Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Road Trip Must-Haves

We received free product to facilitate this post. No other compensation was received. 
All opinions expressed are our own.

This summer, my husband and I did something we said we'd never do. We took two kids, one age 7 and one age 1 on a road trip! Don't get me wrong. We actually love road trips and have taken more than we can count. Before kids, we would leave for our trips late at night, stop for coffee, and drive through the night until we reached our destination. Who were we?! 

We road tripped (is that a verb?) twice with our first daughter and knew we'd have to start breaking up our trips into two days and staying overnight in a hotel. And then we flew to our destination once... and it was sooooo easy! And we said NEVER AGAIN will we do a road trip. 

And then we saw the outrageous price of airline tickets to our intended destination and planned a road trip again. 12 hours. With two kids. With a 16 month old. And we knew we were crazy. But WE DID IT! And actually, it went so well that we'd do it again for sure. 

We split our 12 hour trip into two days again and stayed overnight in a hotel in between. We made sure the hotel had cribs available and thankfully our daughter slept - probably even better than we did!

We packed well - and we packed a lot. I think my husband thought I was a little nuts for packing as much as I did but I was so intentional about making our travel time work. It's hard to occupy kids for 6 hours at home, in their house, with all their toys. I needed to find a way to do it in a car, with them strapped in, and confined. They did so well that we did not have to stop even ONCE on our first leg. We drove 6 hours with no stopping and only minimal fussing.  

The two things that saved our travel sanity were...


We went to the store and got all sorts of special snacks. I know my snack packing technique will make some of you cringe because I used approximately one million disposable zipper lock bags, but it worked like a charm. I promise that I actually use reusable snack bags during the school year but I don't have one million of them so I had to break all green-living rules to make this work. 

Each snack was separated into small serving sizes in the baggies. All those baggies were then packed into a large bag. And all the different large bags filled with small bags were packed into a small carry-on size suitcase which was stowed, unzipped, between the two car seats in the back seat. GENIUS. The 7 year old served up snacks to the whole family throughout the drive. 

New toys are a must for both road trips and plane rides. Their newness is intriguing and they don't tend to get bored quite as quickly. I surprised the girls with some new travel-friendly toys and activities that were perfect for the trip. Oriental Trading had a lot to choose from.

We love these Farm Friends Hand Puppets from Melissa & Doug. They are so cute, soft, and fun! They made for a lot of silly interactive play, especially with our youngest daughter. I'm pretty sure I sang "Baa, Baa, Black Sheep" no less than 100 times during one particularly traffic-y part of our trip. Every time I stopped, she started baa-ing and we'd sing it again with our puppet friends dancing to the beat!

The Oomee cube (pictured on the left below) is a fantastic invention - a puzzle with pieces attached so nothing gets lost! It's rubbery so no one gets hurt when it's thrown. It's made of 100% food-grade silicone so it's safe for teething too. And of course it encourages shape learning. It's a win on all levels and was well loved by our toddler.

The Find It! Seek & Find Game, travel-sized Perplexus, and Extreme Dot to Dot book were enjoyed by our 7 year old. We also had crayons, colored pencils, and coloring books. 

Another big hit were Water Wow! books from Melissa & Doug. I've been eyeing these little books online and in stores for a couple of years. I finally took the plunge, purchased a few, and we're all hooked. I've purchased two more since this road trip for another vacation this summer. They are an amazing invention! Simply fill the little paint brush with water, and colors show up as you paint the cardboard pages of the book. When they dry, the color disappears, and you do it again! These are so fun. Both girls (and even I!) enjoyed them.

Our road trip was a huge success, but lest you think it was all hearts and butterflies, this is how it culminated...

Real life, my friends, this is real life. My boisterous toddler has, just since school got out in June, lost a fingernail, had eye surgery, and broke her leg. I won't list all the things she did during the months between her birth and then! She keeps us on our toes... even when she can't be on her own!

Thankfully these travel-friendly toys are not only perfect for carseat-confined kiddos, but ones who are confined in other ways as well!

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