Last weekend, I took my kids on an 8 hour road trip to go visit my mom in Ohio. I really love my mama, and the kids are getting older, so these trips aren't a total nightmare, but I still always feel like I'm living dangerously when I take them that far from home by myself. I've been making this trip for the past 4 years though, and I've learned some hard lessons on the open road, lessons I want you to avoid learning the hard way. These tips are great for long road trips, but they can also be really useful for everyday. Here are the things I've learned to keep in my minivan to stop tantrums, clean messes and handle emergencies.
Garbage bags and plastic bags- I love to keep extra bags in my center console and in every seat back pocket. The kids can use them to pick up their own trash. For long trips I hang a large trash bag on the back of the passenger seat.
A large flat sheet- This is great to lay across the bottom of your van or car if you're going on a long trip, have a sick kid, or if you're like us and have a dog who throws up every time she's in the car. It makes clean up so much easier. I keep this in my trunk, in case of emergencies.
Febreze or other air freshener-If someone has an accident or gets sick, the smell can be hard to take. The Febreze will help to minimize the smell until you can get home and can really take care of it.
A Roll of paper towels in the front seat- I have a three year who really hates to get dirty so keeping paper towels within arms reach is really important. I can easily pass her a paper towel when she spills her water on herself.
Empty water bottles- Keep a few small empty water bottles or sippy cups in your van or car. Often my kids decided they are dying of thirst five minutes after we've left the house. If I have extra cups I can fill them up with water from my own water bottle. If you don't usually have a your own water, throw some bottled water in your center console.
Extra snacks- Nuts, trail mix, gold fish, protein and granola bars are great things to keep in the car if you suddenly have ravenous kids. This tip keeps tantrums at bay.
Small bowls, plates, plastic silverware and straws- These things are great to have handy on a road trip, but even for every day.
A small backpack full of card games, books, coloring supplies, small toys, etc.- This backpack is great for bringing in to restaurants, doctor's appointments or any time your kids will be waiting and needing something to keep them occupied.
Extra car charger-I've been burned before with a car charger that suddenly stops working. I always keep an extra one in my glove compartment. Even better, keep a fully charged portable charger in there and have instant charging wherever you need to go.
A First Aid Kit-I keep the kit within easy reach under the passenger seat and inside it I have:
- Band-aids of all sizes
- Hand sanitizer
- Alcohol wipes
- Cotton swabs
- Adhesive Tape
- Children's Ibuprofen and Claritin
- Benadryl spray
- A medicine cup and syringe
- Digital thermometer
- Safety pins
- Instant ice packs
Here's to keeping our cars clean and our kids safe and happy!