6 Tips For a Successful Road Trip With The Kids
I’m no stranger when it comes to traveling and road trips. I am the product of a father who was a Soldier in the Army, and a mother who made the many change of station moves for our family so much easier. I’ve learned by watching her ability to plan, pack and keep my brother and were engaged and happy. Growing up as an Army brat has prepared me for my adventurous nature when it comes to trips with my own family.
My husband and I have family all over the United States and we try our best to keep our parents and siblings first on our list of people to visit. I’m ashamed to say that it’s been quite a few years since I’ve been to my childhood hometown of Huntsville Alabama, so I’ve made it a priority to go visit my dad and his family this Thanksgiving. We will be driving from Virginia to Alabama, making a stop in Nashville on the way down to pick up our son AJ. The entire trip should take about 11 hours, but I don’t feel intimidated at all! I actually love road trips (as long as I’m prepared). I love being on the road with my husband, occasionally holding hands, discussing life and our dreams with our family in tow. With that being said, let’s jump into these tips to ensure your road trip with your kids is successful and fun!
- Make lists. I make 4 lists. One for shopping, one for packing the kids, one for the adults and one for food. Packing lists will help to ensure you bring everything you and your family need, and will limit bringing unnecessary items. We will be on the road for about 11 hours in an 8 passenger SUV. The goal is to NOT pack the truck down, and to feel comfortable in our space.
- Speaking of comfort, tip #2 is very important; kid comfort. I’ve traveled enough to know that if the kids are happy, mom and dad are happy! While on the road, each child will wear comfortable clothes that suits them individually. My 6 year old often gets hot, so she’ll wear a t-shirt and comfortable leggings. My 3 year old doesn’t like to wear a coat in the car, so she’ll have on a t-shirt, sweater and comfy leggings. My boys usually dress in layers to make it easier to acclimate. Each child will have a travel pillow and a light blanket that they can snuggle and feel secure with.
- Entertainment. 11 hours is a long time for anyone to be in a car, let alone a 3, 6 and 13 year olds. They will become tired of riding, bored and restless! To help keep boredom at bay, I put together travel bags for each of the younger kids. The bags contain activity books, markers,
cards, games, stickers and a small toy. My boys are teenagers, so they have a book, their phones, tablets, and conversation with each other to keep them entertained. My younger kids don’t have tablets, so we invested in a travel dual DVD player with headphones. This will come in handy when the activity books just aren’t cutting it anymore.
- Bring food. I’m not a huge fan of fast food so I choose to pack healthy, convenient snacks I know the kids will eat. My boys do like the occasional burger and fries and I don’t object to them having that. Hey whatever makes them happy during the trip! I also make it a point to bring foods that don’t make a big mess. Sliced apples, crackers, veggie straws, mini marshmallows, granola bars, jerky, string cheese, and sandwiches I prepare myself, to name a few. Bring a trash bag to stay ahead of messes and to help stay organized and clutter free. I pack water bottles for each child, but I watch closely to how much they drink, so we aren’t making so many bathroom breaks.
- Travel potty. Our 3 year old is toilet/potty trained but this will be her first long road trip. To prepare for the trip, we are definitely bringing her potty with us. This is for emergency potty breaks that can’t wait and also for those not-so-inviting gas station bathrooms. With that said, be sure to bring anti-bacterial wipes and hand sanitizer!
- Lastly, have fun! Road trips are a great time to bond with your children. Play games, talk, listen to an audio book, listen to their favorite songs! I absolutely love to hear my girls belt out their favorite Disney sing-a-long.
And there you have it! 6 tips that are sure to help you prepare for your next road trip and make it a success. How do you prepare for your trips? What tips do you have for us? Please leave them in the comments below because it takes a village 🙂