Over the years we have taken many trips with Little Miss. Her first plane ride was at 3 weeks old and her first road trip was just a few months later. Being a military wife traveling is something we have to do to see family. Our closest family is a ten hour drive and my hometown is an 18 hour drive. This will be our first trip with both kids and although I'm a little nervous about it I feel like I have a grip on how to make the trip smooth. So, I thought I'd share the things I've learned with all of you.
1. Be open minded. Understand that kids are unpredictable. You will have to stop at places you hadn't planned and will have to stop more often than planned. Be open to changing your schedule.
2. Plan your trip around your children's sleep schedule. We have driven overnight as well as left in the middle of the night. Our goal is to let our kids sleep in the car as much as possible. This avoids stops and headaches. Just make sure the driver is well rested before getting behind the wheel.
3. Be prepared. Have diapers, wipes, and a change of clothes ready in the car. You never know when a blowout poop could occur and I like to have these things stocked in the car just in case. This is great for the off chance you forgot to put some in the diaper bag.
4. Bring entertainment. We always have a bag or basket of Little Miss' favorite toys and books in the car for her. This works as well for once we reach our destination in case that place does not have toys. If you have a DVD player in your car make sure you have kids movies. You could also invest in a portable DVD player.
5. Have meals in the car. I love this because it occupies your and child saves you money! We always have fruit snacks, cheese cubes, pretzels...you name it. Finger foods are awesome in the car. For meals I usually prepare a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. There is tray made by Eddie Bauer we got at Target that hooks right to the car seat. Such a lifesaver on roadtrips!
6. Have learning time. Bring flashcards or practice colors by pointing out things around you. Be creative and have fun but educational time with your child.
7. If you're driving through the night or at naptime have your child's favorite bedtime things available. Little Miss has a blanket and teddy bear she won't sleep without and she loves to snuggle them in the car.
8. Plan ahead. Look up places to stop on your drive. Find parks or large rest areas where you can let your child run around and get energy out. Also, it's nice to have one stop be at a restaurant your child likes. We always have dinner at Outback on our drive because we all love the food and it gives us a chance to relax before jumping back in the car.