Over the last year, we’ve been traveling full time as a family. This has meant a lot of time spent on the road! What originally started as traveling to new destinations each month has quickly turned into heading to our next location every 1-2 weeks or less. We have road tripped through North America from the East coast to the West coast and have mastered the art of traveling with a child as our little two year old has now spent close to a year on the road! What a trooper she is.
There’s definitely some advantages to a road trip as you have more flexibility than flying and certainly more space for luggage and baby equipment/toys. Here’s 5 tips to make your next family road trip a little more laid back and a better experience!
What did we do before tablets and iPads? They are such a Godsend! We’ve got our Amazon Fire Kids Tablet loaded up with games for toddlers and some of little one’s favorite movies and shows as this can keep her busy for hours at a time and when it’s nap time, has no trouble at all falling asleep to Little Baby Bum. (Please if you’ve got a little one and haven’t heard of LBB, look into it! Netflix has picked up the short series and it consists of super education nursery rhymes, our daughter learned many words, animals and more!)
Don’t forget about screen free time as well! We all love our electronics but road trip games such as I Spy are a great way to get everyone involved. Coloring books are another great option especially when eating out to keep them entertained until the food has been served. We’re also sure that she has a couple of her favorite toys and a book with her in the car seat instead of packed away in the back with the rest of her toys. A preferred stuffed animal and a small knick knack toy or two of some sort are recommended.
#2 Snacks Snacks and Snacks
In addition to packing some light lunch options such as sandwiches, we recommend bringing some snacks to munch on, and lots of them! Try to include a mix of healthy options such as string cheese, granola bars or raisins as well as treats. We’ve had the best luck with cookies and crackers. You’d be amazed how much snacks they can put away on a road trip and it’s great to pull out something to munch on when the little ones are getting fussy or fed up with the long drive. Don’t forget to bring along plenty of drinks as well!
#3 Make stops apart of your schedule
Make sure you set time aside throughout your road trip to make stops and stretch your legs and regenerate. This will be a great opportunity for the little one(s) to run around and get out some much needed energy as well as recoup a little. Taking the little one on a short walk when making stops for fuel or food can work wonders toward their mood and getting back out on the road without fuss. Stopping for lunch and eating inside can be a nice little break as spending hours in a car can drive children a tad crazy.
#4 Be prepared for unscheduled stops
Although you’ve built in scheduled stops as part of your trip, make sure you’re giving yourself plenty of time to make those unexpected stops too. There will no doubt be unforeseen bathroom breaks so it’s good to have some essentials on hand like a change of clothes, wipes, changing mat etc.
#5 Pack Strategically
Pack everything into the car for easy access on the road so you won’t have to dig around through your bags and suitcases to find toys or sunscreen. We try to keep all the necessities up front or on the outer side of the cargo area so when we pull over, everything we need is within reach. Make sure swimsuits and towels are easy to find, you never know when you’re going to find a nice beach to take a dive in!