*Caution, affiliate links ahead…Don’t worry, I’ll use the money for something practical, like wine…. or a pony!
My husband and I have been hauling kids across country for the last 15 years (since my oldest was in diapers!). We have pretty much perfected the art of family road trips, we are now confident enough in our road trip skills to travel with our brood to exciting destinations near and far at least once or twice a month. Road trips no longer induce anxiety and panic, we have it down to a science and over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing my family’s tips and tricks to not only embark on a road trip but to actually enjoy the experience!
First, let’s talk travel gear. I wish that I could say our road trips are great because we have awesome kids that were born to travel, sadly that is not the case. While our kids are pretty good travelers, they are kids and any excessive time in the car is sure to cause problems if we are not properly equipped with some great gear.
Here is my list of go to travel items, without these items, I might never leave my house with the kids again!
1. Trash bags– let’s just take care of the less than fun, less than glamorous items first. You absolutely need to pack trash bags! Your sanity will thank you later.
2. Barf bags– It’s inevitable that someone will puke at least once on a road trip. These bags keep the vomit contained in bag that is easily disposed of at the next gas station or rest stop. These are VITAL to the success of your road trip, do not forget them!
3. Water bottles– As tempting as it is to want to limit water intake on a trip so that you don’t have to stop every 15 minutes for a bathroom break, you need to keep your kids hydrated and since water at the convenience store can run at least 2 bucks a bottle, get everyone in your family a water bottle. We love the Bobble ones because they have a nifty filter to get rid of the bad junk, basically allowing you to fill up almost anywhere.
4. First Aid Kit– just like the puke, it’s inevitable that someone will almost lose a finger or an eye on a road trip. Having a well stocked first aid kit is necessary, in fact with my kids’ injury history I keep one in my purse as well.
5. Diono Stow & Go Car Organizer– Best $18 I ever spent!!! With this handy accessory, my kids’ stuff is easily accessible, and not strewn all over the floor of the car. Gone are the days of opening the car door at a rest stop and having an avalanche of crap fall all over me. Now all the crap is neatly stored. Genius!
6. Seat Belt Shoulder Pillow- Before these babies, my kids would bring their pillows from home, and I can tell you nothing makes me lose it faster than a pillow fight on the interstate at 80 miles an hour. Now that they have these nifty seat-belt pillows, the kids are far less prone to murderous pillow rage.
7. Games!– My 2 favorite road trip games are the Travel Scavenger Hunt Card Game and Trip Talk Questions. These games are great for keeping the kids occupied and engaged. Trip Talk has made for some very interesting conversations in our car, I always learn something really weird about my family members with this game.
8. Pipe Cleaners– These are seriously genius for road trips and stops at restaurants along the way. My kids will stay occupied for hours creating monsters, aliens, and other odd creatures.
9. Portable DVD Player– I know it’s totally an electronic babysitter, but it is a necessity, our last road trip we were 30 minutes from home when our 3 year old decided to have a complete emotional breakdown over the color of her fruit snacks. There was no way we were going to stop since we were so close. Nothing made her happy, so as a last resort we turned on our car’s dvd player and popped in Frozen, she was quiet the rest of the way home. Sometimes parenting is about electronic bribery, that’s just a fact of life. I’m not saying let them play Frozen non stop for the whole trip, but in case of emergency it’s a great backup to have.
These fabulous gadgets won’t ensure a drama free road trip but they will certainly make things much easier.
I would love to hear your must have road trip items!