Because why fly when you can save a couple hundred dollars driving 17 HOURS with two tiny tots!!! Said no one ever. But if you are that one person who decides to take a long road trip with littles, I hope this post can help you prepare a little better!
Trips like this take lots of preparation, like weeks. Unless you cram it in then it can be done in a couple of days. You have to make lists, lots of lists. I made lists for myself, my husband, my toddler, my baby, list of things I needed to drop off with the dogs at their babysitter, snack list, activity list….and the list of lists goes on…
The morning of the trip we piled everything packed by the front door, my husband and I both knew everything wasn’t going to fit.
Well, all you mama’s know how much shit you need with a toddler and a baby, don’t you?! We had two large suitcases, a bag filled Christmas gifts, cooler, pack and play, snack bag, activity bag for Owen, Activity bag for Cameron, overnight hotel bag, breast pump bag, diaper bag, stroller. Well my husband being Mr. Doitall, was able to squeeze just about everything in and with little to no bitching at how much I had packed (thank goodness). The stroller had to stay behind.
We finally got out of the house 3 hours after we woke up. You’d think with all of those lists I had written we would have been right out the door…nope not with 2 kids, mom brain syndrome and a 17 hour drive ahead of us! On a positive note, the memories we were about to make would be unforgettable.
TIP: have your car packed the night before!
The activity bag I mentioned above that I made for my toddler was filled with toys and activities he had never seen before. Here is what I included in his activity bag:
- Matchbox cars
- Crayola mess free coloring book with markers
- Melissa and Doug water wow
- Usborne lift the flap books
- B. Toys pull back cars from Target
- Usborne busy car book
- ipad uploaded with Blippi and new educational games
- Colorful pipe cleaners (because why not!)
- Finger puppets
The snack bag was similar, I tried to find fun new snacks…most unfortunately held little to none nutritional value but I did pack some fruit and PBJ sandwiches for lunch in the cooler! Here is what was included in the snack bag and cooler:
- Fruit snacks
- Simply Cheetos white cheddar
- Chips ahoy cookies
- Annies bunny snacks
- Nabisco cheese dip and pretzels/crackers snack packs
- PBJ Sandwiches
- Waters/Mini Gatorades
I wouldn’t suggest driving over 8 hours with two littles, unless you have an abundance of patience!
Staying in a hotel with a toddler and a baby can be challenging. At bedtime Owen is used to being contained to his crib. In a hotel with freedom to roam about and bountiful amounts of energy from sitting in the car we realized we were up for little to no sleep. I took the king bed in the bedroom with Cameron and Tim took the pull out with Owen. (we had a king suite hotel room which had a bedroom, it was nice! Check if your hotel has that option!) After a couple of hours, we were all finally in Zzz dream mode! Suggestions for a hotel stay with a toddler:
- Let them RUN, burn that energy (of course)
- Bring swimsuits for the pool!
- Bring a pack and play
- Put the pack and play in the bathroom at bedtime
- Bring books and a favorite toy/blanket
Ive personally never done #4 but I’ve heard many parents use that hack so I figured i’d throw it on the list!
After we made it to Michigan the following day, I realized how much stress I had put on myself before the road trip. I was entirely way too nervous for absolutely nothing. It is what it is, if you decide to drive and take a road trip with kids…you never know what will happen! You can just be as prepared as you can be and thats it!
Oh and one more tip. If you need a place to stop and stretch, use the bathroom and let the kiddos have something fun to look at, Cabelas is a great spot for a road trip stop! Some even have a restaurant inside!