Ju-Ju Monkey Summer Series: Road Trip!

It's time for a summer road trip.  You know the deal - pack half of everything you own, smush it all in the car, and embark on a journey of a thousand "I'm hungry" cries, boredom complaints, and emergency bathroom stops. I love road trips. No, really, I do. We are a road tripping family and despite the inevitable annoyances of small children in a confined space for hours at a time, I'd like to think we've perfected the routine and have some helpful tips to share.

No. 1: Plan Ahead
Avoid over-packing or forgetting important items by making a list before you start.  Designate a spot in your house to be "packing central" and start collecting the items on your list over the week before you leave. Getting an early start will help eliminate stress and keep your packing more practical.
Don't forget to pack an emergency safety bag in your car.  Include extra water, flashlights, roadside assistance information, phone charger, first aid kit, etc.

Call the Super Car Seat Geeks for the best local car seat safety support.

Now is also a good time to check your car seats. Car seat misuse is surprisingly high and making sure your seats are installed safely is just as important as anything else on your to-do list. Check that your installs meet the guidelines in your seat and vehicle manuals, or better yet, meet up with a local Certified Passenger Safety Technician (CPST) to get everything okay'd by the professionals. We love the gals at Super Car Seat Geek, but if you're not local, you can find a CPST in your area HERE.

And check out these super cute Milestone cards that are just perfect for vacation- the Baby Activity Cards featuring 30 activity milestones such as first trip to a museum, first trip to the beach, first boat ride, and of course, first road trip.
Milestone Activity Cards make a perfect road trip companion.

No. 2: Organize
Start with a clean car. Empty all of the extra items and trash, vacuum, and clean out storage areas. Keep a soft bin or bag packed with essentials such as wipes, paper towels, a change of clothes for the kids, hand sanitizer, and an empty bag or two for holding trash within easy access. The last thing you want to do when someone has an accident or makes a mess is rummage through your suitcases looking for clean clothes and a way to wash up.
Organize snacks and activities so that they are easy to reach and sort through.

No. 3: Survive the Drive
This can be the tricky part, but if you go prepared it can really be pretty stress-free. Plan to stop every couple of hours for bathroom breaks and to stretch. Keep in mind that kids in car seats cannot move around as much to stretch and get comfortable as an adult can, so they really need more frequent breaks.  Look for parks, rest stops with open areas, or restaurants with play places to build in some play time to your regular stops.

We love the book/CD sets from Barefoot Books for car travel.

Keep a little potty in the car for emergency bathroom breaks. It's much easier (and cleaner) than trying to get the 2 year old to squat in the bushes.
Pack to distract. Lots of distractions. We buy new movies when they're on sale and stash them away for road trips. We also pack a soft bin of activities for each kid. Use caution when choosing toys for the car as heavy and/or hard objects can injure passengers in the event of even a minor accident.
SO Awesome Wallet Cards are a great road trip activity.

Here are some things we love for the car:
Main Lesson Books for coloring, drawing, stickers, and playing games like hangman,
Lightweight magnetic story boards (keep small pieces in a zipper bag to avoid losing them in the car)
So Awesome Wallet Card Sets
Paperback books, like these beautiful titles from Barefoot books that come with CDs - The Journey Home From Grandpa's, Walking Through the Jungle, and more
Finger puppets for imaginary play - check out these adorable puppets from dZi
Soft toys and teethers for baby, such as the Peppa Nonny Doll, Lilliputiens Teether Rattle, or the Robot Rattle from Pebble
Give baby something soft and safe in the car, like this Peppa Nonny doll.

Don't forget the snacks. My kids get hungry often in the car, plus frequent healthy snacks help keep them busy. Pack a Bento Lunchbag from ECO Lunchbox for each kid.
Don't forget the snacks! Pack each kid a lunchbag.

You can use small reusable containers, such as the Eco Lunchbox Stainless Seal Cups to separate cut veggies, crackers, slices of cheese, trail mix, etc. Keep spills to a minimum with the Eco Vessel Gobble and Go snack holder and Insulated Sippy Cup. Younger kids love food pouches paired with a ChooMe Sip n Spout Soft Top.

Gobble and Go Snack holders help keep messes to a minimum in the car.

Now, go grab your bags and get started on planning a fun and memorable summer family road trip!


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