After logging over 20,000 miles in less than two years, I am ready to call myself a subject matter expert on taking road trips with kids. My husband and I have suffered through bouts of projectile vomiting, toddler bickering, and hours of Yo Gabba Gabba music listening so that you can save your sanity next time you travel with your kids. These are our family’s guaranteed, tried and true methods of making road trips with babies (gasp!) enjoyable.
Bring the iPad
I know not everyone has one but many of you do (or it’s equivalent). Leave the guilt at home and BRING IT! I cannot stress it enough. We have a behind the driver seat holder we place it in. Both kids can watch it comfortably (when they were rear-facing we used the holder on the headrest of the seat the car seat was on).
Fill it up with as many movies and TV shows as it will hold. This has stopped crazy car crying spells dead in their tracks. Trust me when it’s dark and you’re on who knows what highway in the middle of Podunkville there are few other options. You’re tired. They’re tired. Turn on the soothing sounds of Sesame Street and enjoy a few moments of near silence.
Plan (most) Stops Ahead
We do our best to map out our pit stops ahead of time. We try to choose our route according to the number of kid friendly stops along the way. It isn’t always easy, possible, or efficient but it always makes for a more pleasant ride. The kids enjoy having something to look forward to. Going to Grandma’s is fun but knowing that they’ll get to play at a park, go nuts at a Chuck E. Cheese, or visit a kid’s museum on the way motivates them to tolerate the car ride. I also enjoy the break. The stops add more time to the trip but we have a ton of fun so it’s well worth it. Pit stops are also awesome picture taking opportunities and are an excellent way to add to the road trip or vacation photo album.
Our SUV is usually filled to the brim with stuff. Watching my husband fill up the truck is pretty entertaining. It’s like a real live game of Tetris. Accessability is key. If your kid comes down with a bout of car sickness you want a towel and a fresh change of clothes within reach. I’ve been there more times than I can count. I also bring an Ikea smock to toss over him if I hear any retching. I’ve got it down to a science.
Make sure paper towels, a change of clothes, entertainment, car friendly snacks, and anything else you may need are within reach or easily accessible. It’s a total pain to stop at rest stop after rest stop and combing through the car looking for cheddar bunnies while your kids wail away in the back seat. Trust me.
Do you have any sanity saving road trip ticks to share?