Summer is almost here and for many families that means it’s time to hit the road. Choosing a road trip over hopping a plane is popular with many families because it’s less expensive and you don’t have to worry about passenger complaints if your child decides to act up.
That doesn’t mean that it’s always smooth sailing. There’s nothing predictable when it comes to traveling with kids. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t bring along some essentials to avoid hitting those bumps in the road. If you’re planning a road trip this summer, check out our list of five items you won’t want to leave home without!
One of the reasons why you’re driving to your summer vacation destination is to save money. That’s not going to happen if you’re pulling over at every rest stop because your child has the munchies or needs a sip of water.
Be sure to pack plenty of non-perishable snacks like crackers, trail mix, and granola bars. If your child isn’t quite up to eating those types of foods yet, have plenty of age-appropriate snacks on hand. For beverages, bring water versus juice. Not only is it more nutritional, but if it spills it won’t cause a sticky mess like juice. Keep everything cold in a little cooler you can have with you inside the car, not in the trunk.
When your child has to go to the bathroom, he has to go now, not at the next rest stop in 20 miles. Bringing along a portable potty for your toddler isn’t a bad idea. This way you can just pull over whenever they get the urge.
You may never realize your child gets carsick until you start on an 8-hour drive through stop and go traffic. That’s why having a stock of grocery store bags in the car can come in handy. You may not always be able to pull over or make it in time when the gets sick!
Just as you can’t predict when your child is going to have to go to the bathroom or get a bout of motion sickness, you can also never tell when he may need a first aid kit or some over-the-counter medicine. A first aid kit with bandages, anti-bacterial ointment, Benadryl, and child’s pain reliever are always good to have on hand. If you happen to stop for a bite to eat and your child has a reaction, it’s good to have Benadryl with you or pain reliever if a headache comes on in the middle of your ride.
“Are we there yet?” These are the four most-dreaded words parents hear on a road trip. To avoid hearing this the entire trip, bring plenty of activities, preferably something new so that it will really keep their attention. Make sure the activities you bring are age appropriate and don’t make too much noise (for your own sanity!). If you have older kids in the car, encourage them to bring a book along and get some of that summer reading done. Activities can include a portable movie player or electronic device as well. But, you may want to set limits so your child is not glued to it the entire time.
While you’re bound to hit a few snags along the way, remember road trips are what family memories are made of! Make the most of them and enjoy the precious time with your family.