Let’s be honest, any kind of outing with children can be stressful. Now toss in a long road trip with your child(ren) and that can be a double whammy of stress. Our family has had our fair share of road trips; particularly back and forth from Northern Virginia to Ohio and now Ohio to Northern Virginia. I will never forget our first road trip with my daughter. She was 3 months old and it looked as if we were moving out of our house! Literally. After that first trip I was bound and determined to find helpful hacks to make the road trip less stressful and more enjoyable. So, here are some 10 tips that our family uses when road tripping it with our now 4.5 and 2.5 year old. Oh-and sometimes our fur baby too.
Travel Tip #1
Communicate with your travel partner(s). What are your expectations? This is very important. The first few times we traveled with baby in tow, I had so much anxiety around what time we were going to leave because of the nap schedule, feeding schedule, DC traffic, you name it. When my husband and I are on the same page with expectations, travel goes much smoother. If your kids are older, communicate your expectations with them too.
Travel Tip #2
Bribery tools. In all seriousness-give each kid their own backpack or tote filled with some new activities and things to do. I usually hit up The Dollar Tree and/or the Target dollar spot. We also pack their favorite blankets and “lovey” for the long car ride.
Travel Tip #3
Pack your own healthy snacks. For us, that looks like going to Costco and buying some granola bars, fruit and vegetable pouches, yogurt, and maybe even a sweet treat for well-behaved children. I always love making protein balls and/or packing my vegan protein shakes to mix with water while we’re on the go. When we eat healthy, we feel better. And when we feel better, we all act better.
Travel Tip #4
Bring cleaning wipes to wipe down tables at restaurants and hotels. Wipe down those tables, the coffee table, the telephone, the doorknobs….it’s all fair game! I have no shame in being that germaphobe mama. I want my babies to stay healthy. Wiping down all surfaces helps ease my mind about germs.
Travel Tip #5
If you’re staying in a hotel, find a hotel with a pool and free breakfast. I mean, who doesn’t love to wear out their kids and get endless waffles for the room?
Travel Tip #6
Bring reading material. When else do mamas get to sit down and read a book quietly? This is the perfect time to take advantage of not having to constantly be tending to every need of your child(ren).
Travel Tip #7
Bring simple and neutral colors so you can mix things up yet pack less. Add accessories to change things up from dressy to casual.
Travel Tip #8
If supplements are your jam, bring them. We’re always bringing our probiotics and multivitamins on the road with us. When you’re traveling you’re exposed to more germs; generally aren’t eating the healthiest; and are probably losing some sleep. It’s important to keep those immune systems boosted.
Travel Tip #9
Water, water, water. If there’s room, pack a case of water in your trunk to help keep you and the kids hydrated. That being said, you may also want to pack a travel potty in case anyone has to go to the bathroom while you’re in the middle of nowhere. I also take my own water bottle so that I can refill it when we’re out and about.
Travel Tip #10
Take your trip hour by hour and don’t stress about things out of your control. Give your kids grace, stop when needed, enjoy the adventure, and make memories to cherish for a lifetime.