We just got back from our family road trip two days ago and boy did we have fun. Today I wanted to share my best tips for planning, packing for and actually loving a road trip with little kids.
We asked our middle son what he wanted to do for his birthday. He said he wanted to see the rocket ships. So we packed our car and headed to Hunstville to see the US Space and Rocket Center. And we all had fun. All of us. I know traveling with kids can be stressful but here are a few tips to help with the process.
1. Pack your kids clothes where you can easily get to them.
We ended up having a puke accident in the car and I needed to quickly change a kid on the side of the road (inside the van) having easy access to clothing items is key.
2. Pack your kids clothes in ziplock bags.
Each day gets a bag. One mom friend told me she included a little treat for the kids so it would motivate them to dress faster.
3. Plan for boredom
Keep a small totes container with books, games and activities between the seats where your kids can reach them.
We packed books, small games and little felt books for the boys. And a few toys for the baby that I could easily hand him when he got fussy.
4. Take your food with you.
Food while traveling can be expensive and fast food just makes me feel bad. So we decided that we only eat out one meal a day. Instead, we pack a cooler with sandwich supplies, fruit and drinks. I also bring nut butter and graham crackers for my boys. We can easily restock at the grocery store where we stop.
I actually packed my kids a lunch and when it was time to eat they pulled out their lunch box and ate it. Then I let them know when it was snack time.
5. Take medications.
It's like the Murphy's Law of travel. If you forget Tylenol your kid will run a fever and you will pay a premium for medicine at the gas station. So I pack my own. I included Tylenol and Motrin, ear drops, teething meds and a few oils I know help us out.
1. Have some predesignated stops.
Tell your kids at what time and where you will be stopping. This prevents a lot of "are we there yet?" And we love using the USA Rest Stop app. It actually shows you where rest stops are along your route.
We love rest stops because the bathrooms are usually very clean, there are picnic areas and green space for kids to move.
2. Know your kids' limits
Our toddler cannot handle more than four hours in the car. We know that when we've hit that point he has to get out of his car seat and stay out for an extended period of time. So we plan stops with that in mind. Maybe it's stopping for the night, or maybe it's going to a museum or play area and hanging out for a few hours.
3. Pick the right hotels
We love hotels with indoor pools and breakfast. These are amenities we get the most out of!
4. Choose good memberships
We recently got a membership to our local science museum. This came with a "passport" program that gets us into museums and science centers all over the country for free! We used it for all our destinations during our road trip and we really got the most for our money!