Road trip with kids tips

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Dec 3rd, 2018, 12:31 PM
  #1
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Road trip with kids tips

Hi!
Me, my sister and my 3 nieces will go soon on a road trip to spend Christmas at Maine with some relatives. We are thinking about driving from Upstate NY to the destination, to save money on flights and enjoy the landscape. Any tips to survive a road trip with kids?
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Dec 4th, 2018, 02:41 AM
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You didn't mention age of kids or how long a trip it is. Are you thinking a halfway stop for some fun? Our choice of route is to avoid certain interstates like the Mass Turnpike I90. If driving conditions are ok, from Albany you can head to Brattleboro VT but keep in mind this is over Hogback Mountain and includes some switchbacks. From Brattleboro head to Keene NH. You can either take Rt 101 to Nashua but instead of continuing on Rt 101 I would go north on the Everett Turnpike, then I293/I93 to Concord and then Rt 4/202 to Rt 16 which will connect you with I95 at the Portsmouth NH traffic circle. This might had as much as an hour to your trip but it also depends on road conditions and traffic.
If you take Rt 101 it will take you thru Peterborough NH which is a pretty little town. You might visit a couple of shops. The Toadstool Book Store has both new and used books and is within walking distance of a few shops and restaurants.
If you go Keene to Concord, you have the option of stopping at a huge used book barn in Henniker (kind of grubby with narrow aisles) or Gibson's in Concord which is a wonderful independent book store which also carries educational toys. Rt 4/202 goes thru Northwood where Piece Time Puzzles is located. Would be a great visit if the girls are into jigsaw puzzles.
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Dec 4th, 2018, 03:22 AM
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Good advice so far. You haven't specified where in "Upstate NY" or Maine you are planning to drive between. Both are quite large with many options.

If you are very far north, you could take the ferry (if it is running) to Burlington and then take 3 to the Bangor area or 3 to 302 to the Portland area.
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Dec 4th, 2018, 06:03 AM
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We drive from upstate NY (Albany area) to near Freeport/Brunswick ME several times a year. In my experience it's far better just to bite the bullet and get the drive over with using I90/Mass Pike, connnecting to I495 to I95 through New Hampshire. The slow roads through VT and NH can make for a nice fall foliage drive but can be painfully slow and winding. Stretching a 5hr -6hr drive over 2 days if you stop enroute, or into a single 8hr+ driving day is torture, and runs counter to your "survive the road trip with kids" desire. There are plenty of landscape sights in ME for you to visit when you are there.

We typically stop for a quick snack or lunch on the Mass Pike, and again in Kittery ME since it's an easy on/off the highway.

Reny's stores in ME will be a place you could take the kids for shopping.

But I agree with emalloy. Depending on your perspective, "upstate NY" ranges from Westchester to Plattsburg to Rochester and all points in between. Ditto for ME. If you are anywhere south of or near the I90 corridor in NY then I'd still recommend you take the route I described above vs traversing VT & NH. If you're starting north of Lake George & headed to northern ME, then of course a northerly route makes sense.
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Dec 5th, 2018, 02:52 AM
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Google maps Albany NY to Brunswick ME via I90 = 4 hrs 51 minutes (293 miles)
via Rt 9 thru VT, Keene NH to Concord to Rt 101/Portsmouth = 5 hrs 3 minutes (278 miles)
granted you can probably drive over the speed limit easier on I90 then on winding Rt 9
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Dec 10th, 2018, 08:07 AM
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There's a good checklist on this road trip with kids article; I'm definitely going to follow it. Anything important missing? (Checklist it's at the bottom of the article)
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Dec 11th, 2018, 11:54 PM
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Bringing along snacks and a cooler needs some more detail. We like to take an iced tea break so use Lipton's Cold Brew tea bags. We take basic picnic supplies such as plastic cups and utensils but also things like a small paring knife (I prefer to eat apples that have been sliced) and cutting board. It depends on what you like for snacks.
For road tripping around Maine we also like to take bag chairs so it's possible to do things like have a picnic lunch on top of Mt. Battie in Camden or find a shady spot in the trees at Pemaquid Point to enjoy just sitting and watching to water or reading a book. Sometimes we've found a sweet little picnic area with tables but usually we pull out our chairs and cooler. Lighthouses are another place where you can sit awhile to enjoy the view. Also Eastern Promenade in Portland ME and Fort Williams Park in South Portland.

And since you are exploring Maine, I'd put a few towels and beach shoes/sandals in the car. Might be too cold for swimming but wading and exploring tide pools is fun.
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Dec 13th, 2018, 07:28 PM
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There's not much on that list I would bother with, and the most essential item is movies and it's missing. If you don't have a screen already in the car use a laptop stuck with velcro to a cooler. Use headphones, bring cords that branch to 3 users or maybe bluetooth?

You don't want juice and drinks, then they have to pee all the time. And head pillows! I can't even get one of those to work.

Trash bags yes, wipes yes. Kleenex!
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Dec 13th, 2018, 09:10 PM
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dfrostnh: >>For road tripping around Maine we also like to take bag chairs so it's possible to do things like have a picnic lunch on top of Mt. Battie in Camden or find a shady spot in the trees at Pemaquid Point to enjoy just sitting and watching to water or reading a book. Sometimes we've found a sweet little picnic area with tables but usually we pull out our chairs and cooler. <<

Picnics and shady spots in late December?

But carmenkw - I'm a little confused. Immediately before this thread (like 4 minutes) you started one asking about a post-Christmas get away from Texas to New England or the FL Keys. Just seems odd you were contemplating flying from Texas to NE just after driving from upstate NY to Maine?
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Dec 14th, 2018, 05:14 AM
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Originally Posted by janisj View Post
dfrostnh: >>For road tripping around Maine we also like to take bag chairs so it's possible to do things like have a picnic lunch on top of Mt. Battie in Camden or find a shady spot in the trees at Pemaquid Point to enjoy just sitting and watching to water or reading a book. Sometimes we've found a sweet little picnic area with tables but usually we pull out our chairs and cooler. <<

Picnics and shady spots in late December?

But carmenkw - I'm a little confused. Immediately before this thread (like 4 minutes) you started one asking about a post-Christmas get away from Texas to New England or the FL Keys. Just seems odd you were contemplating flying from Texas to NE just after driving from upstate NY to Maine?
Sorry, I lost track of what time of year for the trip.
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Dec 14th, 2018, 08:25 AM
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Great advice!
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Dec 14th, 2018, 09:06 AM
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I'm beginning to think both threads were to get in a link to the Real Deal website . . .
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Dec 14th, 2018, 04:22 PM
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Ditto... what JanisJ said.
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Dec 14th, 2018, 06:04 PM
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I feel so used...
Not the first time here on Fodors, but still....
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