The holidays are officially here! It’s that crazy time of year where we are going 1,000 miles a minute trying to do everything and visit family far away. My in-laws live quite a ways from us (about 11 hrs with NO STOPS!). Plane tickets are extremely expensive plus we’d still have to rent a car and drive a ways to reach their town, so we drive. It’s not my favorite thing to do but I’ve definitely learned some tricks over the years that have really helped when traveling with kids. I’m going to share a few things I do and even some great ideas I’ve been wanting to try out…
1. Organize. I can’t tell you how important this is. You have to be organized in the car. That’s a HUGE plus for a minivan is that there is plenty of room and I can be organized I’m not saying I know where every single item is, but I have some organized things around me. For instance, this trip I will be sitting in the back with the 19 mth old. Even though it’s not going to be best, I think sitting next to him will help because he hasn’t take this long car trip in a year and he’s not a HUGE fan of being in the car, period! So I’m organizing a back seat area where I’ll keep all his essentials like wipes, toys, diapers. I have a separate bag that will ONLY be used at gas station/stretching/diaper changing spots. I can’t tell you how grossed out some gas stations are and some that don’t have changing areas. For real. That could be a whole separate post! So anyways, try to plan ahead who will sit where and get some baskets or bags with specific items so you know where things are. Nothing worse than being on the high way and someone needing something you and you are out of your seat belt searching/praying you don’t get in an accident/trying to find those items. I speak from experience 🙂
2. Snacks/Food. I can’t stress this enough. Just be prepared to eat a lot. You and your kids will be bored out of their minds and there is NOTHING else to do but eat. So I try to pick up some fun foods that maybe we don’t have often and that are NOT messy. Which can be hard! If things are not already prepackaged then I go ahead and portion out snacks to save time and food flying all over the car. Because there will be food all over the car anyways, trust me. With my daughter I go ahead and pack her snacks in her lunch tote and she has them next to her. Her favorites are pretzels, fruit snacks, portable apple sauce, cookies, .. You know, the good stuff. We don’t do fruit snacks at home so it’s a special treat. I did buy some candy and put it in little containers like the pic below for something fun and easy.
3. Movies/Batteries Just like the eating, be prepared to just watch movies. I’d love to say we have some quality education time in the car, but it just doesn’t happen. I just keep in mind that it’s only for the day. If it makes life easier on us parents then we do it! No harm for anyone! We have a DVD player in the car which is HUGE. We have movies going for most of the trip. This time I’m bringing the Ipad to try and keep a 19 mth old occupied during the long drive as well. I read somewhere online that a Mom was saying she only allowed 1 hour of screen time in the car. To each, his own. If I did that it would be bad for me! Do what you want and what is best but movies work great! Check out new ones from the library or borrow from friends to make it something new and exciting.
4. All the extras: This is all the leftover stuff that you need. Some of my biggies are wipes, trash bags, and lots of toys. Travel games are fun as well as Travel Bingo. A great idea is to hit the $1 section at toys and wrap them up. Through out your trip let the kids open a present. A great idea is wrapping up some $$ for the next pit stop! I thought this conversation starter looked really neat too. We are trying that on this trip.
Most of all, try and enjoy the trip. I know it’s hard but it truly is fun family time that you can always look back on and remember!