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How to stop "Are We There Yet?" questions on a long road trip

Updated on July 24, 2011

Introduction

Last December my family drove to Disneyworld from our home in a suburb of Montreal. We picked a hotel about five sevenths of the way down to act as an interim rest point as travelling with kids requires this.

I came up with an idea of how to keep the kids somewhat entertained as we traveled the many miles it would take to get there. In a nutshell it is a chart that shows a bunch of interim towns along the way that they can check off as we are travelling.

Preparing the chart

Before going on your road trip, use Google Maps, or any other mapping website or software you have and find out what the total distance is of your trip. Now divide that total distance into between 25 and 40 sections (ie a shorter road trip will take fewer sections). So let's say the trip is 4000 miles, I would divide that up into 40 sections of 100 miles each. Now, from your starting position, look for the town that is roughly 100 miles away, and take a note of the name of the town as well as the mileage marker from the start. From that town, look for the next one that is roughly 100 miles away and take a note of the mileage marker for that town. Continue like this all the way to your destination.

I did this and saved it in a spreadsheet that had one other empty column to write the temperature. Our Grand Caravan has a temperature gauge that is easily visible to all of the occupants of the van so, since we were travelling from Montreal to Florida in December, there would be a significant difference in temperatures as we traveled.

I also included the reverse markings for the return trip. For a future trip I would add a few extra empty columns to write down the actual mileage recorded in the van, the time of day (or night) that we reach each town and any other information we might want to track.

Using the chart

So as we drove the kids will no longer be asking, "Are we there yet?" but rather, "are we at X town yet?" In this way the kids can track the progress of the road trip and will have a much better idea as to how much more travel there is based on their chart and how many empty rows there are.

Other notes the child can write on the chart are things like places that we stopped to pee, places we stopped to eat, places we stopped just for gas and so on. The child can also use the margins of the page to write anything else they might see along the way, like a large group of cows, or a falcon that was circling above the highway, or a train of sixteen identical shipping trucks.

Keeping the chart

Once we got home from the vacation we were able to keep those pages and add them to the trip's scrapbook as a record of the journey to and from Disneyworld. My two oldest children were really happy to have this page as it really helped them to understand how long it would take to get there and it gave them a sense of anticipation as we got closer. My youngest at just under two years old had no appreciation for this, as you can well imagine.

Comments

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    • Phil Plasma profile imageAUTHOR

      Phil Plasma 

      6 years ago from Montreal, Quebec

      I'll check it out, thanks for stopping by.

    • profile image

      Brooke 

      6 years ago

      Are we there yet is a GREAT movie

      Regards Brooke

    • Phil Plasma profile imageAUTHOR

      Phil Plasma 

      7 years ago from Montreal, Quebec

      It made the world of difference in my 8yo at the time as he could really read the page, read the signs, write the temperatures and so on. For littler kids it isn't quite as helpful. Thanks for stopping by!

    • Rock_nj profile image

      John Coviello 

      7 years ago from New Jersey

      I liked this Hub Phil. I have yet to take a trip with my young one, but your idea about making the trip fun and charting it out is an excellent one. I'm sure it will help.

    • Phil Plasma profile imageAUTHOR

      Phil Plasma 

      7 years ago from Montreal, Quebec

      Sometimes in my life I lose interest in a project before it ends.

    • Stephen Kalu profile image

      stephen kalu 

      7 years ago from Nigeria

      Nice hub, sometimes in my life i try to give up on a project that has almost come to an end. Very educative hub.

    • Phil Plasma profile imageAUTHOR

      Phil Plasma 

      7 years ago from Montreal, Quebec

      Thanks - I hope I can get kids involved for other families who also do road trips.

    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 

      7 years ago from Upstate New York

      Good idea. I know how very excited kids get in anticipation of Disneyland. You were very, very wise, o father, to prepare that chart and get the kids involved. Otherwise, they would have driven you CRAZY!!!

    • Phil Plasma profile imageAUTHOR

      Phil Plasma 

      7 years ago from Montreal, Quebec

      MC, stopping at every venue sure would extend the trip.

      This past weekend we went to a family party about a two hour drive away and my 6yo asked a few times about 'are we there yet'. Maybe even for this short trip I'll make a chart for the next time we do it.

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 

      7 years ago from South Africa

      It was my father’s habit to stop at every venue that had some historical value. So we tended to become irritated because it took too long to reach our ‘real’ destination. Oh, but it is bad when the children keep asking, “How far are we know?” On a 3-hour trip my granddaughter (7) asks this question ten times! But so did I when I was her age.

    • Phil Plasma profile imageAUTHOR

      Phil Plasma 

      7 years ago from Montreal, Quebec

      Thanks Carl, I hope I get a lot of readers who have kids who take hold of this idea; it will certainly help them.

    • carlness profile image

      carlness 

      7 years ago from San Francisco

      This is interesting to me. I dont have kids but I can remember my brothers, sister, and I asking CONSTANTLY when we did road trips. This would have helped. We usually just played a license plate game where we saw who could find the most states on the way. Interesting + voteup.

    • Phil Plasma profile imageAUTHOR

      Phil Plasma 

      7 years ago from Montreal, Quebec

      apple, as a kid I was never upset at not having arrived, just looking out the window kept me sufficiently entertained, but my kids needed more than that.

      Matt, thanks!

      mouse, thanks for the votes - yes a terrific record for the future.

    • hungrymouse profile image

      hungrymouse 

      7 years ago from North America

      That's an interesting creative solution thats got my vote and up. Nice record for the future too!

    • mattdigiulio profile image

      mattdigiulio 

      7 years ago

      Brilliant. Interesting per usual.

      Best, Matt

    • applecsmith profile image

      Carrie Smith 

      7 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      This is an excellent idea! I will have to use this on my nieces and nephews in the future. I'm also slightly bummed I didn't have this on road trips as a kid. Would have been fun and educational at the same time.

      Thanks for sharing like always!

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