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While we do use our miles and points to fly, our family takes a lot of road trips. The economies of driving vs. flying when you have a family of 8 skew much heavier to driving. On a recent trip from Cincinnati to Nauvoo, Illinois, we drove about 1000 miles roundtrip.

(SEE ALSO: 9 (free) things to do in Nauvoo Illinois for kids and families)

(SEE ALSO: 7 things to know about the Nauvoo Pageant (and the British Pageant)

Even in a minivan, we probably paid around $100 total in gas for our transportation, which is barely more than the TAXES we’d have to pay on 8 roundtrip award tickets (not to mention the actual MILES for an award redemption)

a back of a van with two boxes on the back

Our minivan packed up and ready to go roadtrippin!

Classic roadtrip games

As veterans of the classic roadtrip, we are quite familiar with all of the different ways to keep kids entertained on roadtrips.  We’ve done variations on the classic “low-tech” roadtrip games

  • The Alphabet game
  • Roadtrip Bingo
  • Finding cars with different state license plates (I remember stopping at Gettysburg while playing this and feeling like we had hit the jackpot!)
  • Music / books on CD
  • “I am something in the world – what am I?” (extended version of 20 questions
  • Or gasp, reading a book?!!? 😛

A few years ago we got a portable DVD player that we set up between the front headrests so that everyone could watch a movie. The only problem with that? There isn’t a movie in the world that pleases a 4 year old girl and a 14 year old boy… 🙂

Using the Nintendo 2DS System on a roadtrip

Most recently, as my kids have gotten older and gotten their own phones / devices, we have migrated more towards each person having their own devices and choosing their own entertainment. So when Nintendo reached out to me and offered to provide our family with a Nintendo 2DS System and some games for our upcoming roadtrip, I was excited to give it a try.

It was a hit for sure.  One roadtrip tip that I think helped is that even though we got the Nintendo 2DS XL Systems a week or two before our trip, we didn’t let the kids play with them until the actual trip. That way it built up a sense of anticipation

a boy and girl in a car

The Nintendo 2DS XL plays any Nintendo 2DS or 3DS games.

Local multiplayer mode with the Nintendo 2DS XL

One interesting feature of the Nintendo 2DS system is the ability to play in what’s called “Local multiplayer” mode. That means that only one person needs to have the actual game disc, and everyone else can join in without having the disc.

Mario Kart 7 is one game that’s available in local multiplayer game. My kids are all big Mario Kart fans so this was the first game that they decided to try. One of my daughters had the disc, so she put it in her system, and then everyone else was able to join in even without having the disc. We decided to start this out after we’d stopped at a rest area in case there was any parental help needed to get it all set up, but it ended up working pretty flawlessly. After just a quick configuration, they were off doing some 6 way Mario Kart

a group of people in a car holding devices

Despite the initial success with local multiplayer mode with Mario Kart, most of the time they used their Nintendo 2DS XL systems they would play on their own, though of course there was plenty of “look at this” going on 🙂

As a parent / driver, I was just happy that it kept all of THEM happy, and we arrived at our destination in what felt like no time!

Where to buy the Nintendo 2DS XL

The Nintendo 2DS XL comes in 3 different color combinations (black and turquoise, red and orange, or purple and silver). You can buy it at all of your major retail shops.  There are also different bundles that come with games installed. Here are a few listings on Amazon

a group of boys in a car

A note on “screen time”

One final note – I recognize that different parents have different rules and policies on screen time, and generally I am a fan of “you do you”. Personally, we tend to limit screen time for our kids, though as our kids have gotten older, we’ve gotten more relaxed on it.  But on roadtrips and other travel heavy days, it is our family’s opinion that all bets are off – do whatever you have to do to make it through the day!  Your parenting mileage may vary 🙂

My kids are very happy with the Nintendo 2DS XL systems and we (as parents and road trip drivers!) were quite happy for how peaceful it made the road trip!

Readers now it’s your turn? What are your go-to strategies for keeping the peace on a roadtrip?

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