Road trips used to be with my girl friends, blaring tunes, singing at the top of our lungs and worrying about what outfits to pack. Now road trips consist of how to keep the kids happy, them telling me to stop singing and packing everything but the kitchen sink.
This year for spring break we are taking the kids on a road trip to Arizona. This will be our third road trip with kids and by far the longest. We will be leaving from Wisconsin, stopping by Utah to visit my sister and then on to Arizona to stay with the in-laws. We are looking at over 60 hours round trip in the car.
I’ve learned a thing or two from our previous road trips and these are my road trip essentials when traveling with kids.
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At home kids have WiFi, on the road not so much. Since my kids get car sick we need to look for entertainment that will keep their eyes forward and/or out the window. I turn to a good old fashion DVD player for the bulk of their entertainment. I use two small bungee’s (that can be purchased at your local hardware store) and strap them to the head rest, they stay put and out of the way. Don’t forget the headphones! This road trip the kids are older and it will take more then movies to entertain them so I bought a couple games for them to play spotting things out the window on our road trip, License Plate Bingo and Auto Bingo. I also have a few new ideas I’m going to try out on this trip, you will have to wait and see what I have up my sleeve until after the trip.
We learned at an early age that Viv gets car sick and there is nothing worse then the smell of puke when you are trapped in a car for three days. We keep one puke bag in the pocket behind each seat and extras in the glove box. Even if your kids aren’t prone to car sickness it is still a good idea to have on hand. When we were driving home from our road trip to Montana Dec got sick two hours into the drive and he doesn’t usually get car sick. We stripped that car seat down to the plastic and wiped down the entire thing but we were smelling puke for the next seventeen hours!
Food & Drink
Vacations are expensive as it is so you don’t want to waste your money with gas station snacks and fast food. We have at least one cooler packed for the road trip with drinks and food. Then I also have snacks in little baggies within my reach when they are just starrrrrving and we aren’t ready to stop. Make sure you bring with a covered, no spill cup for the kids to drink out of. We have several, well loved, Contigo brand cups and they will be on this road trip with us.
Wipes; baby & disinfecting
Before babies I never carried wipes with me, now I don’t remember life without them. Even though I am past the days of changing diapers and wiping butts, baby wipes are always on hand. When you’re in the car you can’t always wash your hands and you know they will be eating, getting messy and making a mess. Use the disinfecting wipes to wipe down seats, doors and toys when you stop. This will keep the sticky messes and germs on the low. Wipes are a life saver on a road trip.
Pillows & Blankets
In the past we have just had the kids bring with their pillows from home, but it seems they can never get them to sit just right. For this trip I invested in some travel neck pillows and they even came with eye mask. I’m hoping these will work better so no matter how they fall asleep the pillow stays with them. For blankets I let them pick out which one they want to bring from home. This also serves as a comfort piece in case they get home sick.
This last one will depend on the number of nights that you are on the road and since we are looking at, at least 2 nights on the road I will be packing one for each of us.
If you are stopping for the night before you reach your final destination pack an overnight bag. Include in their bags items like their tooth brush, tooth paste, hair brush, PJ’s and a change or two of clothes, anything they would need on a daily bases. This way you don’t have to take out all the suitcases when you stop for the day.
I hope that you find these road trip essentials when traveling with kids helpful. Learn from my experience and be prepared. If you are headed out on a trip leave me a comment and let me know where you are going.
Love Always … Tam