Make sure you pack a lot of snacks for your trip. And I mean a lot. If your kids are anything like mine, one will eat on your lunch break, and the other will refuse, claiming to not be hungry – until you are on the road half our later. Of course. Pack food that is easy to eat on the go, and food that doesn’t get too messy. Stay away from the sticky icky stuff that will get all over everything. Think about packing small plastic bowls to put smaller items like crackers or raisins in. And hey, if your kids are going to be stuck in a car for a long, long time, why not pack them a few special treats they wouldn’t always get – like fruit snacks!
Plan a handful of activities for your children to do in the car. They can be something as simple as a colouring book and crayons, or something more educational like a book to help them practice their letters (we found a great dry-erase one at the dollar store!). Look for small puzzle games, sticker books or look and see books. The Activities don’t always have to be something they hold in their hands, why not make a game of your surroundings. Have your children point out every time they see a white car, or a sign with a certain restaurant on it. Activities will help them stay occupied, and hopefully somewhat quiet and content.
3. Comforts from home
Do not forget to bring items that will help make your child feel comfortable on the road. Especially if they have a favorite pillow, blanket or stuffed toy that they can’t sleep without. These items will help with a sense of familiarity with everything else being so new. Getting them to sleep in strange places can be tough, this one simple thing can make it easier on everyone. Make sure that these items are on your list. Twice. You do not want to forget them. You have no idea how hard it is to find a Curious George doll these days….
4. Keep things accessible
Try and keep your snacks, their toys, and anything else that you may need on the way down accessible while on the road. You will thank me when you have a child – or children – screaming in your ears. Keep a bag with snacks, drinks and activities right behind the centre console of your vehicle. If you have a baby or toddler who has a habit of throwing things, like their bottle or sippy cup, think about using one of those toy leashes attached to their seat. This would have come in really handy for us. My shoulder is still sore from trying to contort so many times to reach my 2yos cup in the various places he threw it.
If there is one thing that you need to remember it’s patience. There will be times where you are ready to rip out your hair, pull over to the side of the road and stomp your feet in your own hissy-fit, or lean your head on the steering wheel and cry. I experienced it all at points. Now don’t get me wrong, I LOVE road trips, and encourage families to take them, but I am not one to lie – it has its challenges. Lucky for me I am, for the most part, a very patient person. So when the going gets tough, take a deep breath in, blow it out slowly and chant the word patience. Over and over. Remember that your children are out of their element. Keep in mind the average time they are usually in the vehicle and put it into perspective. It’s not easy for an adult to stay still for 13 hours in a vehicle all day, and I could imagine even worse for a child. Hopefully, some of these tips, plus others from our trip, will help give you some great idea’s for making your road trip enjoyable.
So with these 5 things in mind, pull out your map, plan your destination and hit the road! Next up for us? Maybe a visit to the Smithsonian this summer!