Making A Road Trip Easier with Kids

Hey friends! It's been a minute since I've been able to sit down to write. Things have been crazy over here. If you don't know, I set aside Wednesday mornings to work. I have about 4 hours to get everything on my list done at a local Panera. I'm so grateful for that time, but don't have much time other than that to work on the blog! It's just the season I'm in....both kids are a full time job (duh!?) and by the time they go to bed I'm EXHAUSTED. I got sick twice in the last month, we were out of town, and this morning I sat in my car for 2 hours waiting for roadside assistance because I ran out of gas in my van. Who does that at age 28 by the way? It's shameful. Thankfully a police officer saw me and rescued me, oh my goodness. Anyway, all that to say - my typical Wednesdays have been spent sleeping off sickness or sitting on the side of the road. Side eyes on that one....

When we went out of town a couple weeks ago, we drove to Houston to see my sister and brother in law for the weekend. It was definitely harder to travel with two kids but in all honesty, the drives were fine - the biggest hiccup we encountered was with Reaghan being outside of her routine. She's SUCH a creature of her routine, so sharing a room with all of us wasn't really her cup of tea....even though it did mean I got to snuggle with her all night ;) 

Making A Road Trip Easier with Kids

There were a few things that we did that I think made the drive much smoother for us. We're blessed that Everett does fine in his carseat, but sweet Rae was asking to get out of the car when we were only an hour in...yikes. Good thing we had lots of snacks and activities for her. So, if you're planning a long car trip any time soon, I thought I'd share how we kept ourselves sane and also some healthy snack ideas to curb the junk food binge that usually comes with road trips!

1. Stock your car with all the essentials

Extra wipes, diapers, change of clothes. I have a whole post on creating an emergency car kit for kids here. Just make sure that this is stocked and ready to go. 

2. Non-messy snacks

The last thing I wanted to do was see lots of crumbs all over Reaghan's carseat or have something spill all over her clothes. Not a huge deal if it happens but better if it doesn't. For example, we peeled our hard boiled eggs before we left, so we didn't have to deal with the mess of shells. We also kept all the snacks in a plastic bin for easily sliding in between the kids seats and to keep it all contained. Here's a list of the snacks we packed:

  • Cut up celery and peanut butter in a small container
  • Pre-peeled hard boiled eggs
  • Trail mix
  • Mini scones
  • Energy bites
  • Other ideas: frozen grapes, applesauce pouches, apples, plantain chips, lara bars 
Making A Road Trip Easier with Kids
Making A Road Trip Easier with Kids

3. Secret activity bag

Stock up at the Dollar Tree or the Target $1 Spot on fun and easy car activities. Our Target was filled with amazing stuff so I kind of went a little crazy. All their Finding Dory and back to school stuff was out! We grabbed a Frozen Imagine Ink coloring book (huge hit, STILL playing with it 2+ weeks later), some Frozen matching cards, a ton of Grab & Go packs, a book of stickers, and snap numbers (another huge hit that we still play with!). I made sure to keep this bag out of Reaghan's sight and in the front seat. If she would start fussing/acting bored/done with one activity, I would pull out another one for her. We had a few of the Grab & Go Play Packs (a small coloring book with three crayons and stickers) left over after the trip which was perfect! I stuffed them into our car organizer and we will have them for another time. 

Another tip for activities is to bring a tray and some paper, stickers and crayons. This way the "mess" is contained and they have a flat surface to work on. Rae loved using her tray in the car. This is the one we use daily at home and love. 

Making A Road Trip Easier with Kids
Making A Road Trip Easier with Kids

4. Healthy snacks for the drive back

I'm so thankful I thought of this, because we definitely needed it. Since we munched on most of our remaining snacks (the energy bites and scones went a long way) throughout the weekend, I went ahead and got some pouches and granola bars from Happy Baby. All organic and no added sugar. I even thought the granola bars were super yummy :) 

Making A Road Trip Easier with Kids

5. Empty grocery bags for trash

I've never thought of this before but it occurred to me right before our trip how annoying it is to have random trash in piles on the floor. I tied a bag to our cup holder and our car stayed clean, which made for a happy mama.

I know this will change as our kids get older, but a little planning ahead made for a much more enjoyable weekend-vacation for us! 

Do you have any other tips or tricks you'd add to this list?