On the road again . . .
Now kids are strapped into tight car seats and boosters, but they have so many more options to entertain themselves (I feel so old and curmudgeony writing that. “Kids these days…!”). But it’s true. Between iPads and built-in DVD players, Littles don’t even need to look up from their devices the entire trip. Which personally I don’t agree with (there goes old and curmudgeony Jess again), but to each his/her WanderOwn. Sometimes we just want to get from Point A to Point B with as little drama as possible!
The key here, just as it is with airplane flights, is preparation. Every time I go to Target I hit up the “Dollar Spot,” and constantly have a collection of cheap travel or road trip toys hidden in my closet ready to be packed. What I always make sure I have a ton of? Stickers. Seriously. Stickers have saved many a trip for us. Every road trip I hand my daughter a packet of stickers and crayons and she makes a card for whomever we are going to see (especially handy when we are traveling for a holiday: she can make a Christmas card, birthday card, etc.). You can also get cheap little art supplies, workbooks, board books, etc.
Our team does have its favorites, so we have actually organized them for you by age in our In-Flight Entertainment/Road Trip page. We also have a few pieces of essential road trip gear you can find here.
Now we are fully aware that when you have itty bitties, you often need to just get going as quickly as possible and only stop only when they are awake (and angry). But when they are a little bigger, the more funny and quirky the stops, the more memorable the trip. And America is queen of the offbeat attraction: a Possum Monument in Florida, a Peanut of Welcome in Alabama (what does that even mean??), a mini St Louis Arch… in Illinois. Check out RoadsideAmerica.com before you hit the open road, or download their iPhone app so you can always find the quirky stops (and amazing photo opps!) along the way.
And what about food? I would love to say that I’m the sort of mom who packs a cooler full of sandwiches or whatnot, but really I see meals as a perfect time to stop, go to the bathroom, and stretch your legs. But you definitely need to have healthy snacks prepared and easily accessible. I keep an “activity bag” in the front with me that has any activities I need to pass back, as well as a section with healthy snacks such as trail mix and fruit. Also, make sure everyone has a bottle or thermos of water packed as well. Okay, and a lollipop in case traffic gets bad.
Jess' Roadtrip Checklist:
- Activity bag with activities (stickers, crayons, paper) and healthy snacks (or cooler with sandwiches, etc. if you are that overachieving parent)
- Water bottle for everyone
- Lap desk for older kiddo
- Nursing pillow if breastfeeding (and a nursing cover for modesty in case you end up parked at a truck stop. Just sayin'.)
- Wipes for spills, cleaning hands, etc.
- Light blankets for chilly legs
- Motion sickness medicine or wrist bands if anyone gets carsick
What have we forgotten? What is on your road trip checklist? Weigh in below!