As sad as it is, we’re getting close to the end of summer and a lot of people are trying to squeeze in one last trip with the family before school starts – us included! So, if you’re doing a road trip with kids, here are some of my tips and tricks.
Ziploc bag for trash
- You’re going to gather quite a bit of trash throughout your trip, so make sure you have a garbage bag on hand. I prefer to use sealable Ziploc bags so I can seal away the smell if I’m throwing anything stinky out. In a pinch, you could also just throw a few extra Target/Wal-Mart bags in the car to be sure you have enough trash bags.
Snacks + water bottles
- This is a pretty obvious one, but make sure those snacks are easily accessible and those water bottles are full! Simply portion out snacks in containers like this. Those containers help contain spills too. I also love to pack pouches and snack boxes like these.
Leave during naptime
- If you leave during naptime, you will hopefully get a couple of hours of peace and quiet to start your drive.
- I actually have a friend who leaves just before the kids bedtime. So, she and her husband will feed them dinner, get them in PJs and then hit the road. They get to their destination late, but much of the trip is with the kids sleeping. Plus, the kids wake up in a new location!
Pre-made formula or put pre-measured scoops in bags
- Why mess will all of the scooping and measuring when you can plan that ahead of time. We used this simple container and it made all of the difference. We’re keeping this trick in our back pocket for when baby #4 arrives!
Books/Activities that aren’t messy
- Keeping kids busy in the car is a must. The busier they are, the less they can ask “are we there yet?” There are a few great things that entertain the kids without making a mess in the car. A few must-haves:
- Poppers – a favorite at all ages (including adults!)
- Busy board – this one folds up so it’s easy to travel with
- Water coloring books – we cannot get enough of these
Easy on-off shoes
- This is a great tip for kids and adults. For quick bathroom breaks to simply getting out to stretch your legs, you will want to be able to put shoes on and off pretty quickly. Any kind of sandal, Croc or shoe without ties is a great option.
Spare blanket or hoodie
- If you have more than one kid, you know they will all inevitably end up wanting the same thing. So, in our case, if we bring one blanket, we now bring three. On our most recent trip, I ended up having to use a hooded sweatshirt as a makeshift blanket since we didn’t have enough blankets. The cozier the kids are, the better! Plus, if you’re chilly and you’ve now given up your hoodie, you may want a blanket for yourself. It never hurts to plan for extra comfort!
Sun shades for the back seats windows
- We had an adventurous road trip where Freddie was screaming non-stop because the sun was in his eyes. We made a rookie mistake and didn’t have sun shades on the windows. We certainly tried to rig up blankets/shirts to block the sun, but I promise these sun shades are easier!
- Of course having a diaper bag or kids bag of some sort is important, but even more important is knowing where everything is packed so it is easy to grab. It’s never fun to be shuffling through a bag as a kid (or three!)
A good mix- jams to play
- Any good road trip needs a great playlist. We try to find something the kids and adults will love – you know, not Baby Shark on repeat, but also not a playlist full of swear words. Nick and I like to try playlists like this or this.
- This seems like an obvious choice for adults . I like to keep a simple, inexpensive pair in the car, so I always have one (something like these). But, don’t forget sunglasses for the kids too. These come in a 5-pack and are unbreakable, so they are perfect for kids. Plus those extra few pairs will be great when you inevitably loose one or two pairs.
If you’re taking the adventure of a road trip with kids, I hop these tips and tricks help you out and you can have some fun!
Monica M says
I always bought a few new books to look at, and a new coloring book and crayons. I also had a lap desk for each so they could use it when coloring. (both my kids loved to color, so that was a great option for me)
Try an old singing round! With memory/counting involved! ie:99 bottles of beer on the wall…
Oh I love that idea!!! My kids love songs too so I’ll have to look up nice car ones, they’d love it
Denise L says
Our road trips always include plenty of rest stops to run around and blow off some steam.
Agreed, definitely need those stops with kids!
Jennifer Joyce says
I’ve found that having very damp washcloth in ziploc bags is the absolute best way to wipe up messy hands and faces on the road. They are so much better than wet wipes or paper towels!!
Also, a tip for the water color books……put a couple of ice cubes in a plastic cup and let the kids use that instead of water. As the ice melts, there will be just enough water to paint without a lot of water to spill.
What awesome tips, thank you so much for sharing!! Love the ice cube trick!!
Kristy Bark says
About to embark on my 1st solo roadtrip with my toddler! Stocked up on some Water Wow! books, and found some good/cheap activities in the Target Dollar Spot. I also read a suggestion somewhere to get your toddler a big, cheapo calculator at the Dollar Store – he’ll enjoy pushing all the buttons, it doesn’t make noise (key!) and who cares if it breaks? 🙂
What an awesome idea about the calculator!!!!! I’m totally going to try that next week (we’re going on a small trip!) Thank you so much for commenting, and good luck on your road trip!