Preparing for a road trip always requires a TON of work. Add in a road trip with children and you might as well be packing up your entire house. Trying to make sure you have everything, so you don’t end up having to buy it all when you arrive, requires planning. There is a lot to do for such a short time away!
Knowing all this, why still make the trip? You can’t wait for your kids to grow up on vacation – create the memories now!
How can you keep track of everything? What’s the best method for getting everything and everyone to fit in the car? I know the amount of planning it takes to make a road trip with children and I have 5 tips to make your road trip more successful.
Method to Packing Madness
When hitting the road, consider using waterproof baggies for much of your packing. Knowing children, there will be spills. To maximize your trunk and backseat space, try rolling clothes, combining bags and using packing cubes. Being overly organized is the way to go instead of having to keep stopping to find things in stuffed bags.
Make a List
Once you have your packing method set, make a list to check off everything that you have packed already and still need to (including those last minute items to grab the morning of, like toothbrushes and pillows, cellphones, wallets and bottles). Trust me, lists are HUGE timesavers when you have a ton of things to pack.
Pack the Car with the Essentials
The essentials in the car are: drinks, snacks, iPads, games, blankets, wipes, chargers and extra plastic bags. By ensuring you know what you have in the car, you can prevent having to pull over to grab iPad from the trunk. Other car essentials are iPods, books, toys, bottles, formula, binkies, headphones, and pillows. Anything that will need to be within reach of you or your kids while on the road.
Bring Food With You
Because you are traveling in a car, this opens more options for you of bringing food with you. Vacations are always very expensive because you must eat out for every single meal, but when going on a road trip, you can bring food with you from your home. Bringing cereal, snacks, chips, fruit, canned food, cold food in a cooler, and drinks can help save you tons of money, as well as any possibilities of bad moods due to hunger! Separate the snacks that should be eaten during the trip from snacks that should be eaten when at road trip destination.
Plan Out Stops
Although nothing ever goes as completely planned on the road, it is still better to have a plan than not. In case kids are sleeping, hungry or antsy, it would be good to know the locations of places that have bathrooms, gas stations or food along the way. Make sure to have some back up locations just in case the kids are sleeping, and of course mark down some ‘must-sees’ like roadside statues for photos on your journey!
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Jennifer is a freelance writer, military wife, motherhood + lifestyles blogger, a mom to a nutty 3-year-old, and a National Board Certified Teacher. She lives in Washington State and is a born + raised New Yorker. In her spare time, she loves traveling, yoga, fitness and everything organic. Her blog is Teach.Workout.Love.