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Road Tripping with Kids

Laura Hahn

 Selfie from our recent weekend trip to NYC.

Selfie from our recent weekend trip to NYC.

With summer around the corner, vacation has definitely been on my mind. It’s always nice to get away for a bit, even if it’s just for the weekend. We’ve done our fair share of road trips, and I’ve found that compared to flights, they’re actually pretty easy with kids since you don’t have to worry about them bothering other people, and you have more space and flexibility. Road trips are also more financially feasible since once they turn 2 years old, you have to pay for your child's seat on an airplane. We do have some travel tips for flying with two kids, but here are some things you’ll want to have when preparing for your road trip:

  • Entertainment. Have your music playlists ready. I use Spotify, but any other music app or even CDs will do. A playlist specifically for the trip can help make memories and remind you of the fun you (hopefully) had while driving. We try to wait as long as possible to give our son the iPad, but it’s definitely been a lifesaver in traffic and I have downloaded new apps before a long trip. If you have a van with a DVD player, you probably don’t even need to be reading this post since you’ve got it handled. But since there's more space in a car, feel free to bring games, coloring stuff, and books. You can even make an activity station and a makeshift desk for older kids.

  • Snacks. Absolutely necessary. We usually pack one reusable grocery bag with all the snacks and food related items (extra sippy cup/bottle) we’ll need. If you have space, you can even bring a cooler. By all means pack some grown up snacks (you can eat these when the kids fall asleep), but definitely bring some fresh fruit in a tupperware, along with nuts, cereal bars, pouches, etc. Don’t forget water and other drinks. Make sure you also have a bag for trash and napkins or paper towels (but a car with kids should really have these in it at all times).

  • Travel potty. For those whose kids are potty trained, this has been a life-saver. Sometimes you can’t get to a rest stop in time, so this is a great resource. You can use your extra plastic bags from the grocery and stash them in the side. We have many a time pulled over at the next exit and had my son poop or pee outside on this. If it’s cold and you have an SUV, you can pull up the passenger seat and set it up on the back seat car floor. Just make sure you have wipes!

  • Checked car maintenance. If you’re driving far, make sure your car is up to date on oil, fluids, etc. Car trouble during a trip is bad, but it’s even worse with whining or crying kids. You also don’t want to get stuck on the side of the road if you don’t have to, especially if there’s bad weather.

What other tips can you share for road tripping with kids?