~Pablo Picasso

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

One Mom's Tips for a Somewhat Smooth Road Trip

Believe it or not road trips in our family are a welcome getaway even with all 9 of us. We have had alot of people ask us if we are crazy. The answer is no not really. It's one of the best times for us but not without major planning. One of the things that helps us is that I am a born list maker and I HAVE to plan ahead in fact about 4-6 months ahead. Mostly because I'm plain excited but also because I want it to go as smooth as possible. Here are some of those tips to help YOUR  Road Trip go as uneventful as possible.

First, I use my handy dandy...........................clipboard:) Yep with lots of lined notebook paper. I jot down everything I can possibly think of that we may need then I organize it later in a binder. Lord knows I will pull out all my hair wondering what that one thing was I wanted to bring with us that I never wrote down. So it all goes down on paper from clothes and medications to snacks and everything in between.
I usually start off with each child and what clothing items they need, meds for each child and a backpack. The backpack I slowly fill with items I find on sale early on. Depending on the age of the child here are some of those things:

  • Magazines, coloring books, chapter books, board books.
  • Zipper pouch filled with crayons, pencils, pens for older kids/teens.
  • Gum, lollipops (Whole Foods and Trader Joe's carry organic ones that are yum!) of course supervised by Mom and Dad. Don't want to spend part of your long drive trying to get it off the cloth seats:(
  • Travel games, CD players, Books on Cd's from the library, MP3 players, Zunes or IPod (whatever your teens have already), Video Now Color or Video Now Jr's. if you can still find them are awesome especially if you don't have a Portable DVD player. Don't forget the batteries in your bag Mom.
  • Blank mini notebooks to journal or doodle, Vinyl Window Clings like the ones you can get around the holidays work great on back car windows.
  • Kid friendly maps so they can track where they are going. 
  • Everyone gets a special drink (flavored water or juice) and a couple different baggies of non mess and healthy snacks. 

Now I have my own special backpack for the Main Man (Hubby) and I of necessities. This way I don't have to accidentally step on kids, hurdle over seats, or dig for during the trip. We also of course take tons of suitcases filled with clothes (ok not really tons but enough for us all), totes of non perishable food and an ice, food, water, and drink filled cooler.

Some necessary items that work great are hand sanitizer (Lots of it!), soap petals or small travel size slivers of soap in case the rest area bathrooms don't have soap and those 3 or 5 oz. bathroom cups. They work great for little hands and dividing up small snacks off and on during the ride.

There is one very special item however that I will NEVER leave home without on any trip EVER!..................................................
Zip lock Bags are my new best friend. Whenever we go on a trip now they come along. I originally packed them for putting snacks in but came to find out the sandwich bag size were a blessing for things like banana skins, boogie tissues, food wrappers, and leftover bread crusts when we ate meals in the car.

 This next trip suggestion may be a little bit more than you want to know but it worked for us so I would like to share it with you. Gallon bags lined with paper towels work great for potty emergencies. Like for example when you are on the Santa Ana Freeway sandwiched in between a 12 passenger van and a semi truck at noon also known as lunch time going 65 miles an hour and your 4 year old yells "I need to go to the bathroom!".  You have to have good balance for this feat but we both survived and nothing ended up on the floor Thank Heavens!

I know this was long winded but I hope you can use a few of these tips....take what you want and throw out the rest I always say:)

Feel free to list some of your must have family trip necessities in the comment box too!

Here's to a safe and fun Summer Road Trip with your family!♥



  1. wow, you are organized! and your potty story reminds me of a friend whose mom carried one of those gigunda coffee cans with a lid for the same reason....;-)

  2. I don't have any kids, but it sounds like a thorough useful list ♥

    Also I really like that second pic

  3. Wow, sounds like you have your hands full but it seems like you're super organized and that having a list really works. :0)

  4. Growing up, my family took lots of road trips. They were a blast (even though our not-so-trusty van broke down at some point on every one of them :)). I remember having word search races with my mom, playing car bingo, singing together, coloring...sigh, those were the times!

    It is cool to think of your family creating this memories right now :)

  5. Ahhh.. I remember the road trips with our family.. so fun. I am hoping we get to do the same when we have lots of kiddies. ;)
    Great tips!

  6. I always make lists too! It's just a habit for me I guess! I love road trips!