There are two main stressful aspects of every trip. Packing and traveling. Blah.
You know that Ralph Waldo Emerson quote,
“Its the not the Destination, It’s the journey.”
He must not have had kids… I’m kidding, he had four kids. And I really do love this quote.
When it comes to road tripping with kids, we could learn a lot from this quote.
Road Tripping With Kids
Sometimes kids get so focused on the destination that they are miserable during the journey, which means us parents are miserable as well.
What if, as parents, we made the journey just as fun?
Yes, I know you have your kiddos crammed in the hot car for a 5-hour drive. What to do?
- Trivia: I’m a huge fan of trivia. Wherever your destination is, ask your kids fun questions that are about wherever you’re going. If your destination is Disneyland, ask them questions about Disney characters and Disney movies. Your kids will know more than you realize, it helps that they watch movies over and over and over.
- Sing-Alongs: This one might only be fun if you don’t have teenagers who are “too cool” to participate. Let each child pick a song and rock out to it. Another fun game is headphone karaoke. Take turns putting on headphones and picking a favorite song to sing to. Everyone else in the car only hears your beautiful voice. If you aren’t dying from laughter, you’re not doing it right!
- Snacks: No brainer here. Kids love snacks. It kills time, it makes them happy, and it’s expected on road trips. I’m not trying to promote unhealthy habits, but if there was ever a time to eat extra junk food, road trips are it.
- Exercise: In the car? No, no. Plan ahead so that you can take frequent stops. These stops are good for potty breaks, snack time, and exercising. Let the kids run around a bit (or a lot). Look for locations that have some grass to play around on and that are away from busy roads.
If you really want to start your trip off right, make sure you have all of your laundry done before you start packing. That way you can pack for yourself and the kiddos and you don’t have to quarantine any items in the luggage.
There’s a fine line between packing smart and overpacking, especially with kids. You want to be prepared: enough clothes for accidents or messes and for any and all types of weather. But you don’t want to overdo it.
Let’s break it down:
- Plan Ahead: Packing kids in a car can get cramped fast. If you know where you are staying, call ahead to see what amenities they offer. Washer and dryer might mean you can pack fewer clothes. Pool/beach towels take up so much room in a suitcase so see if they offer it where you are staying. If you have a baby, call ahead to see if the place you are staying has a pack and play or crib. You’d be surprised how many places have them.
- Write It Down: How many times have you kept a mental list in your head and then when the time came to pack you forgot a few crucial things? It’s called Mom Brain :). As you remember things you need to bring, write it down. Post-It note, notes section in your phone, whatever it is, keep a list.
- Pack Smart: Put each outfit with any needed accessories into a Gallon size ziplock bag (or packing cubes if you have them). Push air out and zip shut. First, this keeps things together and makes them easy to find. Second, you don’t forget things as easily. Third, it helps save space by keeping things flat, stackable and compact.
There you have it! What tips can you share with me?
Looking for a printable checklist? Check out our Traveling With Kids Print Out:
Download PDF Here: Travel Checklist PDF.
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