Long road trips are hard in general, but a long road trip with young kids? Well, let’s just say they’re not for the faint of heart. While there will be many uncontrollable elements, here are five things you can prep ahead of time to help make your road trip as pleasant as possible.
Apps, apps and more apps – Whether you’re ok with or not-so-ok with screentime for your kids, I often find that long-distance traveling is one time those rules go straight out the car (or airplane) window. Load up an old tablet or smartphone with kid-friendly apps and games. There’s even interactive books. Or download some favorite episodes of their favorite shows, or even – gasp! – a full-length age appropriate movie. Trust me, you won’t be feeling so bad hour 4 into your trip.
Snacks – My motto for travelling with kids is you can never pack too many snacks. Make sure to have a variety of options on hand that even the pickiest kid couldn’t resist, and if it’s going to be a particularly long trip, stash away some emergency “special treats” that your child may not be used to getting (lollipops, anyone?) that could stop even the most epic meltdown in its tracks. Stash everything in individual plastic containers, or to save on space, snack-sized plastic bags already portioned out for everyone. And don’t forget the drinks.
Comfort objects – If your little one still sleeps with a lovey or special pillow, by all means, don’t forget them! And who knows where things can fall during a pit stop on a road trip (ewww!) so make sure to buy/pack extras of the special object too so you’re not stuck with a wailing child as his beloved friend takes a nose dive on that public bathroom floor.
Clothes – Especially if you’re travelling with a baby or a potty-training toddler, pack lots and lots of outfit changes. You don’t want to be caught short-handed if Baby has a blow-out or spend tons of time searching through your bags for the extra clothes as Baby is wailing. Make sure to stash them in an easy-to-reach spot on top of everything else.
Window Shades – Unless you’re driving throughout the wee hours of the night, chances are your child will be the victim of some major sun time sitting in the back seat for hours and hours. So invest in some good cling-on window shades to keep their baby-soft skin protected, and to make naps more likely.
What do you think? Did I miss any other road tripping essentials?