Recently, our family of five went on a road trip from Houston to Seattle. We were in Texas for a family reunion and decided last minute to buy a car and drive back home. Seeing as we had three young children (3, 1 and 2 months; all in diapers) and no vehicle (we’d been borrowing my parent’s car), this was actually a pretty good idea. We had flown to Texas and I didn’t like it at all. So, after the fun of buying the car, now we had to figure out the logistics of transporting our family cross-country with no preparation.
First was packing our small duffel bag with all the clothing essentials for the trip. This would let us bury the bulky suitcases and not have to move them. Next up was a grocery trip. Here, we bought drinks, snacks and sandwich fixings for the journey. The grandparents donated an ice chest, so that was taken care of. All that was left was packing everything up and heading out. We learned a few things and wanted to share them with you!
1. Buy groceries for the trip
We only planned for one meal a day to be eaten out. This saved us lots of money on food in the long run. Plus, since we had bought plenty of fresh fruit, cheese, meat and crackers, there was plenty to give the girls whenever they were hungry, instead of making them wait for meal time or having to buy expensive, crappy junk food from the gas station we were at.
2. Pack necessities in an easy to reach bag
The last thing you want to do when you stop (especially when it’s cold) is to be digging through tons of stuff to find what you need. Pack everything you need in a smaller bag, you’ll be glad you did!
3. Pack lots of extra clothes
There would be times when the children would sleep, so we’d keep driving and driving to stop and find out that the kids had leaked their diapers. We used all the clothes we packed and could have used even more! Next time, we’ll make sure the children’s suitcase is the easiest to access!
4. Kids don’t need as much entertainment as you would think
Our two oldest barely played with anything on the trip. Neither did they have movies to watch. They both had a bag full of their new Christmas toys to play with, plus coloring supplies and books. Instead, they mostly slept or played with their clothes, legs or shoes.
5. Make sure you take a long rest stop a couple times a day
A lot of the stops were just filling up with gas, changing diapers and handing out food. However, we made a point to have a few rest stops a day where we let the kids really run around and burn off energy. This helped keep the whining at bay when in the car and kept up mama’s spirits too!
Our family had a blast road tripping across the US and hope to definitely do it again in the future. (I’m rooting for this winter, when HoneyBear has three to four weeks off at a time…fingers crossed!) The kids were easy, the miles flew by and we had lots of fun!
Would you want to travel with your young kids?