A few weeks ago, we took our kids on their first “long” road trip to Port Aransas, Texas. The car ride is about six and a half hours without stopping. With kids ages 1 and 3, it took about 8 hours. We learned a few things along the way and hope they help with your family travels!
Loads of Patience– I really wanted our family vacation to only be filled with fun and adventure. But then, reality. Leaving for our first ever 8-hour road trip, my friend gave me the best travel-with-kids-advice ever: “Your kids are going to be bored on the drive. Expect it, enjoy the time together no matter what, and pack snacks.” Which leads me to my next point…
Food- Pack lots, pack a variety, and pack choices that are easy to eat. If you need a fork, spoon, or possibly the Heimlich maneuver, save it for when you reach your destination. An assortment of granola bars, pre-portioned snacks in individual baggies, and applesauce pouches were a hit with my girls. Don’t forget to also pack a drink! We love Munchkin Miracle 360 cups because they don’t spill. Seriously, they don’t! We also packed our lunch to save a little cash on our drive!
Playgrounds- Our plan going into our trip was to take a route that allowed a nice drive, and could be flexible. About 3 hours into our trip, the kids were RESTLESS. Yelp! App to the rescue! In most Texas towns, you will find a city park. I just typed “Park” into my app and it pulled up parks close to us along with ratings! (Obviously, be aware of your surroundings and judge the park safety accordingly.)
Old School Entertainment- Before we left on the trip, the girls and I took a day to visit Target and our local public library (shout out to Watauga Public Library!). At Target, we ran into our neighbor who recommended Crayola Stow and Go No Mess Coloring. No mess markers that only draw on the Crayola paper? Yes please! After leaving Target, we went to the public library and checked out CDs and a few new books to take along. The Laurie Berkner Band and VeggieTales Hosanna were the top music choices. Also, don’t forget your Amazon Prime membership includes Amazon Music. The Trolls Soundtrack is super fun and provided hours of car seat dancing fun!
Travel Potty- Picture this: It’s 9:30pm, driving down a back road in Texas, and your toddler says “I have to go potty.” Yep! That is exactly what happened. We were not close to a Dairy Queen, and side of the road at night was not an option (snakes anyone!?) We pulled over, grabbed our trusty 2 in 1 Potette Plus Travel potty. It comes with a handy travel bag with potty bags ready to go. We were back on the road in minutes! This potty also saved us in the one-hour wait for the ferry in Port Aransas. Lifesaver!
Digital Entertainment- We love a good app, movie, and show, but we saved our digital entertainment for the last possible moments in the car. Remember that time we waited for an hour for the ferry after almost 8 hours on the road? Yep, that is when the iPad (check out our kid proof iPad Snugg Case here), iPhone and apps came out! A few of our favorites are StarFall and PBS Kids Apps (free). StarFall has a fee, BUT is available for kids to use on multiple interfaces (phone/iPad/computer), is a 501(c)(3) tax write off, AND is AMAZING for primary literacy in math and language. I loved it as a teacher, and still love it as a mom.
Do you have any helpful tips and tricks? We’d love to hear them!
Your Out and About Friend,