Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Road Trip Tips and Tricks

Our family is no expert on road trips - but we have taken a couple long ones and today I'm going to share a few tips and tricks that we've learned along the way.  We've driven to and from  Vail, Colorado twice (15 or so hrs each way) and the first time the kids were 2, 4 and 7 and last year they were 4, 6 and 9.

My first tip is this... Whatever it takes.

Literally... whatever it takes is what we do :)  It's kind of our road trip motto.

Crawling into the backseat to hold hands with Griffin... whatever it takes.

Pulling over in the middle of nowhere just so that everyone can get up and JUMP (yes, we took a dance break blasting music on the side of the road and "danced our grumpies out)...  whatever it takes.

Keeping the snacks flowing, blasting crazy kid music, switching seats at every stop.... whatever it takes, friends.  Make it work :)

My next tip is to Plug In!  We allow WAY more iPad time than normal because you're stuck in a car for hours on end and we figure that they won't have much (if any) time when we get there so why not.  It's pretty much survival mode up in here.  (I don't have a super recent post on apps that my kids love - but I wrote one  HERE that you can check out.  We do the "family sharing" thing with our iPads and I have it set that they can download games for 7 and under and I have to approve them on my phone... I may have to do a post on that later this summer!)

Along with iPads we also bring a TON of movies and this year I've wised up and I ordered  this little case that holds a TON of DVDs without all the cases.  WIN!

My next tip is to GET COMFORTABLE.  The first year we drove to Colorado Mason and Griffin were both still in 5-point harnesses and we didn't really have to deal with pillows.  Last year Mason was in a backless booster, and Griffin was in  this booster seat and we quickly realized that it wasn't working out for the long ride.  Almost immediately after getting home we put Mason back into a booster with a back (the same one as Griffin) and this year I ordered all three kids  these pillows so we can avoid the bulk and improper positioning that regular pillows caused.  We do let them each take their Saranoni blankets because they're the best and we all have to have them to sleep :)

This is Mason demonstrating the pillow :) 

The green side is fleece and gets really warm and the blue side is a cooling material.  I feel like it looks SUPER weird, but my kids are loving them so I may have to try one out for myself!

Next up is KEEP THE SNACKS COMING!  I feel like my kids snack ALL THE TIME when we're at home - so when we're stuck in the car, snacking becomes activity of choice #1 :) 

Here are some examples of things that we take and I use these containers because they're amazing and stackable and I can fit all of that into one little bin...

Mom Hack - if you're unfamiliar with white cheddar cheetos... they're the best thing EVER.  One - because they're delicious and two - because they don't leave that bright orange powder all over your kids fingers (and everything else!)

This year we're upping our snacking game because we're planning on bringing  this cooler so we can bring drinks as well as string cheese, some fruit, etc. 

A few other little tips are what's in this bin.... 

Those blue things on the left are plastic plates which makes eating in the car with kids SO MUCH EASIER.  There are also bowls, baby wipes, sanitizing wipes, paper towels, sunscreen and dreft stain remover (because I LOVE me some Dreft stain remover!)

When it comes to toys/books/etc. my tip is to KEEP IT SIMPLE!

For games and activities we keep it pretty limited.  Last year I let the kids pack their own backpacks and honestly we ended up with a bunch of stuff that they didn't need in the car... like 12 beanie boos and a light saber.

This year my plan is a little bit different... I ordered  these back-of-the-seat organizers and my plan is to fill them with a few things I know that the'll play with as well as a few new things I've picked up.

I have sudoku books for the kids... the ones on the outside are designed for kids and they're more at Mason's level and the one in the middle is a regular-level book for Luke.

Left /  MiddleRight

I also have  Mad-Libs for Luke's stash and I think he'll have a great time taking the lead on those - asking for words, filling them in and then reading them aloud.  We always did Mad-Libs on road trips growing up and I loved them!

I got each of the kids one of these  "paint by sticker" books and I am SO flipping excited!  Each page has a blank numbered picture and then you use the page with the numbered stickers and it creates a picture.  They're awesome!  

Aren't they so cute?!?!  I think that they'll be perfect for the car and I'm hopeful that they'll be at Griffin's level as well.

I also picked up  Rubber Neckers and this  Scavenger Hunt For Kids card games...

... and Rubber Neckers looks like SO MUCH FUN!!!  I have to read through all the rules and directions (actually - I'll let Luke read through it and explain it to the rest of us - ha!) but when I flipped through it I know that they'll get a huge kick out of it...

... especially the cards that involve other cars.  SO FUN!

The Scavenger Hunt for Kids game is a little bit more basic and probably more age appropriate for Griffin.  My plan is to punch holes in them and put them on a ring and then move them from the ring to the box once we spot the items.

Griffin is ALL ABOUT dolls and animals and imaginative play and I'm so excited for her to get her  first Maileg Mouse.  I've seen these at several boutiques and the quality is spot on and I love how it's a whole little play set in a box.  

Another tip is to stay healthy (which sounds cliche, but it's true!)  Griffin gets SUPER motion sick and we've found that the best thing for her are  sea bands.  They're these little cotton bands with a bead on them that sits on a pressure point on the wrist and helps with nausea.  The trick for her has been to put them on her before we get going.  

We also drink a TON of water.... a lot in part because we're heading to Colorado and so it helps with altitude sickness.  Our favorite water bottles are  THESE and I got the kids each  these handles which makes them easy to carry around.  These will be their water bottles for school this coming year as well.

Also - I had  my friend Amanda make name decals to put on them in the hopes that they can keep track of them all year.  I couldn't get their full names in the picture but you get the idea :)

Last but not least... something I'm REALLY excited about this year is my new  Kindle PaperwhiteShay - you totally sold me on it!!!

I've got it loaded with a few books and I'm really looking forward to having access to everything I want to read without having the bulk of all the books I typically bring in the car.

Look how teeny!



  1. Such wonderful tips! Love the games and books. Happy road tripping!

  2. Someone just recommended those water bottles and I ordered them for my kiddos. Looks like you’re set for your trip!

  3. Fun ideas!!!! I need to road trip with you!!! Looks like a blast!!!

  4. Such great tips, thank you!!

  5. Great tips. The Kindle Paperwhite is one of my favorite things!

  6. I need to try the kindle paperweight because books get heavy! I agree on all of these much screen time as you want is pretty enticing for my kids ;) xoxo ERIN

  7. What?! No more sippy cups? :)

  8. Love all of these ideas! Can you link the food storage containers and the bin?

  9. Love this! Do you find that you get motion sickness while reading in the car?

  10. I love this post! Thank you for always keeping it real!
    The ipad and movies are a great way to let everyone have some individual time and not be sick of each other by the time you get there.

  11. Thank you for the fantastic ideas!! My boys are only 2.5 yrs and 4.5 mos, but I added several of your items to their Amazon Wish Lists for the future! I love your candidness and appreciate your variety of topics. Your blog is one of my daily FAVORITES! :D

  12. Such great tips! I get the best ideas from you--thanks so much for taking the time to share! Truth--I want some of it for myself--hahaha!

  13. Just ordered the pillows and sticker books for our trip to Colorado next week! Thanks so much!

  14. Just ordered the pillows and sticker books for our trip to Colorado next week! Thank you so much!

  15. Just added 2 Paint By Sticker to my Amazon cart! I'm going to keep these hidden until our vacation in August!

  16. Rubberneckers is the greatest game!!! My husband had it growing up and we bought it for our first vacation after we got married! It’s fun for all ages!

  17. Andrea, Rubberneckers is so much fun even for the adults!! I love that game!!

  18. My husband fractured his back right before Memorial Day and had surgery. The kids picked out one of those Paint by Sticker books for him and he has been working on pictures all week. Keeps his mind busy when he can't really do anything except sit around the house right now and rest :)

  19. Those sticker books are great! I bought them for my grandchildren last summer and some of those stickers are tiny, GG might need some help, but they loved doing them. Looking forward to reading all about your trip;).

  20. Oh my gosh, I'm just now seeing this! The cups look so cute! And Matthew and I both get crazy carsick unless we load up on Dramamine so most of our car games are cut short pretty quick. haha. I used to have those seabands when I was pregnant!! They didn't help that much with that situation but I bet they work in the car! I need to dig them out.
    That Inspired Chick

  21. Do the water bottles fit in the cup holders in the car.

  22. Could you please give an update on how all of these things worked out after your road trip? We have some upcoming trips with our kids (age 6 and almost 4) and would love to know which products worked out best or if there is anything you would change. Thanks.

  23. What size hydroflask cups did you get the kids? And, like mentioned above, do they fit in car seat cup holders??


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