By Becca Carnahan of With Love, Becca
Many moons ago, my husband and I took a road trip from Chicago to Colorado. This was before kids, so we packed pretty light. Some good car snacks, some mix CDs, two duffel bags, and a GPS. (MANY moons ago.)
Now that we have two small kids, we aren’t road tripping quite as far, but we do still travel west to visit my husband’s family often. The Wild West is beautiful, but places and people are far apart from each other, so after an airplane ride, we end up road tripping. A lot. One recent trip helped me find the silver lining of all that driving, though – coming up with a comprehensive list of things you might forget to bring on a road trip with kids. So here we go — people helping people.
1. Your Patience
I packed my patience. Meticulously. Along with everything else either of my children might need. Because who packs the bags? Moms.
But I realized en route from the greater Denver area up through the Rocky Mountains that I had only packed enough patience for a four day trip, and our trip was six days. My mistake. I’ll own that. So by the 34th time my kids requested a snack, and a new movie, and not that book, I was using middle names in hushed tones.
Luckily my mother-in-law is a saint, and she packed extra patience. And better juice boxes.
2. Child Bladder Remote Control
Little known fact: There are very few restrooms between the Rocky Mountain range and northwest Colorado.
Widely known fact: Three-year-olds and two-year-olds don’t “hold it.”
So if you forgot your child bladder remote control, then just make sure you bring one of those handy travel potties. And find a safe “pull over on the highway” location.
3. Your Dexterity and Grace
Seated between a two-year-old and a three-year-old for many driving hours has its perks. You get to half watch a lot of Pixar films. You get to sneak-eat several fruit snacks. Oh, and if you somehow get both kids to sleep at the same time, then you get to sit in silence for a whole ten minutes!
But two-year-olds and three-year-olds require car seats. Car seats are handy for safety and all that jazz, but they are less handy for maneuvering a 33-year-old body over. And you might end up accidentally stomping on one of your kids’ DVD players and shattering half the screen.
Don’t do that… I beg of you.
4. Extra Applesauce
Do you have a two-year-old who would happily survive on applesauce pouches? Is a stop on your road trip a family wedding? If so, can I suggest that you bring many more applesauce pouches than you think you might need? Approximately 14 more.
Because, and I’m just spit-balling here, you might end up at a cousin’s wedding with your toddler and preschooler and manage to keep them both seated quietly through the ceremony until the the officiant says, “And now for the exchanging of rings.” Then your two-year-old might request a snack. And said two-year-old might not want raisins or crackers. She might LOUDLY demand applesauce. Applesauce that you didn’t bring because you ran out of pouches around mile 512.
But I digress a little. For real, though, applesauce pouches are great for the car.
When is Santa’s birthday? Do elephants sleep? How do planes fly? Can I fly? Can I drive? How long until I’m 16? Why doesn’t Daniel Tiger wear pants? (All right, that last question is mine.)
If you’re on a long road trip with kids, stuff is going to come up. Stream of consciousness, word association, “kid, where did that come from?” stuff. Better have that Britannica ready. You’re going to need some answers.
6. All the Baby Wipes in North America
Pit stops at gas stations, chocolate covered raisins, boogers, previously mentioned applesauce pouches, more pit stops. These are a few of the messiest things.
Not even to mention this: “Mommy, I draw on your arm? It’ll be super fast.”
You know what you’re going to need… Wipes, wipes, baby.
Ready to buckle up for your road trip with kids now? You should be pretty well prepared I think. Have fun!
A version of this post was originally published on With Love, Becca.
About the Author
Becca Carnahan is a mom of two small humans, freelance writer, career coach, and storytelling enthusiast. Find her sharing stories about parenting and career development at With Love, Becca. You can also find her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @with_love_becca.