If you following me on facebook or instagram you may know that we are on an epic road trip right now. About a week and a half ago, we left our home in Southern California and drove our vintage trailer, Riley, all the way to Alaska. Our kids were troopers as we travelled over 3700 miles in 6 1/2 days. They are not strangers to traveling and long road trips, but this was the longest trip we have ever taken. I don’t think I am an expert, but I do think I have a lot of experience traveling with kids, so I thought I’d share a few tips that help make Road Tripping with kids a little easier.
1. Snacks are #1! Being prepared with healthy choices for snacking and meal times, is sure to save you both time and money. We bought an electric cooler that plugs into the cigarette lighter for this trip. I knew I didn’t want to have to mess with buying ice everyday, so this seemed like a good investment. Because we were traveling with our little trailer, we committed to cooking most of our meals. And actually we only ate out a couple of times. But, having fruit, veggies, and cheese for snacking was really helpful. We kept Snack Catchers full of healthy treats and munchies and leak proof sippy cups full for Olivia at all times. And by using great products like these from Munchkin, we didn’t have to worry about unwanted messes and spills.
2. Break in the middle of the day. We like to drive early in the morning and then again late into the night. This way our kids can sleep the first couple of hours before we stop for breakfast. Then we plan a good long stop in the middle of the day so that we can stretch our legs and enjoy the sites. We planned lunch breaks around lakes and points of interest. Then when we’d drive late, they could fall asleep in the car and we could get a few more hours of the road behind us. Leaving at 4:30am and driving till midnight, did leave Lonnie and I with very few hours of sleep. But, coffee was our friend and we took turns driving so that the other person could rest.
3. Be Flexible! If there is a gorgeous lake, a museum, historical site, wildlife or just an awesome donut shop – take the time to stop and play for 30 mins. You are guaranteed to have happier travelers. Remember the joy is in the journey. Yes, you do want to reach your destination, but some of the best memories are made along the way.
4. Keep them entertained!
Ok, I know the temptation is to show movie after movie, to keep them happy and quiet. But, you can limit screen time and still have happy travelers. We are huge podcast junkies, and there are some great ones out there specifically for kids. Check out Storynory
, The Radio Adventures of Dr. Floyd
, and Ted Talks Family + Kids
. Music can be a great distraction as well as classic car games like I Spy. And definitely a favorite movie when tiny travelers are feeling weary is totally fine. My kids definitely watched a few and it’s totally ok.
5. Stay Organized!
This is completely for my sanity. But, if the car is a disaster, it’s uncomfortable and can feel even more crowded then it is. We love the i-Hide carseat organizer
from Munchkin. It keeps the iPad tucked away, and keeps toys, sippy cups
and snacks in arms reach. If everything has it’s place, you feel a little more in control.
6. Bring that one special thing. For Olivia it is her bunny and her Owl Nightlight. Be sure to pack that one thing that your kiddo has to have in order to sleep. We don’t pack any tools when we travel and camp. Kids can be very entertained by just rocks and sticks. But, when it comes to bed time, softies and security blankies are a must. These items can also help you child sleep in their carseat when you are driving both early in the morning or late at night.
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