How to Have a Successful Road Trip With Young Children: Bring Some Good Books & Audios

You likely well know this, but we love books at our house. And no trip is complete without them! I have fond memories of my mom reading to us on long car trips and I hope to create those same memories for my children.

Picture Books

These are great for reading aloud or letting the children read/look at themselves. I tried to pick books that corresponded with some of the places we were visiting and things we were doing to make them a little more relevant.

You can find our family’s 15 favorite read-alouds here if you need ideas for good books. We get most of our books from PaperBackSwap since, sadly, our library system here is nothing like the wonderful library system we had in Topeka and Kansas City (we were spoiled there — no late fees, very clean and modern facilities and lots of new books and new releases!).

Chapter Books

I always try to bring one chapter book along to read in the car and at night as we’re snuggled up in bed before going to sleep. The children beg for me to read every night and there’s nothing that beats a good chapter book while we’re all snuggled under the covers together!

We’re finishing the Little House series right now, but I brought All-Of-A-Kind Family for something different for this trip. The children loved it and I think I know what books we’re going to read once we finish the Little House series! (Thanks to a reader who recommended this book!)

Books On Tape/Audio Dramatizations

One of the ways we pass a lot of time in the car is by listening to great audio. One of our children’s current favorites is the Jonathan Park series. We also enjoy the Focus on the Family Radio Theater and the The girls also recently listened to Charlotte’s Web during their afternoon quiet time and were enthralled with it.

Books for Mom

Don’t forget to bring some books for yourself, too. Road trips almost always provide some time to enjoy longer stretches of reading than you might usually be able to enjoy at home. I brought The Happiness Project, The Wounded Spirit, Debt-Free U and Quitter. Reviews on these books will be posted in a few weeks when I share about the books I’ve read this month.

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How to Have a Successful Road Trip With Young Children: Pack an Emergency Box

When you have young children, you always have to think in worst case scenarios. A diaper blowout, accident or mess is bound to happen — maybe even multiple times. There will be sticky fingers, messy mouths, and probably some spills and boo-boos. Don’t get caught unprepared.

Pack an Emergency Box or Two!

Think of all the things that might go wrong and items you’d want to have on hand if there is a diaper blowout, accident, mess or someone gets sick. Pack these items into a tub to keep on hand — just in case. You might not end up using everything (let’s hope you don’t have to!), but you’ll likely end up very glad you thought ahead and brought at least some of these things.

For instance, we brought a thermometer and infant and children’s medicines. We were glad we did because all three children ended up getting fevers on our trip!

This time around, I actually packed two “Emergency Boxes” — one that I kept near the front seat and a medicine container I kept packed in the suitcase. Here are the items these boxes contained:

Travel Emergency Box

Plastic Bags (for trash or diapers)
Lysol Wipes
Tissues
Huggies Wipes
Ziploc Baggies
Hand Sanitizer
Lip Gloss
Lotion

Medicine/Hygiene Box

Bandages
Infant Pain Reliever
Children’s Advil
Benadryl
Travel sizes of Shampoo/Conditioner
Excedrin
Sunblock
Thermometer
Motrin PM
Body Wash
Neosporin
Fingernail Polish Remover
Multi-Vitamins

Make sure your diaper bag is also packed with an extra outfit(s), diapers, wipes, plastic bags and a diaper changing pad, in addition to the items you usually keep in the diaper bag.

How do you prepare for emergencies on trips? Share your ideas in the comments!

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How to Have a Successful Road Trip With Young Children: Be Organized When Packing

A few years ago, I stumbled upon the Ziploc bag method of packing for a vacation and it’s revolutionized our organization on trips. It’s so simple that a picture is probably all you need to get how it works, but for those who like specific step-by-step details, here’s how it works for us:

1. Do all the laundry.

Since we only have 6-10 outfits total for each member of our family, if we’re going on a trip longer than a few days, we have to do all the laundry in order to have enough clothes to pack.

2. Lay out an outfit for each child for each day.

As I’m folding the laundry, I make piles of matching outfits for each child for every day that we’ll be gone. I also lay out an extra outfit for each child and a few extra shirts for our child who tends to be messy. :) In addition, I set aside socks and underwear, as well as pajamas.

3. Roll the clothes for each day and put into a labeled bag.

I label a bag for each day of the week we’ll be gone, plus an extras bag, a socks & underwear bag and a PJ bag. If you have more than three children or your children are older, you may need to have individual bags for each child. Since we just have three young children, we can still fit their outfits into one ziptop bag per day.

4. When traveling, set out the bag of clothes for the next day the night before, along with shoes.

Instead of having to rummage through a suitcase for clothes each morning, just set out the appropriate bag, along with socks, shoes and underwear the night before. It makes getting everyone ready a snap in the mornings!

5. Stick the extras bag in the car or diaper bag to have on hand in case it’s needed.

If there’s a diaper blowout or a spill or other accident, you’re prepared with extra outfits for everyone!

6. Save your bags to re-use for the next trip.

We label the ziptop bags with tape so we can re-use them again and again. We store them in our suitcases to be at-the-ready for our next trip.

Coming tomorrow: How to Have a Successful Road Trip With Young Children: Pack an Emergency Box

How do you stay organized when packing for a trip? I’d love to hear your ideas!

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