Top five tips for a successful road trip with young kids.

1. Rent an Airbnb or hotel with kitchenette

One thing that I can no longer do without is feeling at home even when traveling. The home essentials such as a kitchen and a washer and dryer are simply nonnegotiable for me now.  Like most people we use to rent hotels whenever we would travel but as soon as we had our daughter it became such a hassle with all the dirty laundry that would pill up or all the meals that she refused to eat out. When we realized she had many food allergies eating out was almost impossible. We then discovered Airbnb and we never looked back. The best thing about renting a property rather than a hotel is you can feel instantly at home when you arrive. In our last rental we found everything we had at home, all those little things that make a house a home. It’s not often that I will arrive at a rental property and not think of darn I forgot this or that, something small like a potato peeler or nightlight in the hallway for the kids. The things you don’t always think about packing but you feel grateful for when you have them.  You can also do your laundry before leaving which makes unpacking when you get home so much easier. We also had use of the owner membership to a RV resort center where they had a play park and inside and outside pools, some owners might have a building gym or sauna you can use free of charge. So with two kids under five it has just become too comfortable for us to rent home rather than hotels from now on and now a days with the prices of Airbnb are counterpart if not sometimes cheaper than hotels.

2.Pack your own food

Because we rent vacation properties we always pack our own food and save money. For our latest trip I marinated two different type of chicken a few nights before our departure and froze them. I also made breakfast muffins and healthy snacks for the road. We got a huge cooler where we put all our meat and chicken and all our snacks plus any veggies that I need to cook. I pre mixed all my spices and took it along. We just grabbed all the veggies, pasta, rice etc. from our pantry and pack it in the cooler. Once on location we bought all the essentials such as milk, eggs, bread and any fresh fruit we liked. Breakfast and supper were always cooked at home and we sometimes grab a little snack or treat outside. We ordered pizza for lunch one day and eat it until the next day. This has saved us at least a few hundred dollars because eating out 3 times a day by a family of 4 isn’t cheap. So do yourself a favor prepare your meal in advance and pack and cook your own food, not only is it cheaper it’s also healthier.

3.Bring your own entertainment

Ahhh the long drive with toddlers in the back of a pack truck make for amazing and noisy summer memories.  I make sure to pack our own entertainment for those long hours in the car but also for lazy days at the house or during a raining day when we are force to stay in. My daughter loves to read so I make sure to bring hard cover books, color book, her Ipad loaded with movies and games. I also packed large chalks for her to use outside whenever she is in the backyard. My little son on the other hand is another story he couldn’t play with his trucks in the car so I charged an old cell phone and let him play with that.  It’s a good idea to provide the kids with a few options when they get tired of something.

4. Have a flexible itinerary

Any mother to small kids knows the importance of a routine and regular schedule nap time. But that can be thrown out the window when we go on vacation. So what do we do? We just wing it, that’s right we simply play it by ear and each day is different. We try to keep wake up and bed time pretty consistent but nap times will vary each day depending on what we got going on. Sometimes the kids will nap in the car while we drive back and sometimes that’s good enough for them. Some days we come back home and have a proper nap time for the kids and adults as well.  If a nap doesn’t happen then we just have an earlier bedtime for that day. We expect our regular schedule to be disrupted and therefore we don’t stress during vacations after all vacations are meant to be a getaway from the routine and that includes schedule naps.

5. Pack according to your activities and weather

Often times essential items are that are available for purchase on tourist location are overpriced and can add up pretty quickly. That is why I always pack according to the weather at the location and based on the activities we plan on doing. My husband often complains how I over pack but is always grateful when we don’t need to buy extra jackets or swimming gear.  Of course I always over pack as a woman it’s hard not to want to pack your whole wardrobe but I always think it’s better to over pack than to under pack. At least that’s my excuse each time.

Any other tips?   Please share below.

Happy trips everyone!

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