As a kid, I LOVED road trips. Being on the open road, enjoying the change of scenery, seeing new places and meeting new people excited me. But as a momma of two young children, road trips have become the stuff that nightmares are made of.
Our oldest child (Aubrey, just turned 5) is okay with any car ride that’s as long as an Avengers movie. That’s about 3 hours, thanks to Stan Lee. But our youngest (Austen, almost 2) hates being restricted; ergo car seats are the devil. So any car trip longer than 30 minutes equals major meltdowns.
Last year, we went on an impromptu road trip from Maryland to North Carolina, for a family emergency. That trip was a DISASTER! I vowed then to wait until my kids were tweens before we took another family road trip. But with my husband’s entire extended family only 2.5 hours down the road, I knew that I couldn’t avoid taking road trips for long.
I recently tried a few road trip tricks and they worked! These tips have made road trippin' less stressful and more manageable.
1. Download a New Movie
Download a new movie before hitting the road. A new flick should occupy your children for a couple of hours. As I mentioned, my son loves superhero movies. He can watch the same video a bazillion times. But nothing captures his attention like a brand spanking new superhero movie.
2. Pack Plenty of Snacks and Water
Bring snacks that your children love to eat. I like to pack dry snacks since they are easier to clean up. I also pack the snacks in individual Ziploc bags for each child. Lord forbid that they would have to share. World War III might pop off in the backseat. Nobody needs the added stress.
3. Use Tablets/iPads and Chargers
Technology is a gift. Use it. Both of my children have Kindles, and I do not hesitate to use them for entertainment.
4. Bring Wipes and Napkins
It's always a good idea to keep wipes or napkins on hand. I'm a bit of a germaphobe, so I ALWAYS carry antibacterial wipes in my purse. But it would be a good idea to have a pack of diaper wipes to clean off sticky fingers after a meal.
5. Have a Relative Ride with You
Ask a family member to tag along, if you think you need some help. I always prefer to travel with my momma. The kids love spending time with her, and she makes travel with little people a cinch.
6. Have One Parent Sit in the Back
If a relative can’t ride along, take turns sitting in the back with the kids. Having an adult in the back makes handing out snacks easier.
7. Be Prepared for Accidents
Pack a full change of clothes, to include a spare pair of underwear. If your children are potty training or just finished potty training, it would be a good idea to have some pull-ups in the vehicle too.
8. Allow Each Child to Choose A Toy to Bring
Allow each child to select a toy they'd like to have with them in the car. The toys come in handy when the kids get tired of playing with their tablets and watching movies.