I love to travel- and when I became a parent a part of me thought my traveling days were done. How do you pack for a baby? What if you forget something at home? Forget one baby, how on earth will I manage traveling with multiple babies?!?! Fast forward 7 years and 5 children later and happy to report that travel is a passion we have now been able to enjoy as a family. While we have not taken a flight longer than 4 hours with more than 2 kids, we have done the epic trek across the US to the wonderful state of Florida by car. Yup- 5 kids, in a minivan, cooped up for a really REALLY long time. It is as adventurous (and crazy) as it sounds.
Experience has shown me that with a happy attitude, some strategic planning and an ability to be flexible and roll with things as they come, road trips can be amazing and fun and great binding experiences. Here are some super easy ways to make your next road trip amazing.
1. Pack individual toiletries bags per family member
Florida is like 24 hours away by car without any stops- add we have done it in this time driving through the night with out kids if you can believe it! Not an easy feat, so especially where multiple family members are concerned, I find it easier to pack an individual toiletries bag per family member (as opposed to putting them all in a single big bag that mom takes care of). I take a large, clear resealable freezer bag, and each child gets their toothbrush, travel toothpaste, one pair of pj's, a face towel, and diapers for kids who need it. The bag gets labelled with their name and gets placed in the pocket of the seat in front of them. Anytime we go to a rest stop or hotel, the child is responsible for their own bag- and it's one less thing for mom to worry about (hopefully).
2. Pack individual activity bags per child
For the moments of "are we there yet?" and "mom, I'm bored" give your little people a sense of independence by encouraging them to look through their activity bag for their own treat. Favourite things to include are crayons, etch-a-sketch type drawing pads, and magnetic puzzles. For older kids, a scavenger hunt type book that they can fill in and record on their journey is a fun activity.
3. Give wrapped gifts every few hours
My girlfriend Erika Veh gave this idea to me and I think it is brilliant. Basically go to the dollar store and buy a bunch of novelty items- toys, small games, snacks, etc. and wrap a bunch of small items in gift wrap for each child. Every few hours (or every hour if you're desperate!) bring out the gift wrapped presents and watch your children get excited by the mystery and surprise that each gift brings! I'm wrapping up things like granola bars, novelty candy, small board books, craft kits, silly novelty sunglasses and the like. Basically it's just a way to keep things interesting and fun- who doesn't love a little wrapped gift.
4. Pack soap and a spray bottle and paper towel
Our first trip to Florida was last year and unfortunately, one of our little people got sick on the way down. He basically threw up into a small bucket in his lap and we would pull over and stop to dump it out when it happened. What I didn't account for was the smell that would linger in the bucket as a result of no soap. So trust me when I say, soap and water in a spray bottle will be your best friend in cleaning up messy spills are you travel.
5. Bring your favourite essential oils
I am not an expert in them, but essential oils are pretty awesome. When you are in a car feeling grimy and gross, without a shower for long periods or simply just need a pick me up, there is an essential oil for you. They come in small vials and I love using peppermint on my temples and back of my neck when I want to feel more alert, and lavender at night time to signal my body it is time to sleep. You can also use essential oils to help with stomach problems, headaches, cuts and rashes and as a perfume. I find that they instantly elevate my mood- and when you are enclosed in a small space for so long, this can be so helpful.
What tips do you have to make travel with your family easier? I would love to know in the comments below.
If you'd prefer to watch me talk about these tips on my new YouTube channel click below!
KEEP YOUR SANITY