So that escalated quickly. In my head as we were preparing a move from Texas to Virginia, I always thought we would fly. Because our dog is smaller, so naturally I thought, you pop him in a carrier and stick him under the seat. Plus he likes naps, so no problem. Um, yes problem when he’s tall and skinny and will not fit under a seat.
Now we’re cruising the USA in our minivan with 5 kids and a dog, and it should be an adventure! I may have to make a video diary just in case it never happens again. Since my children are regular fliers, I’m implementing most of the techniques I use for flying, but in the car with a few additions. Oh yeah, and throw in a dog in the mix, but that’s another post. 5 girls and a dog. Get ready for all the potty stops.
We’re taking our time, so we’re planning on a 4-day trip, so I don’t exhaust the kids or myself too much.
Must pack all the snacks. I like to do a mix of healthy and not-so-healthy snacks. In a perfect world, would my kids only eat fruits and veggies? Sure. But that’s not happening. So favorites like chips and candy will be added. Each child will have their own bag of snack in which I can control the portions, and they get free reign. Then they are not constantly asking me to pass them a snack.
I’m not sure what it is about kids, but we could literally just finish lunch, pull out of the driveway and 3 minutes later, they’ll yell, “But I’m so hungry!” I won’t pack chocolate though, because I don’t like chocolate fingers in the heat. It’s summer. Also heck to the no on Cheetos. Like I want orange finger prints either.
And don’t forget the trash bags.
If electronics is what they want, electronics is what they get. I’m in survival mode here, not mom-of-the-year-award mode. Bring your tablets, your iPods, your Nintendo DS, your old-school Leapfrog Leapsters, and anything else that starts with i. I don’t care. Bring it all. Don’t forget the chargers! I also recommend portable chargers when you won’t have access to an outlet for awhile.
We also have an overhead DVD player in our car for movies. I’m pretty sure the entire Disney DVD collection will be packed in the car.
I’ll also download audio books for the kids. They love to read, but they inherited the ‘I get carsick while I read’ gene from me. They usually last longer with electronics, but I know eventually they’ll put them down.
My younger kids love those Color Wonder books, and so do I. Because I have a hate relationship with real markers. These books keep my children entertained, and I don’t have to worry about red and blue marks all over my car or a sibling’s face.
Also, a pack of Uno cards or simple games are fun. Games without little pieces that might roll under the van seat that might never be found again which will then result in shrill screaming until it’s found or a new one is purchased at the nearest Target. Not that that has ever happened in this family.
I don’t have any babies anymore (sob) or toddlers in diapers, but I still always carry baby wipes. They clean everything. Spills, dirty hands, faces, behinds, windows, upholstery, etc. I mean they can serve as napkins, toilet paper, paper towels, and kleenex. They’re amazing. I would usually throw in a travel pack in my purse, but I’m going to need many containers.
I’m more of a soft-sided cooler type of gal. We won’t have a ton of space in our van with all our suitcases, so I just need something small that I can throw medicines in (if needed), some apple slices, and some extra bottles of water and juice boxes. I’m not trying to bring everyone’s meals with us. Then I use those ice packs for school lunches, and they’re small enough to freeze in hotel room refrigerator/freezers. I’ll also throw in some of the boo boo ice packs, just in case an accident happens, like a bump or bruise.
I always travel with a Road Kit. I like to prepared for emergencies, because you never know when they can happen. And you also never know when you can be of assistance to someone else.
I also carry a first aid kit. It can be basic or more elaborate, but sometimes even making a potty stop, someone could trip and skin a knee. When kids need a band-aid, they NEED a band-aid immediately. Make your own first aid kit and throw your items in a sealable container or a gallon-sized Ziploc bag.
These are our essentials. One good thing about road trip travel is if you forget something, or need something along the way, there should be stores to help you out. And now, time for lots of family togetherness. Really, this should be fun, right?
Am I forgetting anything or do you have essentials that have worked for your family?
ETA: Can I add a roomy car? LOL! We traveled cross country in our minivan, which was fine. But then I was able to take a look at the 2018 Ford Expedition while at a TravelingMom retreat. Holy space, Batman. Man all that room would have been dreamy when my kids’ feet were on top of suitcases. So mental note. Time to go car shopping for more road trip adventures.