Winter break has officially started and many will be hitting the roads to travel. I wanted to share some of my tips to make traveling with kids in a car easier. Now honestly, I practice most of these tips year round. My husband questions why I have so much “crap” in the car (he has more of a simplistic approach to things) and my answer is that I want to be prepare. You never know what can happen. Now… I cannot tell you how many time I have been able to help myself or somebody else out because of the “crap in my car.” So without further ado and in no particular order…
1. Invest in a Travel Potty
Investing in a travel potty was by far one of the the best decisions I have made as a parent. While my daughters are potty trained, it never fails that they have to “go potty” when we are stuck in traffic, going on a long trip, after they just went potty before we left the house, when we are in stores… basically anytime that may not be so convenient (I’m sure you get the point…lol). Add that to my complete and utter disgust for public bathrooms (all I see is germs)… this was a car must have for me. I purchased the Kalencom 2-in-1 Potette Plus (in pink and purple of course) and extra liners (which are really cool because they have an absorbent pad in then and are leak proof) which I keep in a storage bag. Attach the liners to the potty… let the child go… close the bag and toss it in the garbage. Easy peasy!
2. Keep a Packed Bag in the Trunk
No matter how old your kids are… keeping a packed bag in the car with a few essentials will save you from a headache down the road. In my bag you will find an extra undershirt, short sleeved shirt, long-sleeved shirt, shorts, pants, pajamas, sweaters, a fleece, socks, underwear (actually two), soap, toothbrush and toothpaste for each of my daughters. You never know what is going to happen or when.
3. Keep Chairs and/or a Stroller in the Car
In my trunk (as long as I am driving the car), you will always find two camping chairs and my double stroller. Of course, the chairs are for me as I never know when I will be at any event and need a chair or need to take a break from sitting in the car. The double stroller is for the girls. Yes… they are 4 and 6 years old and do not really need a stroller… but for those times when I know there is going to be lots of walking or when they are tired and cranky and a meltdown is on the horizon, the stroller has been a life saver. We have even taken it on international plane trips. My husband always gives me a hard time about bringing it because he feels like the girls are big enough and do not need it…. But on each trip we have taken, he has always said it was a good thing we brought it (which I know because I always want to bring it).
Blankets are a must in the car as well. Whether to warm you up or put on the ground to sit on at an event, we have at least three.
5. A First Aid Kit
Having a first aid kit… or at least bandaids… to me is a must have for parents. I never knew how a bandaid could save the world from ending until my daughters came along… or maybe I just don’t remember. In any case, with young girls who love to run and jump there is always a booboo to take care of, whether you can see it or not. Even when there is no booboo… bandaids make good stickers to play with.
6. Drinks / Snacks / Food
I don’t think this needs too much explanation. For some reason, it feels like traveling always makes you hungry. I know I get cranky when I am hungry and my girls are worse than me. For that reason, I have a small lunch bag of snacks (crackers, oatmeal bites, etc…) and water in my car. Of course my snack choices are dependent on what the weather is to make sure they are not affected by the environment.
Any traveling adventure would not be complete without entertainment… basically anything to keep the kids busy. I like to get the girls thinking and play games snack as “what rhymes with (fill in the blank)?” or “Would you rather (fill in the blank)?” or “How do you spell?” We also always have books and a few toys in the car. On a RARE occasion and as a LAST resort, we will pull out the iPads so the girls can watch a movie.
8. Weather Accessories
Depending on where you live, you want to have accessories available to assist you in different types of weather. Living in New England, I keep a telescopic snow/ice remover in the car. I also keep a couple of umbrellas in the car… one for the adults and one for my daughters.
Traveling with kids is not easy but it is doable. We never let the possible challenges of having kids prevent us from traveling… we just adapt and prepare myself as much as I can. While these tips are geared to traveling by car, they can definitely be adapted to other forms of travel. I hope you find these tips useful and adapt them to your family travels. What are other tips you would suggest?
Wishing you safe travels and Happy Holidays!!!