10 Road Trip Hacks Every Parent Should Know
Our family of five loves a good roadtrip. Our first family road trip was a 20 hour drive with 10 month old twins. No, I’m not kidding. We might crazy but, with all of the equipment necessary for little ones, sometimes it’s just easier to drive. And, it’s usually more cost efficient than flying too.
We now have three children, and since that first road trip we’ve taken about 10 more. Like I said, we love a good roadtrip.
If you are thinking about taking a road trip with your kids, here are my 10 tips you might want to consider to help you prepare.
- Travel with a portable potty. I know it’s kind of weird and gross, but this will be a lifesaver for those times when you randomly get stuck in traffic and your two-year-old can’t wait an extra 15 minutes for you get to some shady gas station in the middle of nowhere. There are some really clean and convenient fold up potties out there for under $20. This can really save your road trip… BIG TIME!
- If we are traveling more than 10 hours, we will stay at a hotel for one night and break up our road trip into two days. If this is necessary for you, pack an overnight bag and keep it easily accessible so that when you get to the hotel you aren’t digging through bags to find what you need.
- One of my favorite places to stop when we need a break is Chick Fil-A. It is always clean and they always have an indoor playground. So, no matter the weather the kids can get some energy out. We actually let them play for a bit, take bathroom breaks and then take our food to go and have them eat in the car since they would be sitting down anyway it might as well be in the car while we are driving. There is a Chick Fil-A app so you can find the nearest one easily… just make sure it’s not a Sunday because they are closed!
- If you want to stop at a restaurant to sit down and have a meal our favorite place is Cracker Barrel. This restaurant has a little store with toys and trinkets so the kids can walk around and check out all the fun, little things for sale. It’s a great way to stretch your legs. They also have game tables in the restaurant if your kids are like mine and enjoy some entertainment while they are waiting for their food to arrive.
- Before a road trip I always go to a dollar store, Five Below, or the dollar section of Target/Walmart and pick up some activity books, playdough, stickers, puzzles, and small toys before each trip. I pack each child her own activity box. If you use a shoe box it doubles as a tray. Better yet, cover the shoe box with paper and have them decorate the box during the car ride. The lid can be flipped over so crayons/markers don’t roll onto the floor. Or, fill up a cup with pencils/crayons/markers and put it in a cup holder within reach. This is a great way to keep kids busy on a road trip without using electronics.
- I also pack a bunch of snacks before the trip. I love to stock up on cereal, bottled water, dried fruit, crackers, and cookies. Basically anything that doesn’t require refrigeration. I always bring extra so that we have snacks at the hotel and for the ride home. Bring full size boxes and a box of baggies. That way you can divide out the snacks.
- Bring trash bags, hand sanitizer, paper towels and disinfectant wipes for the car ride!
- I always pack a collapsible hamper when we travel. It’s a great way to keep our dirty clothes separate from the clean ones when we pack up to go home (because I ALWAYS over pack!)
- I also always pack a collapsible drying rack. This is so we don’t have wet bathing suits hanging all over the room. I also like to bring a mini dish detergent (to wash sippy cups) and a mini laundry detergent (to hand wash a sandy bathing suit without needing to go to the laundromat.)
- I have an app on my tablet that is a nightlight and a sound machine. The sound machine drowns out any noisy hotel doors slamming or people talking in the hallways. The nightlight helps when someone has to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night.
Before you hit the road with your family, be sure to go over this checklist and your trip will be much more enjoyable! Happy trails!