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It's November 2nd (how did that happen?) which means we are entering the crazy busy holiday season! For us, and many others, that means road trips!
We live 700 miles away from both of our families, so every holiday season we make the road trip back to Iowa. We typically go and spend a week around Christmas or Thanksgiving back home. This year we are going for Christmas and couldn't be more excited!
When we do 10-12 hours in the car (one way) with three kids, most people think we are crazy, but we really enjoy it! I think it's because we have been doing it for over 8 years and by now have a good system down.
I've perfected my system over the years, and each time I add a kiddo to the mix, it changes a bit, but after all of the road tripping we did this summer I think I finally have it perfected.
1. First off, snacks. Lots of snacks. Nothing keeps kids entertained more than snacks. I like to pack a bunch of small individual zip locked baggies full of snacks like gold fish crackers, pretzels, trail mix etc. and keep them all up in the front seat with me if I'm traveling solo with the kids, or somewhere assessable to my husband and I if he's traveling with me so I can easily pass it on back to each kid. Makes of an easy way to toss it back to Jasper in the 3rd row of the suburban. I'll also toss back a package of wipes so the kids don't get sticky fingers all over the car/ipad etc. (The new Clutch 'n Clean Wipes makes this So much easier than my old system of just throwing wet wipes in zip lock bags!)
2. Second, change of clothes. Keep an outfit handy outside of your luggage (for everyone traveling) so you don't need to go digging around in your bags trying to find a new onesies when your baby has a diaper explosion all over her onesie alone the highway in the middle of Nebraska. True story. She ended up having to wear Jasper's size 4 shirt (at like 3 months old). Change of clothes would have also come in handy when a certain 8 year old got car sick while driving through the Appalachian Mountains this past summer. Thankfully during both of those instances I at least had plenty of wipes, but don't make my past mistakes, always keep a change of clothes handy!
3.A bin full of toys/activities/stickers/ for everyone. Especially when traveling solo I bring a lot of these for the kids. I pack everything we could possibly need in a big container (usually a pop up mesh laundry basket from Ikea because it's soft and see through) and I only give one toy/activity at a time. And don't pass another one back for at least 20-30 minutes.This is more important for the two younger kiddos. Jasper is old enough now that he packs his own little bag of what he wants and keeps it in the back next to his seat, but I still usually sneak some new things in for him as well, because 10-12 hours in the car is a l o n g day! When we stop for gas I gather all the toys/activities and bring it back up to the front again and start all over.
4. I know I've mentioned it, but wipes. Lots and lots of wipes. My car is stocked with wipes even when I'm Not going on a road trip. Sticky fingers? Pass a wet wipe. Muddy boots on the back of my seat (thanks Tindra) wet wipe. Impromptu diaper changes? Yep, wet wipes. Wet wipes aren't only used on baby bums around here! There will come a day (sob) where I no longer have little babies around, but I don't think I'll see a time where I won't need to keep a package of wet wipes handy!
5. Last tip? Don't be afraid of screen time. Yes I use it as a last resort, but on car trips those last resorts often come sooner than I would like. iPads, dvd player, kindle, lead pad, we bring it all and pass it around. Okay except for the baby, but he will get his fair share of road trip screen time eventually. When we do the all day road trips I like to break it into halves. Makes it seem more bearable. So first half, they start off by playing/doing activities and can watch one movies or have the iPad for games after a few hours. Then we break for lunch, I convince them all to nap and then we start all over with games and then a movie/iPad as a reward for playing nicely.
|These make a great distraction for fussy babies as well! Soren has fun playing/chewing with it.|
I picked the clutch 'n clean wipes up at CVS in preparation for our upcoming road trips and to keep in the car at all times, but now I'm going to have to head back and pick up more because they are so handy to have around, and I don't know about you but we are somehow always misplacing wipes in our house, so I will definitely be hanging these throughout the house so we always have wipes handy!