April 3, 2015

Organizing Your Road Trips with Kids

My family takes many road trips and with 5 kids, I will do just about anything to keep the peace in the car.  Growing up, my parents had one rule on road trips: NO FIGHTING! I have adopted this same rule, but still find it necessary to come up with ways to keep the kids HAPPY!  With some organizing and planning I have found some must haves to keep me sane and the kids enjoying the ride!  No more "Are We There Yet!"

I've put together some checklists for you, so you can get an idea of what we like to bring.  Not everything gets done for every road trip, some of it depends on how long we are going for.  The trip we are currently on is to to our beautiful cabin and is about 5 hours from home.  The kids are responsible to have everything on the list in the car when its time to go.  Be sure to check out my tutorial for the Travel Pillow if you haven't already.  I also LOVE having the kids all have slip-on shoes for car trips.  Makes bathroom breaks so much easier if we aren't waiting for kids to tie shoes!

One of the best ways I have found to keep my sanity, them happy, and have peace and quiet is letting them watch movies.  Everyone gets to pick from our extensive movie collection before the trip so they have movies that they want to watch.  Movies must be appropriate for all age levels (no PG-13 for the younger kids). Then we rotate through them, each child taking a turn of picking the movie.  We usually bounce back and forth youngest to oldest so that the older kids don't have to sit through 2 little kid movies in a row and visa versa.  The kids also bring a small of bag of other items they want for the car, incase they don't want to watch the movie.

Of course, while the kids are watching their movies, I like to either listen to music, an audiobook, or podcast, so I purchased these awesome headphones for all of my kids to listen to the movie.  I love them because they come in a variety of colors (so each kid has their own) and they have cases.  The headphones work on an all infrared systems and have 2 channels.  They also turn off automatically if unused for 3 minutes, so you don't wear the batteries down if they accidentally leave them on.  They also come with a cord that can plug into devices as well, so the kids don't have to pack an extra set of headphones for their mp3 players and tablets.  The silence, while they watch a movie, is PRICELESS!!!

I also have my checklist for road trips.  Like I said, some of it depends on how big the road trip is.  If it's a small road trip (like this one) I let the kids get their own snacks.  I usually do have some treats.  Sometimes a surprise new movie for them to watch.  If we are on longer road trips, I usually print off some travel games like the License Plate game, Travel Bingo, etc.  I always keep a few Essential Oils in the car, but for a car trip I make sure to have a good arsenal.

I've also included a checklist of things I normally have in the car.  With running 5 kids all over the place, I spend a lot of time in the car, so I like to be prepared! 

I keep a bag of small 4-gallon trash bags in the seat back pocket to have on hand.  They come in handy for a lot of things, not just trash.  They are useful for sickness, spills, and wet/muddy clothing.

When we are on car trips, I keep a bin with the headphones and movies as well as an actual garbage near the middle console for easy access.

I always keep a bin of needed items and my umbrella under the middle console.  It keeps things corralled and easy access.

In the basket I have a bag with all of our Lotions and Potions.  It also has tissues, a small makeup bag, and an emergency inhaler (my son has Asthma).  In the basket I also keep an extra pair of sunglasses, extra charging cords, my Essential Oils and Diffuser and some . I love diffusing oils on car trips to keep things calm and under control.  

When we are on road trips, I frequently add a couple of empty baskets to the car to help the kids corral any loose items as well.  Helps keeps the car neat and tidy!

I always keep a couple of large cups with extra napkins, straws, and spoons in the car as well.  You never know when you'll have a spill or someone didn't get a straw or spoon with their meal when you are on the road.

When we go to our cabin, I need to pack any perishable food and specific items I need for my menu.  We keep a lot of staples there.  When I plan my menu, I break it down I break down into 3 lists;  Box, Cooler, and Food to Make Ahead (which when complete will go in one of the other two lists as well).  For example, for this trip I made ahead the Rolls, Potatoes, Lasagna, and Taquito filling.  The rolls went in the box and the others went in the cooler.  I like making a lot of my food ahead of time so I don't spend my entire trip cooking and cleaning.   I usually start preparing for my road trips days in advance, so I keep a couple of empty bins around (mainly for travel) and set them out.  As I remember items I need to bring and as I'm packing, I can easily throw things in the box.  Then, when it's full I put the lid on and throw it in the car.

With some organization and preparation our road trips usually go pretty well!  My kids are happy, and so am I! (This pictures is missing my oldest, who rode down to our cabin with his Grandpa.)

And here is our beautiful cabin, where I will be spending the next few days.  We've spent the day today riding 4-wheelers, playing games, and having fun as a family! 

How are you spending your Spring Break?  Do you have any tips and tricks for road trips with kids? Share them in the comments, I'd love to hear them!

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  1. You have thought of EVERYTHING! Love this! I'll definitely be referring back to this post for our next road trip. Thanks Amanda!

  2. Great tips and ideas! I am surely going to keep this in mind while going on road trip.

  3. This is excellent! Organization is definitely something we lack over here when it comes to car trips. Funny, since we do so many of them. Thanks for the brilliant ideas (extra straws and forks, slip on shoes...)!
    Our blog is actually about family drives, loving history, and finding stories in unlikely places. I'd love for you to check it out sometime, and I will definitely be looking at more of your great organization posts!


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