Spring break is finally just around the corner and I can’t even wait!! For me it just means it is finally nice and warm and we are that much closer to warm sunny days of summer! Spring Break also usually means travel for a lot of people, especially a road trip!! If you have a bigger family like us, road trips can seem a little daunting. What to bring to keep everyone happy and sane. How to not over pack and have your car look like a bomb went off once you get there. It can be stressful just thinking about it!! So today I wanted to share with you are tried and true family road trip essentials that I promise will be a game changer for your next adventure!
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First up on I think anyone’s list is SNACKS! A good road trip has to have good snacks, especially with kids involved. But like I mentioned above, you don’t want your car to look like a garbage can by the time you arrive at your destination. Here are some of our favorite things to grab, and a few little tips to avoid unnecessary messes!
– All of my people big and small LOVE these. I love that they are a little bit healthier option, and keep them fuller so they aren’t begging for something else quite as fast. And the pouch option keeps it mess free. No need to be passing dirty spoons back and forth or dealing with anyone missing their mouth. Quick, easy, and delicious!
– Goldfish crackers, teddy grahams, anything for little hands is not going to come as news to you for snack ideas. BUT the way we give them to our babies just might. In your head, you usually think ..I don’t want to give them too much, so I will use the snack sized bag. DON’T DO IT! Always go with the bigger sandwich size instead, still limiting the amount they get. That way they can stick their whole little hand in the bag, and anything they drop is MUCH more likely to fall back in the bag, and not turn into fish dust in your car seat or car floor. It has cut back messes dramatically in our car.
– Pre-open snacks with wrappers (granola bars, fruit snacks, etc.) and put them in a baggy before you go. That way once again, crumbs have somewhere to land, and you aren’t decorating your car in wrappers.
– For drinks, we usually stick to water. I LOVE these little disposable cups for the babies, because they are easy to drink out of, and I don’t have to worry about losing them. Our Nuna Car Seats are a road trip takers dream because they have two cup holders. The babies have their water in one and snack in the other so I’m not constantly turning around. For the big kids, they each usually have a water bottle, but I keep them up by me. I can’t stand making stops on an easy 4-5 hour road trip just for potty breaks. I know they can hold it, but not if they are back their chugging their drink out of boredom. If they need a drink, I hand it back and then it comes right back to me.
– To make things easier when it comes to passing back and forth, we LOVE these sturdy boxes. We keep one on the floor in front of the babies and one back by the big kids so everything they need is right by them. These over the chair options are great too if you don’t need to store quite as much stuff and want it up out of the way.
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Keeping little people entertained during a road trip can make you feel like you’ve run a marathon. It is exhausting. But when you are equipped with the right gear, it can be a game changer! These are some of our favorites for both the big and little people that have saved everyone’s mood and sanity!
Water Wow :
The babies LOVE these little books. If you toddlers, these are a must. They are like a little coloring book and the “pen” is activated with water. As they color with the wet brush, the colors show up. All the fun of painting or coloring, without all the mess. Yes please!!
Stickers could entertain my babies for hours. I give them each an envelope with stickers in it. They just peel them off and stick them on the outside of the envelope. Easiest + cheapest entertainment ever.
We always make sure everyone has at least one book they love, especially the bigger kids. They have really gotten into their favorite series and can get lost in a book for a good hour or two. If you have a little girl, Hayden LOVES these and actually gets excited about reading them. Hudson is hooked to these too. While it doesn’t entertain them for too long, I will throw in some of our favorite board books for the babies too.
You are gonna think I’m crazy, but I am actually anti iPads in the car. In my opinion, my people are much crankier and irritable after using them, so we choose not to. We do have a dvd player in the van, so we always try to grab a family favorite or a new redbox on our way out of town. A movie can take care of a few hours of entertainment for you!
Last but not least when it comes to entertainment is a good pair of headphones. Whether you go the super affordable wired route, or go a little nicer and do bluetooth, having headphones for your little people is a must. Sometimes just having that separation and getting them in their own world can help tone down the arguments and the whining.
I used to be completely against everyone bringing a blanket and pillow because it takes up SO MUCH SPACE when you times it by 5 littles. But I have noticed that on our last few trips when I’ve given in and let them bring a blanket, we have saved on the drama and encouraged more naps. Something about being cozier just keeps everyone a little more happy and calm.
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:: FOR ME
When you are planning out your road trip essentials, don’t forget about you and your hubby!! While you probably don’t need a full bag of entertainment like your little people, there are some sanity savers for you too! These are some of my favorites I always make sure to grab.
Portable Charger :
It should come as no surprise to you that this is at the top of my list! This little gem goes pretty much every where with me. It can charge your phone like 5-6 times before needing to be charged, and has saved us traveling multiple times.
Sometimes mom needs a little peace and quiet from the rest of the car, am I right?! A lot of times once I have my people occupied, I will try to get some work done on the road so I can focus more on the family during the actual trip. Having air pods or a good pair of bluetooth headphones is a must to block out the crazy and focus.
Grown ups need snacks too!! Our favorite candy usually makes an appearance, but my real favorite to pack are these g2g bars right out of the fridge. They are so good icy cold, and fill me up so I’m not bored eating the whole drive. (plus you can use code kailee for 20% off!)
Clear Bags :
These bags are my go to for any kind of bag organization. They are easy to still see what you are grabbing, but separate all the things into a nice categorized organized way, just the way my brain likes it!
Big Ziploc :
These a must have for the garbage, the messes, and the occasional stinky diaper. You can clean up as you go and have a “garbage”, instead of saving clean up for when you are there and exhausted.
Wipes are a mom’s best friend! Especially in the car when its really your only option for clean up. I always make sure we have a big pack of wipes with us. They are great for wiping up messes, wiping hands before and after snacks, and of course diaper changes. These are our favorites because we don’t have to worry about any crazy chemicals.
Easyon + off shoes :
I’m putting this under my category, but it 100% applies to the kids too. I don’t know about you, but I do not want to spend a long drive wearing uncomfortable shoes. As soon as we are in, shoes come off. I always try to have my people wear something they can easily get on and off so we aren’t waiting around to get them back on too. My favorites for travel are probably a good pair of slides or flip flops.
I hope these ideas help you feel less stressed and more prepared to take on your next family road trip adventure! And I wanna know, what is on your must have road trip essentials list for your crew?!