“Are we there yet?!?!” We’ve all said it, but I don’t remember learning to so it must just be instinctive. That doesn’t make it any less annoying, though, when you hear it as a parent. I’m already dreading Graham’s version of it for our upcoming trip to Arkansas and he can’t even talk yet! So what can we do to head it off at the pass? Plan ahead! I’ve got some long road trip to do items for you.
1. Pack each kid a basket-o-fun. New toys from the dollar store, some crayons and a coloring book, and maybe a sweet treat or two are good places to start. For older kids, you can give them some cash to build their own basket, which will get them excited about the trip. The key is not letting them use their treats until they’re in the car. It also might not be the worst idea in the world to bring along the iPad as an emergency backup. Pre-load it with some of your kids’ favorite shows and grab a mount for your headrest, and voila! You’ve got yourself at least 15 minutes of quiet.
2. Plan your stops so they can stretch and run around. Whether it’s a rest area with picnic tables or a state park or a tacky tourist attraction, you’ll be just as thankful for the break from the road.
3. Time your trip realistically. If your GPS says it takes 10 hours to get there, plan on 12 so you don’t feel rushed.
4. Pack a roadside emergency bag that’s separate from your luggage so you can easily grab it. Include the following:
- Change of clothes for each person (including adults)
- Baby wipes (even if your kids aren’t in diapers)
- Pain medication (for kids and adults)
- Band aids
- Bottle of water (with straw if you’ve got really young kids)
5. Pack your car well. If you’re packing snacks and drinks, don’t put them at the back of the trunk under a stroller. Look at loading the car as a giant logic puzzle: everything should make sense.
If you’re looking for a (FREE!) printable packing list, I’ve got you covered! Check it out here!
I’ve also got some great tips for traveling with a baby!
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