Ultimate Guide // Road Trip with Kids

Florida Travel | Travel
September 13, 2020

We recently took a road trip with our four kids up to South Carolina for Labor Day weekend. We stayed at the gorgeous Montage Palmetto Bluff, which was about a six hour drive for us. Six hours, in the car with four kids, is not for the impatient, not for the squeamish, and not for the hurried. While I happen to be impatient and seemingly always hurried, you can imagine it was an adjustment.

Ever since we’ve had four kids, flying has just been easier for me. Quick and to the point. The faster we can get somewhere, the less time my kids have to whine or cry and the less time I have to hear them whine or cry. Mom logic.

When COVID hit, taking a road trip seemed more desirable than flying for the first time ever. Also, because of COVID, all our summer trips were super last minute. I’m talking, booked within a week of leaving. I actually booked a vacation on a Monday, cancelled on a Wednesday, and re-booked that Friday, two hours before leaving because I got a “get me outta here” feeling while listening to my kids fight for the 57th day in a row during quarantine. Vacay mode is a feeling I feel deep inside!

On another note, I’m not one to prepare weeks prior. I may not be patient, but I am organized and decisive. You don’t need to kill yourself over having 36 craft sets and road trip themed snacks ready for your kids. While my girls may semi-appreciate the extra large thought of time that took away from mama’s precious sleep, the boys could care less and nobody talks about that amazing themed snack they had in the car after spending a weekend at a beautiful, fun filled resort. Pick your battles, write something cutesy on a Rice Crispy Treat wrapper and call it a win…because it is.

  • Individual snack bags – This is number 1 for a reason and GENIUS for all moms. Plus…snacks on snacks on snacks! Label individual ZipLoc Gallon size bags (with the zippy closer thing, so your kids can easily close on their own) and pack with each kid’s favorite snacks. Best part? The bags are also used for their individual trash can. {Mind blown}
Individual snack bags double as personal trash collectors
  • A road trip isn’t time to be health food central station – Want your kids to try those freeze dried kale chips? Not the time! Fast Food is a saving grace and bribing tool on road trips. Use it. Pack their favorite snacks, small things of candy, and special treats you know they’ll love! I gave my kids little sticks of Fruit Stripe gum on our last trip and it was hit. They loved that it was gum “mommy and daddy used to chew” and the whole tongue tattoo thing I completely forgot about.
  • Stay hydrated! Everyone should have their own, easily accessible water bottle on road trips. These water bottles have blown my mind! They not only hold the ice for hours upon hours, but the price is right! They also come with 3 different top variations at no extra cost.
    Iron Flask
  • Entertainment and headphones – Nothing like having 4 ipads, a radio, and someone trying to tell you about their day all competing for your eardrum vibrations. If your kids have ipads or portable dvd players (old school, but still functional), you’re going to want them to have headphones. Make sure your headphone plugs match up to your device. Cute and inexpensive Bluetooth ear pods are my girl’s new favorite.
    Paw Patrol | Unicorns |Variety of colors |Ear Pods
  • Lap trays for coloring, play dough, reading, and yes, maybe for those craft kits you did 😉
    Ultimate kid’s travel lap tray| Lap Tray
  • Plan your stops out and have one every 2-3 hours – Whether it’s for food or just to run around the car a few times to get the wiggles out, plan out a few stops. During our 6 hour ride, we stopped half way through to get food, eat in the parking lot, and do a few rounds of jumping jacks. With small kids, it can be a headache and a huge mess if you let them eat by themselves in the back seat. Parking lot picnics saved the trip!
  • Bathroom – Have a Portable potty, plenty of diapers and wipes (that double as napkins), and if all else fails, young kids (especially boys) will pee in cups and be excited about it! Trust me when I say one of your young kids will need to use the bathroom 6.7 minutes after you left your last rest stop. Some people may think this is gross, but I’ll tell you whats gross…a nasty soiled car seat you have to smell for the rest of the trip.
    Travel Potty
  • Portable vacuum and air freshener – A clean car is a happy car and living in filth for 6 hours would be the death of my husband. Bonus: the kids love to help and use the vacuum during stops.
    Dust Buster
  • Portable Toys – keyword of this post…PORTABLE! Everything I want in my car during a road trip has to have it’s own carrier. Tip: Use shower caddies for organization help for lose items like crayons, monster trucks, LOL dolls, play-doh, etc.
    Lego Suitcase | Brik-Kase | Wikki Stix | Magnetic Games | Flip to Win
  • Shade – Make sure your kids have plenty of shade, especially babies, during car trips. This could make or break you during a road trip and last resort would be to take off your husband’s shirt and shut it inside the window for a quick fix.
    Window Shade
  • Neck pillows + Blankets – Disclaimer: Do not put a neck pillow on a infant or toddler in a car seat for obvious safety reasons. These neck pillows are for the kids in booster seats or no car seats at all…and for yourself, of course. We always take our own bed pillows on trips, as well.
    Leopard | Unicorn |Blue Dog |Travel Blanket Pouch
  • Prevent “Are We There Yet” (or at least try) – Literally the worst phrase when you’re on a road trip, especially if you just left your house 25 minutes ago and you have 5 hours and 35 minutes to go. This phrase is only acceptable less than 30 minutes away from your destination. Facts. Craft yourself up a timeline, or use post-its across your front visors to create your own timeline. You can do every 30 minutes or every hour. *Pinterest this idea!
  • Organize everything! If you make stops and go inside restaurants and/or stores, you may want to have a handy bag of “freshen up” tools. I always travel with a hair pouch and a pouch with items like hand sanitizer, body spray, chap stick, breath mints, etc.
    Travel pouches
  • Safety First! Make sure all car seats are properly installed and you are 100% prepared for an emergency. This Emergency Kit off Amazon is a must have for long road trips. Small first aid kits like THIS are also great to have in your car glove department at all times.
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