“If you wish to travel far and fast, travel light.” – Cesare Pavese
Well, the person who said that probably didn’t travel on a road trip with kids, that too in summer! Toddlers and preschoolers can be enthusiastic but temperamental travelers, and road trips can bring out the worst in them! Travelling by road can feel monotonous to a preschooler (Are we there yet?) and the unfamiliar journey may unsettle a toddler (I wanna go home!).
So does that mean that you don’t travel for the next 15 years? No way!! There are many benefits for kids when they travel, even the little ones. Their minds are like sponges and they can absorb a lot during the course of their journey. Provided of course, that Mommy and Daddy are well prepared! Here’s a list of 15 must haves for a summer road trip with kids.
15 Must Haves for a Summer Road Trip with Kids
1. Travel Potty
Yes, this is at the top of the list because of its importance!! We know you’ll agree because kids have tiny bladders and you never know when the ‘urge’ will hit! You often get foldable travel potties which come in very handy at your destination at well.
2. Wet Wipes
Once you have the potty, it naturally follows that you need wipes as well! Keep a good quantity of wipes since you’ll need them for more than potty purposes. Some anti bacterial ones will also help.
3. Extra change of clothes
In case of an accident (of the potty kind or otherwise), it’s always better to have a set of clothes in a handy place so that you don’t have to pull out all your luggage from the trunk. Don’t forget extra underwear!
Just like they have tiny bladders, our little munchkins also have tiny tummies; this means they need to be refueled time to time. Keep an assortment of dry, non-drippy snacks like fruit or biscuits along with juice boxes. Have some candy too, to appease their sweet tooth!
5. Trash Bags
Now that they’ve eaten, where do you throw all the empty packs? Obviously, you don’t want to fling them out the window, so keep trash bags handy. They’re also useful for soiled clothes and diapers.
6. First Aid Kit
Kids will be kids and you can never tell what they’re doing in the back seat! They could manage to cut themselves or get motion sickness, so a first aid kit is absolutely essential. Keep your child’s regular meds for vomiting, tummy ache, fever, cough and allergies along with band aids.
7. Sun shade
It’s summer, and if you’re driving during the day, you’re bound to get some sun in the car. While it’s a good source of Vitamin D, the summer sun can be harsh, so get some removable shades for the windows, so that the kids can take it off when it’s cooler.
Large towels can be used for many purposes – folded into a pillow, cover for the seat, blanket or even a tent! Besides this, keep a couple of small towels for drying hands or faces.
Whatever your stand on kids using electronics may be, it’s a good idea to relax your rules for a road trip! Take along a tab that’s preloaded with toddler games. Have a mix of fun games and educational ones, so that kids don’t get bored.
Your child is bound to have some favorite tunes, so prepare a DVD of the same and let him have a party in the car! You could also take along audio books of his favorite stories or have an audio version of a movie – fun ways to pass the time!
11. Doodle Pad
You could take along paper and crayons, but it can get messy, plus what’ll you do when your kids have exhausted the paper supply? An easier option is the doodle pad which they can draw, erase and draw again.
12. New Toys/Books
The element of surprise is a powerful one, and more so with kids on a road trip! Get some small toys and books beforehand and keep them hidden. Release them only during strategic points during your trip. It’ll also encourage your child to behave when he knows there are more goodies to come!
13. Favorite Teddy
If your toddler isn’t used to travel and might get upset, take along his favorite teddy or blanket, so that he feels a little more reassured. Of course, he might insist that Teddy come along right at the start, so your task is done!
14. Activity/Sticker Book
Stickers are a great way to keep kids occupied as are activity books with simple games and puzzles. Keep some pencils so they can draw in them; you’ll need more than one because they’re bound to fall and roll on the floor of the car!
15. Flat Board/Baking Sheet
You’ve got the activity book and little cars, but it’s going to be difficult for your child to do anything with them without a flat surface. Take along a flat board, like the ones for laptops or even a baking sheet will do just fine. Baking sheets are also good for magnetic toys and games!
This might sound like a big list, but trust us, it’s worth the trouble!! None of these are bulky anyway, and when well prepared, Mom and Dad can feel much more relaxed and enjoy the trip. After all, isn’t that what a family vacation is for!!
Article by Fabida Abdulla