Today, we have Lindsey from Redhead Baby Mama here to share some tips for traveling with children. Summer is coming to a close and families are taking their last vacations in the coming days and weeks. Lindsey’s tips are extremely helpful in making your travels a little smoother! She has many roar trips under her belt, so I know you will enjoy her advice!
I get it. Road trips with kids can be tough, and if you have more than 2 hours to drive, no fun at all. Toddlers, babies and children can be impatient, loud, messy and a handful in the car. (Or the plane, train or bus!) I’m here to drive home (a little car humor for ya!) some tips to make your next road trip a little easier. Try a few to get your little travelers in a better backseat mood!
1. Make your kids HELP! Get your kids involved: since the trunk is going to be packed to the brim, get your kids to carry out their backpacks, pillows or activity books to their own seats. Kids can help put smaller bags into the car, make sure your pet stays in the house, and hold open doors for you and your bags. During the trip, allow your older kids to hold, read and help with the map, or GPS. Smaller kids can look for street signs while the GPS lists out directions. If your kids can help, it makes them feel involved and draws more interest to family trips.
2. Join AAA. I’m a girl scout, so I’m always prepared. I know that by no fault of your own, you could end up stranded or in an accident. You can’t count on the weather, and there are some crazy drivers on the road! A cheap AAA membership not only protects your vehicles by providing jumps, gas, tire assistance and free tows, it also protects you as a passenger (and any car you’re in!) Along with your membership, check your car to make sure your tires are inflated, your oil is clean and all tune-ups are up to date! Keep emergency phone numbers and contacts in the glove compartment.
3. Bring your potty, stickers and hand wipes: a potty training toddler can wreak havoc on your road trip. A travel potty or his/her familiar small potty will be a welcome sight instead of the “scary” auto-flushing toilets you find nowadays. If you don’t have room for a travel potty, then consider some $1 store stickers. These weak stickers work perfectly to block the visual sensors of an automated toilet, and provide some security. Cleansing hand and face wipes (not sanitizer) are a greener and healthier way to get kids to clean up after potty stops, and they double to clean up after lunch breaks!
4. Use the state rest stops: Sure, you can use the above tips for the state stop potties, but I’m talking about all that green open area!! Your family is sure to find ample parking, as well as an open space to stretch your legs. Play a quick game of tag, search for wildflowers, or step into the building to grab some fun maps and colorful brochures to look at. Play “I Spy” with a few of them in the car. Stay as long as you need to dispel the cabin fever of the car!
5. Independent Quiet Toys/ Activities: The last thing you want to hear incessantly in your ear is, “Are we THERE YET?!” Even worse? “Sister keeps TOUCHING me!!”. Avoid these pitfalls by picking out independent and quiet activities like a magna-doodle, stickers, coloring or music with headphones. New technology options like tablets in a kid proof box can allow kids to play educational apps or watch movies on super long trips.
6. Use the hotel pool!: For longer road trips, or out of town stays, you may be staying at a hotel that has a pool! If this is the case, be sure to take a lap (or ten) before you resume your drive and wear out your kids! They will nap, get along, and ride easier if they are worn out.
7. Snack it up: Praise be to the snack! Whether it’s healthy or a sweet, pack yourself and your kids some goodies. It will save you some bucks at the vending machine, fast food joint or other establishment as well as being better for you. If you have a whiny toddler, stop and consider his tummy; he may hungry! Juice boxes or small milks can fit in a lunchbox size cooler, keeping everything cool and fresh. Older kids may be able to help themselves to portioned containers that you have packed up in the backseat.
8. Always expect the worst: This strange piece of advice may be the very best one. My family always calls me a pessimist in these situations, but if you are expecting the worst, tantrum filled, juice explosion of a trip, anything that happens will seem a success. Pack for your worst-case scenario, and it will allow you to feel more prepared. Above everything, try to ENJOY your trip and take everything in stride!
Thank you so much for sharing your experience and expertise with us today, Lindsey! I know this post will be helpful to so many! I hope this helps those who are about to travel or who have travel plans in their future! What other tips would you suggest when traveling with children?