It’s summertime, which means families all over the country are hitting the road to visit family, tourist attractions, theme parks, beaches, and everything in between! I personally try to avoid taking my girls (ages 2.5 and 4.5) on trips longer than 4-5 hours but I know there are a lot of parents out there who are way braver than me and go longer distances. A few weeks ago, we hit the highway to visit Greenville, SC, to celebrate my sister-in-law’s engagement. My kids were angels and I couldn’t have been more thrilled. Today I’m sharing how we road trip with our kids.
Does anyone else use laundry baskets for everything? This is a fun hack that I learned from my mother-in-law that works best in SUV’s. Basically, any time we go on road trips I pack everything in laundry baskets instead of suitcases. I find it easier (and faster) to fit everything we need and then when we arrive at our destination, I put everything into drawers and use the baskets to collect
the endless amounts of laundry and toys (to reduce chaos in our rooms). You can also use them to haul stuff back and forth from the beach. 🙂
One of my favorite purchases of all time is a square collapse-able canvas box that fits perfectly between the girls’ car seats and holds an impressive amount of stuff. I got it from the Dollar Spot of the Mothership for only $3. I load that thing up with all their favorite books and toys so they can pull out whatever they want without my help. I try to packs a bunch of small things vs. a couple big things so they don’t get bored too fast.
No road trip is complete without snacks! My go-to’s are small crackers served in a covered snack cup and squeezable fruit pouches. The appeal of both is that they don’t need help and neither makes a mess (unless my kids decide to squeeze everything out but they are finally old enough to know better). The girls reach their hands in and can only pull out a couple crackers at a time. If they drop it, no worries – it doesn’t spill! No spills means I can toss them in my bag everyday, too (which I totally do). We really like these a lot more than the brand we used to use.
Okay, so I admit that I try to keep fluids at a minimum on trips to reduce potty breaks, but intentionally dehydrating my children isn’t exactly a nice thing to do so I always make sure to have my spill-proof cups for road trips. They’re seriously the only kids cups we own that don’t spill. I keep the cups in the front seat with me and only give them when the girls ask for them. That way they’re not sipping out of boredom and adding travel time to our trip due to unplanned potty breaks.
Speaking of drinks and potty breaks, if your kid is potty training I highly recommend bringing his/her plastic potty and/or toilet seat insert with you. When my oldest was potty training, she was very particular about where she “went”. After two unsuccessful rest-stops with her having to go (but refusing to) on a road trip to Kiawah Island, SC, I realized she didn’t like the public toilets. So, we took her little plastic potty inside the fast-food restaurant’s bathroom and voila! She went. Also, I don’t recommend this unless it’s absolutely necessary, but if your kid really has to go and can’t hold it until the next available stop, having the potty will give them somewhere to sit and go if you have to pull over on the side of the road. But let’s hope it doesn’t come to that, right?
One of my kids likes to get dressed up. The other likes to wear pajamas. I don’t fight it on road trip days and let them where whatever
will keep them the most quiet they want. Pick your battles and save your sanity.
Time the Trip Around Naps
… if possible. We always try to get on the road at a time when we think our girls will be sleepy and will doze off in the car. Sleeping children = quiet. If we can’t make it happen for naps, we consider leaving late and driving at night.
Plan Your Stops in Advance
Try to identify some parks or nice rest stops along the way so your kids can run around and expel their energy and wiggles for awhile. Perhaps pack a picnic and make one of those stops a meal stop, too. Stir-crazy kids create stir-crazy parents so letting them get it all out is beneficial to everyone. Sure, it’ll add time to your trip but I’d rather get there later and be sane than get there earlier on the verge of snapping, ya know what I mean?
Tell me some of your favorite road trip tips in the comments below!