We have traveled with our children from day one. I’ve taken my first child on road trips to grandparent’s houses and airplane rides. When we had our 2nd child we were even nuts enough to take him camping at 7 weeks old and last year I did a solo trip with the boys 10 hrs to Michigan. I can easily say we are veterans at traveling with kids. There were a few key discoveries which made the trips tolerable…even fun!
First we discovered that with a little planning you don’t need to stop at fast food places to eat. You can eat healthy snacks and meals on the road by making your own beforehand. My favorite places to shop for healthy meal and snack choices are Whole Foods Market and Trader Joes. When we travel I bring a cooler filled with our favorite foods and lots of water (no juice boxes on our road trips). Here is a sample of what we have on hand.
· Fresh fruit placed in individual packs so they don’t have to share
· Yogurt Squeezes (freeze them first to keep them cold)
· Make your own sandwiches
· Dried fruit and yogurt raisins (make individual packs for each child)
· Protein bars – great meal alternative
· Happy Family Squeezables
When not eating on the road we need to keep them busy so they don’t kill one another or drive us crazy. Both of our boys have nooks which are filled with educational games and books so they can play and read. They also love to play cards so we take a deck of regular cards and UNO. Coloring books and crayons are a favorite for when we stop at a hotel or when we get to our destination. We also have each of the boys fill a backpack with toys that they want to take, so they are making their own choices so no one is mad later on. It would also be great if you surprised your little ones with a new toy (something $5 or under) or movie for the road…oh did I mention the DVD player? That was my lifesaver as we drove 10 hrs straight last summer. Without that I think I would have lost my mind.
Most of us have smart phones and you can download a playground app that tells you where the closest playgrounds near your location. So if everyone is getting tired of being on the road then find a playground and have a picnic. Your kids can run around and you can stretch your legs too.
The best advice I can give is when you are on your trip, throw expectations out the window. Things never happen the way you would like them to, even when you have the best laid plans. Take a few deep breathes before heading out on the road and remember you can handle anything!