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Welcome to day six of the Spring Into Summer series! I hope you’ll take a few moments to read the previous posts!

Soon we’ll be gearing up for our semi-annual 12+ hour trip to visit the grandparents! And with that brings the challenge to keep our three children, ages 6, 3 and 1, occupied and the whole family at peace with each other throughout the journey. You really don’t have to go crazy traveling with kids–I promise! The key is to be well-prepared and ready for anything :)

How to travel with kids and not go crazy!

Pack Well, Especially When It Comes to Food

Previously, I shared some strategies for efficiently packing and organizing your car for a road trip. I think I can also say that packing well is essential to a good trip, especially in the area of food. It’s obviously expensive to eat out all the time and so we often pack at least one meal in a cooler for the road. What we usually pack:

  • Peanut butter and jam sandwiches
  • Turkey and cheese sandwiches
  • Homemade granola bars
  • Apples
  • String cheese
  • Pretzels

In the summer we can eat at a park along the way and everybody loves the break! 

Healthy snacks on the go {find some ideas here!} are so important too, because if we just eat junk, we feel terrible. We also make sure everyone has a full reusable water bottle – we love our Klean Kanteens

Choose Some Fun and New Activities for the Kids

Obviously a long car trip would be really long and boring without anything to do, even though I’d be content to just read a book the whole time! Some of the things we bring along to keep the kids occupied and entertained {we use reusable bags for storage of these things}:

  • Library Books – we visit the local library a couple of days before our trip so the kids have something new to read. For this summer’s trip, I’m also going to read Little House on the Prairie out loud. Audio books from the library are perfect as well! We love the American Girl audio books and Adventures in Odyssey, a Christian kids radio drama.
  • Activity or “Busy” Bags – I’ve never taken ours on the go before, but a reader suggested it on Facebook, so I’ll try to bring along some that don’t have really small pieces. You can check out my Busybag Activities Pinterest board for some great ideas!
  • Puppets or Stuffed Animal – My biggest tip for traveling with a really young child is to bring along puppets or a stuffed animal that can sing to or play peek-a-boo with your little one. I know it will be a challenge to travel with a 15 month old this summer, but this is one thing that has entertained in the past! {Thank you to a sweet friend for bringing this idea to mind–I had forgotten how well it worked!}
  • Metal cookie sheet – If you have a son like mine who loves Hotwheels or a daughter who can dress her magnetic paper dolls for hours, a metal cookie sheet would be a great way to keep small pieces contained! We’ve done this in the past but I’d forgotten about it–thanks to Lori, who reminded me of this idea on Facebook!
  • Music and Read Along Stories – Stories on tape or CD are always a hit, as is some good music! We love Seeds Worship, Hide Em in Your Heart and the Wee Sing series.
  • Roadside Stops – Stopping at a park or picnic area along the way has been a lifesaver for our family on more than one occasion! 
  • The Trip Clip – This is my kids newest obsession–check it out  here!

Pack an Emergency Bag and Clean-Up Items

I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you that accidents happen – urgent bathroom needs, throwing up, sore throats and chapped lips have been regular occurrences for us over the years. We’ve learned to bring a few safeguards:

  • Small trash can 
  • Plastic bags for when somebody gets sick or for trash
  • First-aid kit with bandaids, ointment, throat drops, kleenex, chapstick and lotion
  • Sunglasses for everyone and a sun hat for the baby
  • Baby wipes
What are your favorite tips for traveling with small children without going crazy?

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7 Comments on How to Travel With Young Children And Not Go Crazy!

  1. I know this is an old post but I just had to say thanks for the cookie sheet idea. We’re traveling to Maine (11hrs) and I was planning on going out later to buy some dollar tree toys for the rode. I’ll definitely be picking up a cookie sheet now! :)

    • I hope your kids get good use out of it! Enjoy your trip, and just remind yourself in the crazy times in the car that you CAN do it! :)

  2. Great post – we travel a lot each summer with our kids and I’ll be posting all June on how to stay healthy (and save money) while traveling. One thing I often do is buy (throughout the year when they are on sale) small items for the kids that I dole out while we are in the car when I sense they need something “new.” Ideas are books, video games, music CD’s, activity books, etc. I wrap them so it’s like a little present!

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