Well... we made it! We survived!
What did we do, you ask?
Why... we road-tripped across the country - Wyoming to Pennsylvania, and back again - with a 5-year-old, a 3-year-old and a 10-month-old.
Of course, it had its moments, but overall... it went very well. And we had a wonderful time visiting with all our family and friends in Pennsylvania when we (finally) got there. So, this week I give you some tips for surviving road trips with young kids. It's not an exhaustive list by any means, but it's at least a starting point!
Five Tips for Surviving Road Trips with Young Kids
#5 - Prepare the little ones for the hotel stay beforehand. Mountain Girl had a complete meltdown the first night because she wanted to "go home"(!!!!) and sleep in her own bed. I realized that I had mentioned that we would be staying in a hotel, but I hadn't really explained what that meant... Oops. (And sorry to our hotel-room-neighbors...)
#4 - Always, always, always bring a bucket and paper towels. Always. And keep said items within an arm's reach... always. You just never know when someone is going to get carsick, and it is better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. Trust me.
#3 - As a sort of follow-up to #4, here is a basic list of items I always like to have on hand in the car: A map (printed on actual paper - technology can be fickle), car charger for your phone, first aid kit, water, snacks, old towels, hand sanitizer, baby wipes, tire pressure gauge, jumper cables, a basic tool set, blankets (and maybe travel-size pillows too), extra clothes, etc, etc, etc...
#2 - For long trips, I like to put together a goodie bag for the kids in addition to letting them choose a few of their own toys/books/activities. Some of the things in the goodie bag they may know about (DVDs, coloring books, CDs) and some of the things I like to keep as a surprise. That way, when they get really, really restless and the regular stuff just isn't cutting it, I can dig into my bag and pull out something new. It usually keeps them busy for a while. This time, I made some seek-and-find bottles and road trip bingo cards, and we had some new storybooks and activity books also.
#1 - And the number one tip is... keep yourself sane! Yes, we listened to kid's cds for hours upon hours... but when the kids were sleeping or watching a movie in the back we'd fade the speakers all the way to the front and put on some more "grown up" type music. We also brought snacks (with chocolate on them) that we kept to ourselves. It's the little things...
So how about you? If you've road tripped at all and have any tricks or tips to share, please leave a comment below!