My husband and our two toddlers and I are taking an 8-hour road trip to visit my family in Texas for Christmas. As the months fly by and December quickly approaches, I have started to visualize all that will go into this trip we have planned. The most taxing part is the actual road trip itself. I know that once we get to Texas, we will be staying with my grandparents who have plenty of room and all of the items we will need while at their home for a week.
The car ride is another story.
I must admit, my boys do pretty well in the car, but 8 hours is very different than a 20-minute ride home from the grocery store. Here are my necessities for a smooth road trip with my babies!
This will be the first trip we take with our potty-trained 3-year-old. First of all, we need to plan a route that has plenty of restroom stops. The only problem is, there aren’t many main highways that will take us from where we live in Arkansas to my hometown of College Station, Texas. For this reason, I will be bringing KJ’s potty with us in the car. This way, if we need to stop on the side of the road for him to use the restroom, he can at least have one to sit on. Yes he’s a boy and we don’t HAVE to have the potty for #1, but what about #2? Which is why I’m bringing the potty. ;) Also, I will bring a jug of water and disinfectant to clean out the potty if he does in fact use it. For the public restroom stops, you HAVE to get one of these potty toppers. Those yucky potties won’t stress you out anymore if you have these!
I also downloaded their favorite Disney movies onto our two iPads so that they can spend some time with their favorite characters in the car. KJ picked Monsters University and Cars, and Bentley pointed out Peter Pan and Finding Nemo. I don’t want them to spend a ton of time watching movies on their iPads, but hey, when nothing else is working, this can help to put them to sleep.
We sing songs. My boys LOOOVE to sing. They get that from me and from my husband. We are both singers, so it’s no surprise that our boys seem to have a passion for music. Singing their favorite songs helps to pass the time and gives them something fun to do. You could also invest in a CD that has nursery songs on it, or even books on disc and you can simply turn around to show them the pages as the disc plays.
I pack a lot of baby wipes just in case. You never know if your child is going to get their snacks all over the place or even if they are going to get carsick, so I would bring an entire thing of baby wipes. Better to be safe than sorry.
Speaking of snacks: I am going to pack peeled and sliced apples, as I know my boys love fruit. I want to pick foods that are healthy for them but that won’t get everywhere, so I will also include turkey rolls (simply rolled up turkey slices from the deli), softened carrots via boiling and then refrigerated, fresh broccoli (my boys both love fresh broccoli)…and you can’t go wrong with some Goldfish!
If your baby is too young for solid foods but is eating baby food, I would invest in a reusable baby food pouch. I found one through Instagram but I’m sure you could Google them and find one. Bring a few different ones and put your baby food in accordingly. For this one I would sit in the back next to your baby to feed him/her by squeezing the pouch. Otherwise, you risk them squeezing it all over themselves…which is when the baby wipes would come in handy.
Also, if you are bottle feeding or breastfeeding, your baby you will need to pull over after you’ve given the baby a bottle or to breastfeed but don’t forget to burp your baby afterward! Gas in their little bellies is the worst, and because the infant seat is inclined backwards it will be very hard for them to burp on their own, which could cause a lot of fussiness. Of course, you can’t have snacks without drinks, so pack some water and juice in spill-proof sippy cups.
The last thing you want is for your baby to be uncomfortable. Be sure to check their temperature throughout the ride to make sure they aren’t too cold or hot in their carseat. And I wouldn’t recommend dressing them in jeans or anything too thick or restricting. A soft pair of sweatpants and a little t-shirt is best. If your little one gets cold, you can always cover them with a blanket, but it’s harder to cool them off if they have on too many layers. And because they won’t be moving much, I would definitely suggest socks.
A great idea for your toddler would be to buy some of those clear markers that can only color on the magic paper. I got a pack of them for my boys. This way your toddler can color, but if he drops the marker on the floor, it won’t leave a mark. I absolutely love these for road trips. And baby books are the best for infants to keep them occupied for a while. We loved giving Bentley his soft Disney Baby book that made noise and had different parts he could chew on if he was teething.
If you KNOW your baby isn’t going to do well in the car for a long period of time, then I highly recommend you drive through the night. If you are potty training your child and you leave at night, I would put a diaper on your kiddo just in case. Especially since you won’t be able to wash the carseat until you arrive at your final destination. If your kids are like mine and do great in the daytime, then I would still try to leave before they get their first nap for the day. That way you will at least get a nap in for them while you are driving and that gives you two less hours to worry about keeping them entertained.
And if you have a teething baby, be sure to pack those teething tablets and a few previously-frozen teething rings. If your baby gets fussy and nothing seems to work, don’t get discouraged. Find a rest stop, a store, or a gas station to pull over in and let him/her stretch her legs a little. Those are all of my mommy necessities to help us have a great road trip. I would definitely suggest getting everything together at least a week beforehand, so you aren’t stressed at the last minute.