Regardless of how sad it is, many people are trying to squeeze in one last family vacation before the school year begins – us included! I’ve compiled a list of my best advice for parents who are planning a road trip with children.

Ziploc trash bag

A garbage bag is essential if you plan on collecting a lot of trash during your trip. Ziploc bags are my preferred method of disposing of stinky items because they can be sealed to keep the smell out. If you’re worried about running out of trash bags, throw a few extra Target or Wal-Mart bags in the trunk.

Snacks + water bottles

It should go without saying, but make sure your snacks and water bottles are always close at hand. Snacks can be portioned out in containers similar to this. In addition, the containers are useful in containing any spills that may occur. I’m also a big fan of packing snack boxes and pouches like this.

Leave during naptime

It’s best to leave during naptime so that you can begin your journey in peace and quiet.

A friend of mine actually leaves just before the kids go to bed. After dinner, they’ll put the kids to bed and head out. Because the kids are sleeping, they arrive late, but they arrive at their destination on time. In addition, the kids find themselves in an unfamiliar setting when they awaken.

Pre-made formula or put pre-measured scoops in bags 

Instead of wasting time scooping and measuring, make a list and stick to it. This simple container was the key to our success. If we ever need to use it, we’ll have it ready!

Books/Activities that aren’t messy

It’s imperative that you find ways to keep children occupied while you’re driving. The less time they have to ask, “Are we there yet?” the more hectic they are. There are a few excellent options for keeping the kids occupied in the car without causing a mess.

Easy on-off shoes

Kids and adults alike will benefit from this advice. You’ll need to be able to put your shoes on and take them off quickly when you need to go to the bathroom or take a break to stretch your legs. Without ties, any type of sandal, Croc, or shoe is a great choice.

Spare blanket or hoodie

In the event that you have more than one child, you can expect that they will all want the same thing. Consequently, if one blanket is brought, we now need three. We didn’t have enough blankets for our most recent trip, so I used my hooded sweatshirt as a makeshift blanket. As long as they’re comfortable, the better! It’s also possible that you’ve given up your hoodie and now find yourself in need of a blanket. Plan for a little extra comfiness!

Sun shades for the back seats windows 

Freddie screamed nonstop the entire time we were driving because the sun was directly in his eyes. We made a rookie error by failing to install window shades. We certainly made an effort to shield ourselves from the sun using blankets and shirts.

Diaper bag

Knowing where everything is packed in your diaper bag is more important than having a bag of some kind for your children.. A kid (or three!) is never happy to be sifting through an old bag of things.

A good mix- jams to play

A well-curated playlist is an absolute necessity for any successful road trip. You know, not Baby Shark on repeat, but also not a playlist full of swear words — that sort of thing.

Sunglasses

For adults, this seems like a no-brainer. For emergencies, I keep a cheap pair in the car so that I always have a spare pair. Remember to bring sunglasses for your children as well. A few extra pairs will also come in handy if you happen to lose one or two pairs.

You may find these tips and tricks useful if you’re embarking on a road trip with children.

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