As summertime rolls in, summer travel is amping up! We are heading on our first road trip of the summer this upcoming weekend with a fun getaway to Toledo for Memorial Day weekend. Heading on a road trip with two little ones (toddler and pre-school age) can feel like a daunting task at times, but with a little preparation and an open-mind, trips with littles ones can be a fun and memory building experience for everyone. Below are a few sanity saving tips to help make road trips with your little ones easier!
Thank you to Evenflo for kindly sponsoring this post. All opinions are 100% honest & completely my own.
Before you even leave the driveway, make sure that your car has been serviced recently. No one wants to get 100 miles into their road trip only to realize that they’re overdue for an oil change, tires are low, and the other myriad of things that need to be maintained on their vehicle.
Make car seat safety a priority! Did you know that every day we lose 4 to 5 children in car crashes? Car crashes are the leading cause of death for children in this country and often times, parents unknowingly have car seats incorrectly installed. If you’re ever unsure if your child’s carseat is correctly installed, there are often many workshops and checks at your local fire department (our’s has one monthly) in which you can bring your car in and a certified professional can be sure that you’ve installed it safely and correctly.
We love our Evenflo Stratos Convertible Car Seat. Safety is first with this car seat as it is 2x the Federal Crash Test Standard. The Stratos car seat is weight-rated for up to 40 pounds rear facing which is one of the factors that I love most about this car seat. We rear faced our son until he was nearly 3 and plan to rear face our daughter as long as possible as well since studies have shown it is the safest way for children to ride. The Evenflo Stratos car seat can be used forward facing until children are 65 pounds too so the period of use of this car seat is great for long-term, which means more bang for your buck (it’s reasonable priced too). Installation was relatively simple due to the SureSafe Installation that has been shown to increase proper installation by two times when compared to standard LATCH hooks.
Note: The car seat pictures above were in the midst of installation. We were still fine tuning the fit. 😉
Don’t forget to pack a first aid kit! Make sure to keep it easily accessible and routinely check dates to make sure that medicines haven’t expired.
Pack Like a Pro
When it comes to packing the car for a road trip, accessibility and comfort is number one on the list. The last thing that you want to have to do, is dig through all your luggage to find something an hour into your trip.
Keep things that you’ll need often (like diapers, wipes, extra change of clothes, snacks, chargers, activities, etc.) within arms reach. Don’t forget to pack some extra bags and Clorox wipes in case of motion sickness or diaper blowouts.
I also am sure to bring along our kiddos favorite loveys and blankets so that they may feel more inclined to cuddle and drift off to sleep.
Pack one bag that has everything that you’ll need for that days travel and keep it near the front of the car with you so you don’t have to venture into the trunk to search for those items in your suitcase. If traveling to warmer areas, keep sunscreen and swimsuits in a separate bag (with some plastic bags to put wet items in), to easily grab and go when needed.
Since toddlers and preschoolers have bottomless pit stomachs, keep snacks on hand that can be grabbed easily. We love keeping a small cooler in the car packed with lots of snacks to choose from. Full bellies = happier kids, plus snacks can be a great way to keep kids busy and distracted the last leg of trips. Bringing your own snacks also keeps costs down and are healthier options than stopping to eat or picking up items from gas stations where costs are higher.
Be sure to pack your stroller near the back of the car/trunk where you can get it if needed (we love our Evenflo Pivot Travel System). Sometimes a quick 30 minute walk and change of scenery can provide the much needed break from riding in the car.
Activities to Fend Off Boredom
Keeping toddlers and preschoolers entertained while in the car can be a feat, but a little pre-planning can make it more bearable. A few of our favorite boredom busting activities are:
- I Spy
- Car Bingo
- iPad – Generally, I’m not a fan of giving tablets to my kiddos, but in times of travel I find them to be amazing for keeping little minds entertained and happy. You can load the with tons of fun games, movies and music.
- Songs and dancing – my kids love music and car dancing may be a favorite!
- Washable markers and crayons and notepads
- Dollar store toys are great to introduce to add a little variety to their normal toy roundup
Note: You may want to pack some motion sickness tabs if you’re unsure of how your children will do.
Prepare to be Flexible
Being flexible is everything. Traveling with little ones is bound to have some hiccups, but keeping an open and flexible mind will save a lot of headache for everyone. Road trips can be boring for adults at times, so allow your children some grace in how they handle it. Kids want to and need to move. Be prepared to stop more than planned. Take advantage of pit stops and let the kids run around and explore to burn off energy. Stop at unexpected areas and take in the world around you.
While a road trip with young kids can be a lot of work, it’s worth it for all the memories and experience you build and create along the way. Take lots of pictures, unplug from social media and truly take in the joy that your children experience. You only get 18 summers with your children, make the most of them all.