Hitting the road for a vacation sometimes can be more of a hassle than it's worth with kids. My husband and I both have family in different states, we also LOVE setting out on new adventures so preparing for the drive is KEY to the start of our vacation! You never know how your children will do out on the road but the best thing to do is be as prepared as you can! Here are a few tips from a momma who is constantly on the go!
Pack a snack bag. We even pack a little cooler with drinks, goldfish, something sweet, carrots (my kids love them), and even a sandwich! This will help with all the "I'm hungry, I'm thirsty" complaints. Keep the cooler/snack close so you don't have to pullover to get it. Just grab and hand it back, tires still rolling.
Bring an activity. Whether it be a portable DVD player, iPad, color books, kindle, whatever. It helps! Make sure to bring the car charger and some headphones for them! We got our daughter a lap art easel, inside is complete with everything she will need to complete a masterpiece on the go :)
Make the stops interesting. Quality over quantity for this. If you decide to stop for food, stop somewhere with a playground and let the munchkins stretch their legs a bit. If you stop for gas, let the kids out and take them to a grassy area and let them do a couple cartwheels! We like to stop at antique or thrift stores and get one "prize" from that state!
Play a game. I spy with my little eye anyone? Yeah it's a classic road trip game that my daughter will never get sick of. Have a spelling bee (kid style of course), license plate game, sing a song or two.
Dress comfy. Make sure your kids are comfy in their car seats. Outfits that look comfy standing up aren't always comfy while buckled into a car seat. Make sure they can relax and be comfortable in their seats. Make sure they aren't too bundled up with extra layers, they can get really hot in those seats!
Bring pillow & blankets. This goes with dressing comfy. But especially if it is a long drive, like the one we are making to Kentucky this weekend, bring your child's favorite blanket and pillow. Bring yours too! Let's all take a nap while daddy drives us to our destination. (Love ya babe!)
Plan the drive around your children's best sleep times. Believe or not my husband and I have left at 3:00 in the morning and set out on the road. This way our girls are asleep the entire time. It's a little tough on us but much easier than cranky kids. By the time they wake up, it's time for a breakfast stop and the drive is MUCH shorter while they are awake.
Car seat and seat belt safety. Make sure your children's car seat are securely fastened into the seat with all harnesses correctly latched. Be sure to place the chest clip where it goes, so little arms don't wiggle out of the straps! And booster seats are properly installed with safety belts buckled! Because above everything else your child's safety is most important on this list. Any fire department will help you properly install your car seat into your car. It really wouldn't hurt to stop by and just make sure they are installed safely.
Patience. Is a virtue, and try to remain calm and STRONG during this trying car ride. It will all be worth it once you arrive at your destination. Practice makes perfect and you will be a road trip master in no time!
Have fun & safe travels!