, with the added convenience of plenty of opportunities to stop.

45 between Dallas and Houston is relatively construction free right now; you might run into some around Houston, but nothing terrible. Traffic in both cities around rush hour can be epic, so plan your timings accordingly! There's really not much in the 3-4 hours between Dallas and Houston, so be warned...bright side, the speed limit is 75 a good part of the way.
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Old 02-14-2013, 11:52 PM   #3
MikeAndNick
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My son and I did road trips every two years from California to North East Texas from the time he was 2 years old. Last time we went to Texas by the way of Yellowstone park and Mt. Rushmore. He always had cars, army men, Lego's and color books within his reach. We also spent lots of time playing car games.
  1. Theres a Car -- When there is not many cars on the road we look for cars any place and say "theres a car"
  2. ABC game - The first person finds the letter "A" anyplace outside the car. Then the next person has to find the letter "B" and you keep going
  3. 123 game - Same as the ABC game but you start with the number 1 and move up. It gets interesting when you get into double digits. You have to find both on the same sign or car or truck.
  4. Where are are you going - You pick a car or truck and tell the others where you would take the vehicle and what you would see driving in that place. Note: the place does not have to be on earth... use your imagination
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Disney Cruise Lines: Wonder Land and Sea – Bahamas 2005, Magic Eastbound Trans Atlantic 2010, Magic Mexican Riviera Nov 20, 2011, Fantasy Western Caribbean June 23, 2012, Wonder Bahamian December 14, 2013
Princess Cruse Lines: Panama Canal 2006, San Francisco Alaska June 19, 2011, Pacific Coast Nov 24, 2013
Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines: Mexican Riviera 2009
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Old 02-15-2013, 07:24 AM   #4
avinsmomma
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We are coming off of 44 between St. Louis and Springfield. Good info to know about Dallas/Houston!
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Old 02-15-2013, 07:32 AM   #5
mbrocker
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We're doing the same -- but from OH to TX. Our first really big road trip. Yeah, I'm freaking out a bit. Great thread idea!
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Old 02-15-2013, 07:40 AM   #6
FrogMBA
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I am driving 22 hrs from Michigan to Galveston. Most of the trip will be down us 59. Hope to do it in 2 days.
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Old 02-15-2013, 10:35 AM   #7
green country
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Plan on lots of breaks. Someone mentioned Hwy 69/75 that runs through OK.
It is a very popular highway with truckers. There are some McDonalds that have playgrounds in McAlester and Durant, OK if I remember. There is also a McD in Vinita that is a glass house over I-44 that is different.
Pack a DVD player and maybe plan on riding in the back seat at times to keep your little one company.
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Old 02-15-2013, 11:11 AM   #8
nkochrn
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We are about to make the drive from Kansas to Florida with a 3 y/o and 5 y/o! We plan to split the drive into 3 days and drive around 6 hours/day. DH and I are usually up until 11pm, so were planning to get several hours of driving in at night, like 8pm-Midnight, this way the kids will be sleeping for a lot of the trip. I very rarely can sleep in when I'm on vacation or in a hotel, so I'm guessing we'll be on the road by 8am every day. We've researched some places along the way to stop that would give kids a chance to run off energy and stretch. I'll be on the lookout for big malls with play areas and we've spotted a few discovery centers.

This is what I have planned so far to entertain the kids:
  • DVD's-Planning to purchase a few new ones they haven't seen
  • Leapsters-DS LOVES his!, Nintendo DS, Cell phone games
  • Little Gifts-I have several little dollar store toys that I plan to give them spread throughout the trip, like random gifts.
  • Color Wonder Books with Markers
  • Travel Bingo-I've seen a few different ones for kids

ETA: When is your trip? We are leaving Kansas City on Feb 28th, maybe I'll be able to bring back some things I've learned after our trip
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Old 02-15-2013, 11:23 AM   #9
avinsmomma
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We leave mid April! Good luck!
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Old 02-15-2013, 11:36 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by avinsmomma
We are planning to drive the 13 hours from our home in Missouri to Galveston, TX with our 3 year old son. Does anyone have tips or suggestions on making this drive? We're planning to leave early and travel 6-7 hours, stop for the night near the TX/OK border then drive to the Galveston area the next day, spend the night there and board the cruise ship the next day.
We are venturing on our 1st road trip too...Illinois to Galveston Tx , we all get car sick... But saving around $1000 by driving should help that! Lol

Plenty of movies, little games, books, cooler of snacks & food & drinks, little figures he can play with in hand (GI Joe, Dino's, little people), CDs or music he would like. And stop & let him run around at a rest area would help some too!

Good luck & have fun!
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Old 02-15-2013, 11:46 AM   #11
FlowerMouse
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I drive between TX and IL at least once a year. This year, I am driving from TX to Vancouver. Talk about packing challenges need to pack for desert and mountain snow.

I highly recommend going to Mcdonalds website and search for restaurant location. ( You have to search before option appears.) Once you do, an option appears "trip planning". Select this search Mcdonalds between your destinations for ones that have play places. This way you know which exits to take. For long drives, I usually stop at McDonalds at least once per day to let the kids energy out. Not my favorite thing to do but makes the drive so much better. To me stopping at McDonalds without playplaces are a waste of time.
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Old 02-15-2013, 12:08 PM   #12
mbrocker
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Sidewalk chalk is an awesome thing to have on a road trip. We'll also pack a cooler, pillows, stuffed "huggers", something for the boys feet to rest on. DVDs, tablets, playdoh, magnetic letters and cookie sheet, stickers, magnadoodles, hot wheels, iPad, kindle, books, music .. Holy moly ..I hope I still have room for luggage!
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Old 02-15-2013, 01:08 PM   #13
avinsmomma
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Do you all make reservations for hotels along the way or do you wing it and stop when the kids can't ride anymore?
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Old 02-15-2013, 01:37 PM   #14
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We started driving everywhere since we had 2 kids. The cost to fly is getting too expensive and frankly it is more stressful lugging stuff for the kids through the airport than it is to drive for 2 days in my eyes.

Our first road trip was 8/2011 when we drove from Austin to WDW with 2 kids 7 and 2. The second road trip was 3/2012 when we drove to LA for our MR Wonder cruise with 3 kids 8, 3, and 3 months. The third trip was back to Northern California 12/2012 to visit family. Our kids at that time were 9, 3, and 1 year old.

The trip when our son was 3 months was the craziest. We have a Honda Odyssey van with the rear seat entertainment so that helps. Here is some other things we do.

1. We buy a bunch of apps for our 2 iPads that we DON'T tell the kids about. When they start to get restless I say "Hey have you tried this new game?".
2. We take a couple new movies they haven't seen before and don't tell them about them until we are on the road.
3. We make the new goodie bags that they haven't seen and give them to them when we start the trip.
4. We try to book hotels with indoor pools (since we mostly travel when it is cool). We time our day so after dinner our drive is done and the kids can swim. We had a problem where the kids are wild from being in the car all day and the swim wears them out so they'll go to sleep at a reasonable time.
5. We try to stop at least once every 100 miles. Make everyone get out of the car unless a child is napping.
6. I limit our drive to 650 miles MAX. We leave really early each day like 6a.m. and are usually done by about 6p.m. The kids eat, swim, and then go to sleep around 9.
7. We have lots of games to play but usually only the 9 year old will participate.
8. We spread the kids out in the van so they can't reach each other. Once we tried having them all in the middle row and it was CRAZY. They can get cranky and if you have one that is an instigator they can cause a huge uproar in the car.
9. Since there isn't usually anything good to eat when we have time to stop we let the kids pick where we are going to eat.
10. Avoid free breakfasts in the hotel. They add a TON of time before you can leave.
11. We book our hotels LONG in advance using refundable rates. Then the week before I check to see what the non-refundable rates are and switch to those if they are cheaper.
12. I plan the trip on google maps to figure out how far to go. The time estimates are good. If google maps says it is 9 hours without stops always add 2 hours for stops.
13. Bring a small ice chest full of water, kids juice, snacks. Kids are not very forgiving (especially in the middle of Texas where it can be 100 miles until the next gas station).

Oh and if you are driving through Dallas make sure you get an In-N-Out burger. I am ex Californian and I just had to put that in.
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Old 02-15-2013, 04:10 PM   #15
PrincessaJasmine
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Great tips above! One thing I didn't realize on roadtrips when my kids were younger is that the carseats have far less cushion than what we adults sit on. We made sure to stop more often to allow them to stretch their legs.

I agree that the In-n-out burgers are worth a stop!
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