I know what you’re thinking…but I promise, it’s not that bad! Traveling with kids is a lot of work, but it’s also worth it. Seeing the world through the eyes of a child is magical. And honestly, the more you travel with kids, the easier it gets. And the easier it gets, the more likely you are to do it again and again!
“Having kids is reason to travel, never reason to stop.”
- The overnight bag. Whether you are driving straight through or not, pack an overnight bag and put it in easy reach. I include a change of clothes, pjs, and toiletries for everyone (mom and dad included). That way if we stop, it’s the only bag we have to bring in. If we drive straight through, we arrive late and just bring it in and unload the rest of the car the next morning. If I KNOW we plan to stop, I throw an extra pair of clothes in the bag for each kid. Because, kids (insert eye-roll).
- The clean-up bag. For the same reason you need changes of clothes even if you aren’t overnighting it, you need a cleanup bag (and it also needs to be in easy reach). We’ve had accidental food allergy incidents, bad small-town BBQ responses, potty training related issues, and just plain old car-sick problems. You HAVE to be prepared for all/any of it. We include trash bags, plastic grocery sacks (or wet bags) for soiled things, a roll of paper towels, and carpet cleaner. Recently we’ve added the hand-vac to the list. We also keep a can of Lysol and plenty of hand sanitizer in the car.
- Multi-purpose stops. Get gas every time you have to stop for a potty break and take a potty break every time you get gas. If you make sure both of these happen every time you stop, you may be able to cut your stops in half. If you have one who is only partially potty trained or still naps in diapers, just put them in a diaper. It might be a small setback, but a road trip just isn’t the time for potty training (especially in the days of COVID-19).
- The snack box. Traveling with kids means someone is always hungry. Unless you want to be buying snacks every time you stop, pack your own. I LOVE ordering an assorted box from Amazon. This gives the kids a variety of things to choose from so they don’t get bored. As an added bonus, if you search “healthy snack box,” you can get a variety of things that are healthier than the standard “junk” you’d otherwise find.
- Entertainment. Unless you’ve got a really short drive, this is NOT the time to limit screen time. I say, give them all the iPads, kindles, movies, or handheld video games you have. We ordered a “Lot” of kid DVDs off of eBay so that we have plenty to choose from in the car. If you don’t have a DVD player in the car, make sure there are plenty of movies already downloaded on all the devices. If you have multiple kids/devices, don’t forget to pack the headphones and chargers too!