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We are no strangers to a good road trip. Pre-kids, we drove from Florida to New York and New York to California when we made our cross country moves. After kids, we again drove cross country from California to DC. I think traveling with kids in a car is far easier than a plane. You don't have to worry about being embarrassed by kid behavior and rude people around you, you don't have much in the way of limits when you pack and best of all, you get to see the country!
To make a road trip successful, you'll need to plan ahead and pack appropriately. Here are some of my tips for what to bring for the best road trip:
I'm just not sure how anyone travels with kids, without one. If your car doesn't have one, then get one this Black Friday. For about $200, you can hang those suckers on the back of the headrest and have a much more peaceful road trip. Our car has headphones, so the kids can listen to their movie and we can have something different playing up front, which I love.
We make sure our phones are filled with our fave music and take turns choosing the song. The Hubs is all 90's rap and rock (think Greenday and Wheezer) I'm all country and the boys love pop. It's quite the mix in our car.
For the grown ups:
Sweet, chewy candy. Nothing says road trip like a bag of Twizzlers.
For the kids:
Granola bars. Preferably ones without chocolate. You're car will thank you for that warning.
Pre mixed baggies of snacks. That way, you don't have to hand them the entire large bag and end up with it all over your car.
Candy. Are you serious? Yes, I am. If the kids are being good and sitting nicely in their seats, they should be rewarded. Here's how we play the reward game in the car.
Each hour that the boys are good, they get a reward. That means no fighting, no beating each other with their pillows and no yelling! We tell them "If you're good until x time, you get a reward". When the time comes, don't skip the reward if they happen to not be paying attention. Praise them for their behavior! The best reward? A Twizzlers Twist! They don't melt all over my car, or the kids hands and are delicious. They also happen to be my favorite road trip food for when it's my turn to drive.
The alphabet game. Finding a word that starts with each letter of the alphabet in order. My boys love this game now!
I Spy. Objects, colors, cars. Anything that keeps them distracted from the fun "are we there yet?" question.
Frozen water bottles
Freeze them the night before and use them as ice packs in your cooler while they defrost. You'll have cold water to drink soon, as well as bottles for your boys to pee in later. Last road trip we took was 8 hours to the beach and my little ones peed in the bottles 6 times. It's way better than a public bathroom!
Stocked Glove Compartment
The Hubs calls me a packrat when it comes to my glove compartment. Okay, when it comes to a lot of things, but the worst when it comes to that space. But, he is the first one to be grateful for BBQ sauce when we're already back on the highway and the restaurant didn't put any in the bag. I keep packets of ketchup, straw, napkins and disposable utensils in there, too.
We've been leaving for our trips lately around 4am. This way, we get about 3 hours under our belt before the kids even wake up. We also switch off driving, with one taking that quiet first shift and one driving after breakfast. Everyone is much more comfortable sleeping if we bring our pillows. Often, they don't even leave the car when we get where we're going. Warning: this timing can go horribly wrong if you are late and the kids won't go back to sleep. Plan accordingly.
Yes, even if you don't have babies. I don't think I'll every stop having baby wipes around my house. Spills on the car, or people are much easier with a baby wipe than a napkin.
Are you planning a summer road trip? You better grab some Twizzlers Twists! The red, white and blue Twizzler Pull 'n' Peel are in the Summer Fun display at Walmart right now, (along with other fun flavors!) and they are amazing. They're raspberry, wild berry and lemonade flavor and they don't disappoint. Go grab some and stock up!