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Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Black loop
Today we are sharing our must haves when we are traveling with little ones.
Call us crazy, but we like to make our kids travelers at young ages. At just 2 months old, the Goof took a 7 state road trip. The twinstook their first road trip to California and Vegas at three months old. Start them young, that is our philosophy. At just 5 years old, the Goof is a road trip pro, and not to toot my own horn, but I feel that we have learned a lot about road tripping with littles ourselves, and especially about products to make those trips a little easier. I mean, let’s face it, it is not easy to pack up a baby, toddler or preschooler and spend several hours in a car. But it is worth it. And if you can make it a little easier on yourself, then it will be even better.
I was at a loss for traveling with the twins for one reason, bottles. See, I breastfed the Goof when we took him on his first road trip. The twins are bottle fed. Not only that, we have survived on 5 bottles. Not kidding. We just quickly wash bottles after each feeding. I only had 5, thinking I would be breastfeeding, and we just never bought more. We survived so long we figured, why buy more until they need bigger ones? So how were we going to work that during a 16 hour drive, and then at Disneyland? Thankfully, I remembered that when the Goof was older, he started taking bottles and we had taken him to Disney during that time. Our solution Playtex Drop In Bottles. Seriously, in a pinch we could rinse the nipples with hot water, and at night we washed them at the hotels. The liners could be tossed so we didn’t have to worry about washing a bottle after each feeding. We picked a few up for the twins this road trip and they were a life saver!
Speaking of bottle both our babies are on special formula (2 different ones at that), that is also fortified (so not mixed with the conventional measurements). Because of this, we are not able to buy those nice little 2 oz packets, etc. Formula dispensers were key to being able to make bottles on the go. All the dispensers are pretty much the same thing, 3 compartments that you measure the formula into and then you can empty one compartment when you need it. each compartment can hold enough for 6-8 oz (depending on brand). We like the munchkin brand because they are cheaper but still great quality.
I don’t think we would have survived this road trip without babywearing. We brought two carriers so that we could each wear a baby. It made it easy to take the babies on rides, to get around the strip when we went to Vegas, and also was great for going into restaurants. We love the Ergo and I adore my Maya Wrap Ringsling. Both have proper support for babies and the parent.
You know what really drives parents nuts on a road trip, fussy toddlers and preschoolers. Entertainment is key for surviving a long drive with young ones. There are all different ways to take care of entertainment of the slightly older kiddos in the car but one of my favorites is to have new books or coloring books. I even found an activity book that already contains a bunch of road trip games. There is also the old school favorite- MAD libs. You could even make up your own mad libs before the trip and do them. That way you can make them appropriate for your child’s age/education level.
If you have enough children that you have two rows of seating, it makes it hard to reach the children in the very back. Especially if they want some water, snacks, or activities. Organizers to the rescue. Our favorite one we have found is this insulated car organizer. We are able to put a small ice pack in it, water, and maybe a few string cheese or something for the Goof and you can either put it on the seat in front of them, or next to them depending on what is easier for them to reach while staying bucked in their seats.
Ziploc bags are a must when traveling with little ones. You can store extra outfits in them, and then if you need to, change the outfits and put the soiled outfits back in the bag. They are great for organizing outfits together so you can grab a full outfit quickly on the go. They hold snacks, they can be portable trash bags, and so much more. We absolutely love ziploc bags (and you can find 10 reasons we think you should take them on vacation HERE)
Something to measure the time/length of the road trip. “Are we there yet?” “We’ll get there when we get there!” (Bonus points if you got the Disney movie reference) Seriously, we all know that road trips are long, and to littles they seem like an eternity. A few years ago I saw this awesome idea on pinterest. I have done some googling (the internet kind, not the I got a crush on you kind) and think this is the blog that it originated from- DIY Home Sweet Home– but this has been a LIFE SAVER! We put a ribbon across the car and make a paper car that we put on it. Then we mark the ribbon and at different stops, we move the car to show how close we are to our destination. If our destination is Disneyland, we even put a castle or Mickey head at the end that the car reaches. It seriously cut the “are we there yet” count by 50%
Now, sometimes when you are traveling with littles, you can get a little desperate. For us that is about hour 13 on a 15 hour road trip. You have tried all the games, activities, napping, singing, you can handle. This is when I think you can pull out some electronics.
Going old school here but Portable DVD players are still a favorite of ours. They do not take any wifi or data, one movie lasts 1-2 hours (usually works out so we start it at rest stop, it is over by the next one) and you can even get dual screen ones, or use headphone splitters so more than one child can watch at time. And if you are no longer buying DVD/Blu-Ray combo packs, and just buy blu-rays, they do actually make Portable Blu-Ray Players, I am just too
cheap thrifty to buy one.
So, okay, maybe the DVD player is not working, or you have too many kids and one just does not want to watch Big Hero 6 AGAIN!!! Now go ahead and bust out the ipad or other tablet. But the item to make the trip easier isn’t just the tablet/ipad. Be sure to have a lot of fun/educational apps, books, etc that DO NOT require data or wifi be on while using. My 5 year old can now explain how wifi works versus how antennas and radios work because we had a 45 minute discussion as to why he could not use his Watch Disney Junior app in the car, but we could listen to the radio. Yay for a great teaching moment, and thankfully it happened on a shorter trip, but who wants to be having that discussion with a cranky preschooler in the middle of nowhere after 12 hours in the car. (Anyone? Bueller?)
If all else fails, earplugs will make the trip much easier on you. Kidding, but seriously, sometimes they are good. Not necessarily for you, but for the kids. We drive overnight and so we are listening to music, singing along, laughing, an talking. Earplugs, or noise canceling headphones can help drown out that noise and let your children sleep, which is when it is easiest to travel with them.
check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!
Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail Black | Must Haves for Traveling with Little Ones Loop:
- 1sr Stop – Disney Mamas | What to Bring and What to Leave at Home
- 2nd Stop – Mousekatools | Packing a Diaper Bag for the Parks
- 3rd Stop – Capturing Magical Memories | Deciding to Bring or Rent a Stroller
- 4th Stop – What’s The Point | Using a Grocery Delivery Service
- 5th Stop – Love Our Crazy Life | 10 Items to Make Road Trips with Littles Easier
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