Keep Your Hands To Yourself!! I Mean It!!!

We recently when on quite an adventurous roadtrip from Missouri to Louisiana and Florida and back. A total of about forty hours of travel time, and thirty of those were by myself as my husband had to fly home for work. We drove our 2007 Kia Rondo (because it has a/c) to keep gasoline prices low, stayed with family and shared a hotel room, and brought WAY too much stuff in the car.
I packed a bag of toys and books for both girls, plus they each had a bin of stuff at their feet, plus two extra ziploc bags with small toys and mini treasures to keep them occupied. This would have been fine in an SUV or mini van. Our car was way too small for all that. Luckily they are small girls...hee hee.
Keep in mind when your vehicle is small, your kids will be able to REACH eachother. This can be an issue (hitting, pinching, tickling, taking, touching etc.). After about three hours I had to use my outside voice more than once. I'M NOT KIDDING!!!
Our car full of kids and stuff

Things to take with you in the car when traveling with small children (ages 2 and 5):

1. DVD player w/ tons of NEW movies...our favorites are: Jojo's Circus, Max & Ruby, Wubbzy, Strawberry Shortcake, and Veggie Tales. These do not drive me crazy if I have to listen to them over and over. Which I usually do!
You could also do books on tape and sing a longs, but I didn't pack ours this time. We have headphones so the kids can listen to the shows and we don't have to, but they're not quite old enough to appreciate that feature.

2. Tray tables - lap style, that have pockets or holders on the sides for pens, snacks etc.
(these were difficult for me to find the right style that would work for us...I might have to invent something better!)

3. Hanging office holder - I got them at Walmart in the office section. They can store all sorts of things in the many pockets...including large pads of paper and books. We used mini bunji cords to hang them from the headrests.

4. Paper and pens, crayons, stickers, coloring books. If you stop at Welcome/Rest areas when you enter a state they usually have free coloring books and stickers for kids. The little ones can go potty and walk around and look at the displays too. We did this in Mississippi and I filled up all sippies and handed out snacks before taking off again. (When you're the only adult in the car it is essential to have everything ready to be handed out easily right next to you).
Mississippi rest stop

5. Spill free cups (sippies and cups w/ lids and straws).

6. Snacks that have been divided into zipper bags, so everyone gets one and they're not too messy.

7. Portable potty and baby wipes, tissue and paper towels in case of spills. (This was essential!) Throw some plastic bags in there too, icop (in case of poo).

8. Candy. Specifically gum and lollypops. These saved my life, it took them a long time to eat and kept them quiet. Avoid choking snacks, like nuts and popcorn if your kids are little.

9. Travel pillows and blankies are always nice for nap time. I highly recommend traveling at night if you can stay awake. It's much easier on the kidlets, but I can't do it as I am sleep deprived already and it could be dangerous!
Darcy checking out her neck pillow

10. I also picked up window markers and gel window stickers on a whim. The window is right there next to them, so they may as well use it for an activity! The gel stickers were in the $1 bins at Target and were quite a hit!

11. A cooler with ice, drinks and snacks. You can keep lunch or dinner in there too, so you don't have to go to a restaurant. If you're the only parent with more than one kid with you will be so tired after you unload the car and put everything away in the room, or go up and down stairs and elevators for twenty minutes, you'll appreciate not sitting in a restaurant with squirmy kids.

12. Don't forget to cover up the car seats with a towel or blanket when you get out of the car in the sun and heat. You don't want them to soak up that heat and burn the kiddos legs when you get back in. (Experience, believe me). I've also noticed that they hold the heat in, so even if you're feeling cool in the front, the baby in the backseat in their car seat could be retaining heat and sweating...keep an eye on that. I also suggest those window shades, and put sunscreen on them, and sunglasses. It's VERY bright out there.

Things I didn't bring that I wish I had: night time travel would be fun to have glow in the dark stickers and other toys, mini flashlights, and reading lights for older kids.

Oh, and I sometimes forgot my sense of humor.

One suggestion: do not travel alone with children if possible. You only have one hand to pass things back with. I kept everything on the passenger seat right by me and was able to do it because my car is small. If you're in a mini van you might not be able to reach the kids.
It is extremely dangerous to take your eyes off the road. I was very lucky and never had any trouble. You have to be willing to pull over (which I did several times) on a dime, as the kids could be screaming, choking, fighting etc. They do that ya know?

Happy Traveling!

I am participating in a blogger contest held by Cabins For You. Cabins For You specializes in cabin rentals located in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge TN. For more information about cabins, events and attractions please visit their blog.

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