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Traveling with Kids | Survival Tips

Heather O'Brien Design | Traveling with Kids | Survival Tips

As Thanksgiving is approaching, many people will be traveling and needless to say the kids will always make it interesting! We’ve got quite a few road trips under our belts with all three kids in tow, from “short” road trips to Alabama and much, much longer road trips to upstate New York (for those who don’t know, we live in North Florida). So yes, upstate New York is approximately 1 million hours away (20 to be exact, but who’s counting). Earlier this year we loaded up our 4 year old and 9 month old twins to head to grandma’s house in New York. I knew I had to have a game plan if we all wanted to survive. I seriously tried to envision how many times my husband would attempt to turn around the car. However, I can honestly say, it was one of the best road trips we’ve had. And to this day still can’t really believe it. So I figured I would share a few trips for all you mamas (and dad’s) prepping for the most traveled day of the year.

Pick traveling times that work for you.
For most parents with young kids, traveling at night works best. You can feed them, bathe them, put them in their PJs and load them up with just enough time to sing a few songs and then fall asleep for the duration of the trip (hopefully). Some kids travel better during the day if they hate sleeping in the car, it’s really what works best for you and your family.

Pack supplies and get organized.
Kids can smell fear and then chaos will soon ensue. If you can’t find that bag of snack right when you need it… well you get the idea. Once I decided on every type of “supply” that we need to pack to make our trip manageable, I figured out the best way to organize it in the car. I divided out our snacks into small, easy to grab portions that I could hand to them (for younger kids, make sure you have the awesome snack cups with lids), I kept that bag at close reach at all times. I packed another bag that had all of the coloring books, activity books, favorite toys etc. In addition to a regularly stocked diaper bag, I had one bag that had a full change of clothes for everyone in the car. This could be further in the back. We picked up a small plastic container with a lid that could slide under the back seat that contained any and every medical item you could think of (Band-Aids, tums, cough drops, Neosporin, aspirin, etc). If you have younger kids, make sure you pack everything they need as well, children’s Motrin, Benadryl, cough medicine, etc (and don’t forget extra syringes/dispensers!)

Make it Fun.
As the kids get a little older, it can sometimes get harder and harder to entertain them, especially if you don’t want to give them the iPad for all 20 hours! I learned with our oldest that she loves when she gets something “new”. Enter in the dollar section of Target for the win! A few weeks prior to a trip, I’ll gather a few inexpensive items from the dollar bins that I know she will love and will keep her occupied AND THEN to make it that much more special, I wrap each one up like a pretty present and keep them all in a bag up front with me. I pace myself out with one every few hours if we’re on a long trip. It really does seem to help! I also included some “splurge” snacks as her treats that she isn’t normally allowed to have on a regular basis.

Stop Frequently.
This is pretty much a given with younger kids to go to the potty or change diapers. But make sure you give some time to stretch and get all the jitters out. With two crawlers in tow, we discovered that rest areas actually worked best for us. They usually have nice grassy areas where our oldest could run around some, and we always travel with the amazing octagon pop up play pen that could easily be set up on the grass and let the two little ones crawl around and play. This is also a good time to eat a meal and kill two birds with one stone.

I hope this helps and if all else fails, turn on Netflix!



  1. Mary says:

    Great advice,  makes me want to go for a ride!!

  2. Jessica says:

    Can’t wait till our next trip now!! Thanks for all you amazing tips!

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