We are the king and queen of road trips at our house. Our central Texas location means its only about 3 hours to get anywhere, and we often go visit family, friends, the beach and our ranch. I realize some of these things my be obvious, but if you are taking any trips this Summer, they might help.
1. Pack snacks for the car
No matter what time of day it is, the car makes H want to snack. So I use her ziploc lunch containers to pack snacks that don't need to be refrigerated. My favorites are PB&J, grapes, fish, raisins, popcorn and applesauce pouches. I don't love feeding her fast food, so I will pack it extra full if it needs to double as a meal.
2. Limit drinks in the car
The less we have to stop the better. We limit drinks for all of us so we don't have to stop. We can make it on a 4 hour trip without stopping. Its great.
3. Plan around nap time
This one is kind of obvious, but if its a longer trip we try to to plan at least half of it to be around nap time. Once we even left around her bed time and planned on her sleeping the whole way, but that didn't work, she was up in the car from 7:30 pm till we got there at 11. Whoops!
4. Portable DVD player
We are low-tech, no built in DVD players for us. We have a portable Sony one that was a great investment. We let her watch movies only on long road trips, and we have some headphones to use on an airplane. I have also found that if it is hard to get her to calm down at bedtime in a new place, a little movie time can help.
5. You Tube sing-a-long on the ipad
We have been known to pull up church songs on You Tube and have a family sing along if we get desperate!
6. Snacks for when visiting
Always pack some healthy snacks for during the visit. I usually ask our host to pick up milk, but I will bring whatever else I need so I make sure she has good things to eat!
7. Be flexible with sleeping arrangements
We had a Baby Bjorn travel crib when she was younger and we LOVED it. She is getting a little too big for it now, so when we stay at some one's and all have to share a room, I usually let her fall asleep in the big bed, then transfer her to the travel crib when it is time for us to go to bed.
8. Unpack as soon as you get home!
When we get home on Sunday's I unpack and immediately start laundry. This part sucks, but I hate starting my week off disorganized!
9. Get back on schedule for Monday morning
On weekends, H goes to bed much later than during the week. After a long road trip, we sometimes shorten her Sunday nap or skip it all together so she is ready for bed back at her normal time (7:45) and can get plenty of rest to start her week on Monday!
10. Let the little stuff slide
Last but not least, I tend to let the little stuff slide while we are out of town, and not stress. If she wants to fall asleep on the couch with a blanket while we are visiting with friends, why not? I want to enjoy myself too, so I try not to be as strict and rigid when we are out of town. I don't want to spend 2 hours trying to get her to nap during the day if she is just not feeling it. Go with the flow and have fun!