Tuesday, March 4, 2014

How To Travel With Kids - Road Trips Made Easy

I don't know about you but we travel quite often.   Mostly just short 2 hour trips but once or twice a year we make a big 7 hour trip or 16 hour trip.  I will be honest when the boys were babies these trips were a breeze!  They slept most of the time and when we stopped I changed diapers, gave them a bottle and then we kept going.  Now that the kids are older it's still relatively easy because they feed themselves, watch movies and generally don't need much but the longer the road trip the longer they are stuck in the car and the more they complain.  This makes for a not so fun trip.  Now that we have a 2 year old being potty trained it makes it all that more difficult however I have perfected he art of how to travel with kids.

I say perfected mostly because we have done this several times now and my system works fairly well with little to no hiccups!  I call this a win in the mom book!  We have a trusty egg mobile or van which happens to be white, hence the egg mobile.  Anyways that is a totally different story...

So prior to the trip I will clean out the van and vacuum which may seem dumb since it will be completely trashed after the trip is over no matter how many trash bags you give them but it makes me feel better to start the trip with a clean car.

I will also go to the Dollar Tree and Target dollar spot and stock up on things to pack in their very own back packs.  Target I have found has the best selection of items that I am looking for.  You want the little packs of crafts or coloring books that come with markers.  NO CRAYONS!!!  These will inevitably get dropped on the floor and broken or will be left there to melt all over your carpet.  Summer or Winter the story is the same...   Summer heat melts them or in the Winter the heat from the heater will melt them.  Best option is markers by far unless you have a toddler which is when the magic markers comes in!  The markers that only work on special paper otherwise the ink is clear!

Next I take all of the things I have gathered and put them in each back pack.  Now we will need snacks!  So in a gallon zip lock bag in goes individually packaged chips, fruit snacks, raisins, and/or cereal and then each book bag gets one.  I aslo pack their video games, batteries, and anything needed for the games in another ziplock bag and it goes in the book bag.

Once the book bag is packed I move on to a small cooler.  We have a ton of these but if you don't, find a cooler that is made of the fabric that will fold easily.  At this point I have already made my Sam's run to pick up fruit and juice boxes in bulk.  I then take the fruit and individually package it into sandwhich or snack size bags then put the snack size bags in a gallon size bag to go in the cooler.  I also pack a gallon bag of gogurt as well.  This gives the kids access to snacks that are good for them, drinks, and more so that when we stop to go to the bathroom at a gas station we aren't spending $20 on crap....

I also found a small collapsable landry bag for their trash can and don't worry if you can't find something like this.  For the past trips I hung a grocery bag by each child and it worked fine.

So now that you have packed food and enterainment let me explain what we did with Evan who is 2 and potty training.  I am not a mom that likes to take steps backwards so diapers were not an option and to be honest he has been potty training for a month or so now and wouldn't just go in a diaper anyways.  When Conner was potty training we took frequent trips to see my family up north which is a 16 hour trip so I went to Babies R Us and found a travel portable potty that uses bags on a potty that folds up.  The bags have a piece at the bottom that absorbs the pee and you just tie the bag up and throw it away!  We did stop a couple to times to use an actual bathroom but only when we stopped for gas, lunch, or for 8 months pregnant mommy to pee so we ended up only using it twice the whole trip.

Last but not least I pack an emergency bag.  This holds extra snacks, medicine, wipes, paper towel roll, extra batteries, and possibly a surprise or two for those desperate moments.  2 years ago we made the 16 hour trip and I got a bit crazy and got 16 cheap things for each child and then wrapped each one and then every hour they were able to open one up.  It was really fun for the boys and made the time go by quicker for them but next time I will only do one per state we pass through.  :)

Ultimatly we had a great vacation and the trip went by quickly and like every vacation goes by too quickly.  I hope this helps you next time you go on a road trip with your kids!