Tips for traveling with young kids.
Traveling/road-tripping with kids can be chaotic, stressful, fun, and overwhelming. Here are some of the tips I have for how to take the stress out of long trips with young children.
1. Do NOT let FEAR keep you from taking trips.
One of the most common things I hear from parents is "I don't know how you did that". Even in the beginning I was fearful of how my kids might do in the van, in a hotel, without their Dad (for some of our adventures), eating out etc. My biggest thing is to not let FEAR keep you from doing trips with your kids. You won't know unless you try. Take the leap. Go on an adventure.
2. Snacks, snacks and more snacks.
If you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail.......or something like that. Always have more snacks than you need, and have them PORTIONED out in those snack side ziplock bags. There is nothing worse than a toddler who is hungry and stuck in a vehicle. Pack a cooler. I recommend you freeze milk or something similar to keep your food fresh until you get there. Kids can be picky. Pack what will make them happy.
If this is your first time taking a long car ride with your children I recommend you have sort of motion sickness medicine for your child. My son is fine. My daughter on the other hand vomits after every rest stop during a long trip, and I mean VOMITS. I have never washed a carseat so much with a child. When I would drive by myself the first time she did it, it was the scariest thing and not safe. After speaking with our doctor he suggested children Gravol and its been smooth sailing ever since. I recommend putting the pill in some sort of food product.
4. Travel potty
I can not tell you how many times my son tells me he has to go pee and the closest rest stop is miles away. Since I travel alone a lot with the kids I am not always able to take them both in. So I have pulled to the side of the road or even a rest stop and taken out the potty, and my son is able to pee and we can quickly be on our way. I recommend this one.
5. Piddle pad
Kids have accidents. Prevention is the best. I recommend a piddle pad for the carseat. Not only are they great for keeping urine or blowouts off of the carseat, but they also protect the carseat from juice spills. Here is the one we are currently using. And it can also be a great crumb catching. Its a lot easier to dump a piddle pad instead of a whole carseat.
6. Some sort of entertainment they enjoy.
Our van is equipped with a DVD player (life saver for the 3 year old) but sometimes even that runs its course and my rear facing daughter doesn't even get to see it. So we always have backups. Magic eraser books, toys, songs, storybooks, etch a sketch, pipe cleaners, or anything that your child would play with. My son has a cd he loves of his favorite songs, which I will take on repeat over a crying child.
7. Emergency roadside kit and first aid kit
Vehicles breakdown. Make sure you are prepared to handle anything that may come up. Have a AAA membership. Pack a roadside kit. Be prepared. Have a charger for your phone. Be prepared.
8. Let go of the mess
Your vehicle will get messy. Your kids will get messy. Road-trips are messy. Embrace the mess until your destination or until you get home. I usually wash the van and vacuum everything out when I get there.
9. Plan you travel hours around naps
Roadtrips are best when you have sleeping children. When I drive a trip that will require a stop and is really long I will leave at 3 or 4 am. True story. I have everything packed up the night before and I simple transfer the kids to the vehicle to get going. This guarantees its dark still and I have a child sleeping for a few hours. That way I am stopping for the first time for a breakfast break. If this isn't your cup of tea then I suggest leaving a hour or so before a nap. Sleeping kids are the best passengers. (also make sure your windows have some sort of blind or sunshade).
Enjoy it. I have heard this so much about motherhood with a young children and its true. I truly love the trips we take together. They aren't easy, but we always have a good time. They won't always be this young. Traveling will get easier. Enjoy their company. Enjoy this time together. Travel.
Jumping on beds is only allowed in hotels