Over the weekend our oldest son performed at the Indiana Percussion Association invitational in Pendleton, Indiana…about 2 and a half hours away from where we live. This may not seem like a very long distance to some but when you have 5 children with you it seems like FOREVER!!!! We could have gotten a sitter and just went ourselves but we’re always up for an adventure and I know the kids enjoy a chance to get away….especially if it means going out of town. So, if you’re like me, having as much as you can with you in the vehicle is extremely important. It means less stops and less whining….for the most part. Having kids you know they will still find something to whine about (The sun is too much hot….says my three year old). I try to come up with a checklist of what I think we will need…and then some. So, if you’re planning a trip that’s more than an hour away with your little ones here’s some things you will definitely want to pack.
SO the idea is to save some money by not having to stop by any gas stations or fast food restaurants along the way. It’s better on your pockets and better for their tummies. Try to pack things that are individually wrapped and as few crumbs as possible if you don’t want your van to look like the bottom of your toaster. Some good choices are granola bars, trail mix, nuts, seeds, easy to open fruit…I do NOT recommend oranges…small children usually can’t peel them by themselves and you will end up with one or more kids handing you their slobbered on oranges at the same time, demanding for you to peel them…while you’re driving…..because asking Dad who is doing nothing but starting out of the window makes no sense to them. Anyways….water! Also bring water for them to drink. Reusable water bottles are best because their less likely to lose the tops but bottled water is fine too. Some companies even make smaller bottles so they aren’t drinking too much at once which leads to the dreaded bathroom stops.
Coloring books and crayons or hardback picture books for the little ones and longer chapter books for older kids. Bigger kids enjoy drawing too, so sketchbooks, markers, colored pencils, etc. are a good idea.Also mom and dad, depending on how long the trip is, you may want to bring that book you’ve been trying to finish for months but can’t find the time to read. Audio books are good too.
This is a pretty broad area and will mean something different for each family. While I don’t generally let the kids have a lot of screen time on tablets and such….being “trapped” in the car with five little ones, complaining that they are bored makes me temporary change that rule for the road. I would choose to hear Minecraft and Geometry Dash music over whining ANY day. Travel games like magnetic chess and checkers are fun. Portable DVD Players (with headphones….lord Jesus, please don’t forget the headphones…I mean unless you want to hear talking vegetables the whole trip) are a good idea. I really hate that our van doesn’t have a DVD player like our old one did though. That was definitely a great feature.
FIRST AID KIT
If a child can get hurt, they will. And the way parenthood works is if you don’t have band-aids, nothing will happen but the one time you forget them all the kids will get some mysterious cut…at the same time
BAGS FOR TRASH
Unless you enjoy cleaning up mushed up bananas off the floor of your car
CHANGE OF CLOTHES
I maybe should have had this one higher on the list. It’s a definite must have, especially if your final destination happens to be somewhere you want your kids to look presentable. You won’t even understand how but they’ll spill everything….everywhere and if you don’t have extra clothes your friends might think you’re raising the Garbage Pail Kids
Kids complain for no reason blah blah blah. They’ll get cold. Even if it’s summer…and 90 degrees. Also, if you’re taking a longer trip it’s a good idea to have one for an impromptu picnic in the park along the way
I think that’s pretty self explanatory. Although I do recommend wipes over napkins if you have kids like mine that don’t like you using your saliva on a napkin to clean their faces.
A few extra tips
Always carry extra cash in case you decide to take tolls or come across some unfamiliar place that accepts cash only
Make sure jumper cables, flashlights, gas can,etc are in your vehicle prior to leaving.
If you have any additional tips for traveling with kids feel free to leave them in the comments.