Every year, we pack up our kids (and half the house it seems like) in the truck and go to a place we’ve never been before. Road trips with two kids under the age of 6 in a crew cab truck seemed like a task too big for us to tackle when we started this tradition but it has become something we look forward to every year!
Here are some things, good and bad, I’ve learned along the way.
Bring a small potty. Have you ever been in the winding back roads deep in the woods of West Virginia at 2 in the morning when you hear “I need to go potty” from the backseat? We have learned to always pack a small, portable potty for those not so convenient times and it has been a lifesaver while on road trips with kids!
Another thing we’ve learned is to travel at night. It may not work for all families, but allowing our kids to rest in the car made for a more peaceful ride for us adults and less crabby kiddos! We try to plan our road trips with kids route so the night driving is through the less scenic areas. I have always worked 3rd shift so being awake all night is a normal thing for this mama and has worked well for our vacations too.
Snacks, snacks and more snacks. You could never pack too many! Don’t forget to bring utensils too! Silverware, straws, grocery sacks (to use as a trash bag), zip locks, paper towels, a can opener and wine opener. Even if you don’t use it, it doesn’t take up too much space to pack it anyway.
One thing I always pack that has gotten a few laughs is my coffee pot. I take my coffee seriously, and the coffee pots, and coffee in hotel rooms, I have learned, can be downright disappointing. Knowing that you will start each vacation day with a fresh cup of delicious coffee without having to hit up the lobby, drive- thru or overpriced hotel cafe is a major plus! And while on road trips with kids, you can’t have too much caffeine!
Plan for some fun, quick stops along the way. One of my favorite websites for finding everything and anything weird along our route is RoadsideAmerica. Look in your own state too and you’ll be surprised by all the weirdly spectacular things around you! We have posts of a 100 places within 100 miles of the Quad Cities you’ll be glad you checked out! Part 1 of the series are locations closest to home, Part 2 is in the mid range distance wise, and Part 3 lists the farthest.
Keep a hidden box of fun things in the front seat. A new coloring book or toy, their favorite healthy snack or a cool new drink cup. Sometimes road trips are just down right long and boring. Keeping some surprises for them can relieve the despair for those parts of the trip when the cornfields and interstate seem endless.
And last but not least, join them in the back seat! Even if it’s just for 30 minutes or so, and you barely fit in between the two car seats check out the road trip with kids from their point of view. We have jam out sessions, play eye spy and laugh together which makes 12 hours in the car a little more enjoyable!