Tips for Surviving a Road Trip with Kids
Words Kasey Hickey
My family is planning our first real road trip with three kids later this summer and to say that I’m not a little bit nervous would be an understatement. Road trips with kids are definitely a bit more challenging than those without, but they can be worthwhile and even—dare I say it—super fun. With a little planning and these tips, you’ll all have a great time.
Pack Plenty of Snacks!
I don’t know about you, but something about being on the road puts me in a snacky mood. A good road trip involves a range of snacks for kids and adults. If you’re traveling with young children, especially babies, you’ll likely make a few stops so consider packing a few different options.
On a recent road trip to Portland, I stocked up on both tried and true snacks (like ever-present rice crackers) but also took the opportunity to buy a few treats that none of us has ever tried before. This got my toddler even more excited for the trip, and kept her solidly entertained for about 20 minutes of the drive (not to be discounted!). Here are some other solid snacky tips:
Picnic Lunch. Store sandwiches in a cooler in your trunk.
Finger Foods: Whole-grain crackers, dried fruits (like apples, mangoes, and raisins), fresh fruit and vegetables, and of course, the ever-present Cheerios all make great, non-messy car snacks. Throw them into a snack cup so your kiddos can easily hold and munch their snacks in the backseat. The best part is their little fingers can reach in, but all the food doesn’t spill out, even if you hit some potholes.
Keep Refills Handy: Keep snacks handy in the front seat so you can refill their snack cup without having to pull over. I learn over and over: eating keeps everyone entertained.
Keep It Clean.
When my first child was two months old, we took off on a road trip from my in-laws’ house in Ohio to Nashville and Louisville. With her being my first, I was nervous about keeping things clean while on the road and in hotels.
Clean Bottles: Thankfully, this on-the-go drying rack with bottle brush can help you maintain both your sanity and sanitary conditions for your bottles and pump parts. Get into all the nooks and crannies of your bottles with two different brush heads, then air dry them on the fold-out rack in your rental house, or even on your dashboard.
Clean Everything Else: You can never have too many wipes and this on-the-go wipes dispenser attaches to your stroller or your diaper bag. It ingeniously lets you grab one wipe at a time with a single hand tab push.
Stick to Your Potty Training Routine
Last year, we took our daughter on a trip to LA, right in the midst of our potty training effort. Of course we were nervous! Going places with a potty can be a hassle which is why this travel-friendly potty is brilliant. It packs and stores easily, comes with disposable bags, and you can pull it out anywhere: place it over a toilet, or on the ground — great for camping trips! Who says you have to avoid road trips when you’ve got a toddler? Just make sure you stick with your routine whether it involves a sticker or snack reward. Kids love consistency.
I always pack myself a water bottle for a long ride and little ones need plenty of hydration on the road, too. Whether they’re just transitioning from a bottle to sippy cup, or already drinking from a “big kid” cup, a sippy cup like this one will ensure they stay hydrated on the go, and you can relax knowing it’s leak and spill-proof. If you happen to be heading on a beach vacation, be sure to pack a few you so you can keep one in your beach bag, in your hotel room, and in the car (for refills).
Now if only I had a trick for how to get out the door in under an hour… can anyone help me there?