Whew! It has been quite the month of travel, you guys. Over the course of about 6 weeks, I’ve experienced 3 uniquely different types of travel… girls-trip, couples trip and family-vaca– each very essential for the soul in their own right.
I have SO much to share but have been so completely backlogged and am just coming up for air– you know, in peak holiday season! HA! I don’t know how full-time travel bloggers do it!
With holiday around the corner, and no doubt a lot family road trips and drive-time on the horizon, I thought I would start by sharing some of tips and tricks we utilize when traveling with our family on long car rides (which, with 2 kids in traveling sports– we do often!)
Choose the perfect family roadtrip vehicle
Our most recent family vacation to SoCal included a good amount of driving. Toyota provided our a Toyota 4-Runner for us– and let me just say that I was instantly smitten with its shiny, sexy, electric blue color and tan leather interior! Every SUV we’ve owned for the past 6 years? 8 years? has been white with black interior– boorrring! ha!
This is the second Toyota SUV we’ve test-drove (we drove the Highlander for our Boston road-trip). They both drove like a dream, had an easy to use navigation & entertainment system, were roomy and had great trunk space.
The Tip: When you are planning your family vehicle (whether for a vacation rental or to own), always take into consideration your family, PLUS 1. What’s roomy for a family of 4 is much different than what is roomy for a family of 5. And I know for us, there is always a plus 1 (especially with carpools). So you want to account for those times.
Semi-last minute, we ended up taking my sister with us, and although the split design of the 4-Runner’s back seat allowed us to pull up an extra 2 seats in the third row– it drastically affected that once roomy-looking trunk. Luckily we packed like ninja’s so it all worked out fine, but I would be lying if I said it wasn’t a bit tight. The Highlander is probably more ideal for our LARGE party, but had we have been a party of 4 or 5– the 4Runner would have felt incredibly spacious both for leg room and trunk space.
So… confession: when it comes to packing for myself for a trip without the kids, I am an absolute horror show. Totally indecisive, want to pack all the things, but ironically when we are packing for a family trip? My packing skills as I’ve mentioned above are NINJA LEVEL. (I’ve written a whole post about it here) I think this is partially due to the incredible anxiousness that takes over my brain when I think about traveling with the kids and it sends me into simplify-mode because I’m a firm believer in not letting the anxiety win–and carrying more things always = more anxiety. So I’ve learned to look at it as a bit of a challenge to SLAY!
- Look into renting bulky baby gear. If budget allows, look into rental options. We’ve done this before at a reasonable price and it was a true life saver.
- Mix, match and laundry. There is truly nothing I loathe more than laundry and I know some feel like “Why kill the vacation buzz with chores??” BUT in my experience, the less “STUFF” we are toting around, the clearer my head feels– and when we travel with the kids, laundry is my saving grace. Plan outfits that can be mixed and matched with each other. My general rule of thumb– 2 tops for every one bottom usually works out perfect.
- Give each child a small backpack or drawstring bag to fill (or for you to fill for them). Inside should fit 2-3 entertainment options and some mess-free grab and go snacks. Whatever fits, fits. That’s it.
Easy Mess Free Entertainment
Roadtrip Bingo and Ispy printables are easy to find online. iPads are a given for many. But beyond that, mess free creative activities that get their creativity and imagination flowing are the way to go. This trip, Bunchems was the big hit– with all three kids! Below are some of others that a great for mess free creative car activities.
Grab And Go Snacks
Whether you prepackage veggies, fruits, etc. in fun plastic baggies or buy your snacks prepackaged, it goes without saying that snacks are oh so very necessary for long car rides. Be sure to have your kids favorites on hand– and maybe even keep a secret treat (ring pops?) in your bag– juusssst in case you need a distratction 😉
Make essentials easy to access
Kids know no boundaries when it comes to shouting out requests from the back seat– tissues, snacks, crayons– “Go-go-Gadget Mom arms!”
Invest in a great car organizers that will allow kids to set up in the car with everything in arms reach– THEIR arms, not yours! Just a few of my faves are below.The one with an insulated cooler?? GENIUS!!
Garbage “can” for each row
When traveling in the car with kids it never fails, they will always end up with garbage and if its not easy to access, you will likely find stickiness and other gunk in your cup holders.
Put a small garbage container in each row. Below are some of my favorite options for this.
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