June 21st is the official first day of summer! That means, that the majority of families are going to kick-off their summer vacations in the next few months. These days, with the high cost and hassle of flying, lots of families are reverting back to the good ole’ traditional way of travel: driving. I have three little ones (3, 5, 7) myself and the thought of flying with them alone terrifies me. However, when it comes to travel this summer, I am excited for our plan to take a two week road trip out East to see family and friends in July. Our “family roadster”, the minivan, will be packed and loaded with lots of stuff for our trip, but there are 5 essentials I know I will definitely have with us.
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I know, this one seems obvious if you have a baby or child still in diapers. However, even those of us that have older kids find these to be the perfect companions for any trip. Baby wipes are perfect for messy hands, sandy legs, car spills and more! Plus, if you are like me, you know that trying to get something into the backseat for your kids to clean their hands while you are driving is basically impossible. That’s where each kid gets a packet of wipes within reach. If they drop it, I always have an extra within my reach that I can toss back at them. My favorite wipes are from Water Wipes. This brand really knows their stuff when it comes to making safe and effective wipes. They are soft, strong and gentle on your little one(s) skin.
Growing up, one of my fondest memories of driving long distances in the car is the snacks! Now, I remember high-sugar, high-fat items that mostly made me wired and sometimes led to my belly hurting. So, when it comes to my kids, I want to give them some healthier options. Personally, I like to choose things like freeze dried apples and granola bars. Before heading out on our trip, I will let my older two create their own trail mix using a variety of snack items including mini pretzels, goldfish crackers, raisins, mini marshmallows and breakfast cereal. In addition to dry, non-perishable snacks, I’ll also be bringing along drinks, fresh fruit and cheese snacks which I plan to keep within reach in a soft sided cooler bag.
I will be packing my reusable wetbags for things like wet clothing, swimsuits, etc. However, I’ll also be bringing a box each of disposable gallon and sandwich sized resealable bags. I prefer to reduce our waste as much as possible, but these really do come in handy when it comes to family roadtrips. They are perfect for those unexpected moments. Vomit in the car and no trashcan in sight? Clean it up with baby wipes and toss everything into one of the gallon bags and seal it off until you can throw it away. Need to divide up a special bag of snacks picked up at the gas station? The sandwich bags are perfect for holding treats! Like I said, I don’t plan to use these regularly on our trip, but they are definitely coming along for all those little “emergency” situations.
While I know that my kids will have their iPads and we’ll have the DVD player going during our trip, I’m also aware that the electronics time still needs to be limited during our driving time. This is where fun and engaging activity books come in. For my 3 year old, I love these Water Wow books by Melissa & Doug and the Imagine Ink activity books. For my bigger kids (5 and 7), I purchased travel bingo cards, Wikki Stix and reusable sticker books.
I know, this one is pretty obvious. However, gone are the days of piles of CDs. My absolute favorite way to play music in the car is using Amazon. If you have a Prime membership already, you have free access to millions of songs. Want more? Personally, I love being a member of the Amazon Unlimited Music. It’s only $7.99/month (for Prime members) and I can stream any song at anytime. It’s perfect for creating roadtrip playlists both for myself and the kids. If your car has bluetooth, you can just stream from your smartphone to your car stereo. Otherwise, you can use a standard headphone jack with a 3.5mm audio cable to connect your phone to play the music through your car speakers.
Going on a family road trip this summer? Comment below with what essentials you’ll be bringing along.