Road Trips! People have mixed emotions about road trips. I have personally always loved them. I love travel - flying, driving, cruising - you name it! It's fun to get away and it's fun to mix up you're routine a little bit. But, along with the fun comes a lot of stress - making sure you have everything booked that you need to, packing all the right things, not forgetting anything, setting up anything at your home before you leave (pet sitters, mail delivery, etc). And then you add kids to the mix. If you're traveling with kids, it's a whole new ballgame. You will thank me for these 5 tips and necessities for traveling with kids.
1. Have a bag for each kid that you keep by their seat. Consider these emergency bags. This isn't the bag of toys or snacks. This is a bag of diapers, wipes, hand sanitizer, common medicines they may need, bandaids, etc. Each kids bag will be different dependent on their age and needs but these are things that you don't want to have to go digging through your suitcase for when there's an "emergency"on the road.
2. Download new Apps or Movies on your smart devices. If you aren't opposed to screen time on the road trip, download some apps or tv shows/movies that won't need Wifi. If it's something your kid hasn't seen before, it's likely to hold their attention longer. Again, these downloads will be different depending on the age of the kid. We LOVE the Homer app for our girls. It's educational and super interactive and they give you material based on your child's education level (it will ask questions at the beginning to determine this).
3. Snacks! Snacks! And more Snacks! In our family, we do trivia questions for the good snacks (fruit snacks, chocolate, skittles, gummy bears). My husband and I come up with the questions for each girl based on what they would know. For our 3 year old, things like, "Name a fruit that grows on a tree". If she gets it right, she gets to choose a fun snack. This helps to pass the time and helps prevent them from inhaling a whole bag of skittles in 30 seconds. In addition to the FUN snacks, we bring a VARIETY of all type of snacks - chips, trail mix, dried fruit, veggie straws, nuts, etc. And don't forget to have a few beverage options (but limit the intake, for obvious reasons). You can't have enough snacks!
4. A new gift! I always have something new for each kid. I try to not break it out until we've exhausted all other options. It brings some excitement later in the trip. Sometimes it's something they've been wanting, other times it's something that just makes sense for a road trip. Just something fun, new, easy to travel with. Don't forget to get a gift for the hubby too!
5. HYPE UP THE TRIP. My mom always did this when we were little and it made us SO EXCITED for trips. Talk about it days before the trip. Get new pjs for your kids to wear in the car. Get them a new, fun blanket or pillow or stuffed animal (again, age dependent). Tell them that you have fun surprises for them throughout the trip. Have them help as much as they can with packing, looking at maps, figuring out where to stop for lunch. Make everything so fun for them so that it is the best time for everyone.
Traveling was intended to be fun! So as stressful as it gets, remember the whole intention of the trip! Turn on some fun music, have some mini dance parties. Be prepared for lots of stops - account for a few extra hours of travel time. And don't forget to take lots of pictures! Have a blast!
We'd love to hear any tips you have! Or any must-have toys for travel!