Tuesday, November 19, 2013

It's that time of year . . . road trips!

     Hours-long car rides, road trips, and cross-country flights! Hooray! Ha. There's a good chance you may be driving a little ways for a holiday gathering very soon. I know we are and even though it's not our first trip I always have something new to figure out. There's always something I almost forget. There's plenty of things that I do forget.

Maybe you've visited this blog before and know I've posted about this before!

One way or another here are some of my tips for road trips:

Road Trips Ain't For Babies: The Basics - Part 1

Road Trips Ain't For Babies: The Basics - Part 2

If you don't want to read through all that here are my top quick tips and recommendations for making things go a little bit smoother:

  • Clean out your car beforehand. A quick clutter-pick-up or a deep cleaning. It feels better to be in a nice clean vehicle on a long drive.
  • Triple check your car seat installation!!!
  • Make a packing list. Double check it as you pack. As you put things in the car, mark it off. Go over it one more time right before locking up and leaving.
  • Keep a fresh copy of your list to make it easier to re-pack when you head home!
  • Use disposable diapers for any liquid spills. They rarely leave even the slightest damp spot if you get to it quickly. Cheap cloth diapers work great too.
  • Always have a spare towel or some old rags in the car. 
  • However many diapers, pull ups or changes of clothes you might need bring at least double. I personally keep a few diapers or pull ups and/or one change of clothes for each kid in the diaper bag and another bunch of diapers, pulls ups, and clothes in a fabric bin. Don't forget socks. 
  • Bring a change of clothes FOR YOU. If you don't want to fill up the front of the car just put an easy outfit in the top of your suitcase, duffel bag, or an extra bag with some spare room.
  • Every day things like toiletries, sunglasses, or your cell phone may slip your mind. Add them to your list or keep extras in the car.
  • Create a "misc bin" for those things you'll need for accidents or that might be easy to forget.*
  • Try to enjoy the ride or flight. Sing, read, talk, be quiet, play games. It will be over soon.

  • If you are short on space one (or more) of these back seat organizers are relatively cheap and sturdy. They are out of the way but they can hold a lot of little things like phone chargers, tissues, snacks, emergency flashlight or umbrella, bandaids and neosporin, hand sanitizer or baby wipes, card games, notepad and pens, sippy cups or bottles, small toys, a list of phone numbers, or maybe spare change.

  • The girls each have their own suitcasesbackpacks (err "pack pack", as they say), and tote bags. This makes it easy to pack for them and to distinguish their things. It has also made it simpler to save space in the diaper bag (or one day again my normal people purse) for necessities.

  • I love these fabric bins for car-trip toys, a snack box, and for those spare changes of clothes and extra diapers and my "misc bin". They are flexible yet sturdy. They fold up flat when they are empty too!

  • This thing right here (the fisher price rock n play sleeper) is going to be my savior on space this trip. (And right this moment it's on sale!) It's lighter and smaller than the pack n play (but still sturdy). It folds flat so it will fit easily in the trunk of a sedan or anywhere in a van. I don't have to bring TWO pack n plays and it's much easier to move from room to room wherever you're going as well. We will still have a traditional pack n play for Sweet Pea. Bitty Bug now sleeps on this comfy little cot. This also folds up small but kind of like a camping chair though a good bit smaller.

  • *Here's what we put in our "misc bin" or in a safe place for just-in-case along with a tool box: 
  • paper towels (either a full roll or 10+ sheets)
  • toilet paper (the tiny roll in the camping aisle)
  • travel-size baby wipes
  • a trash bag
  • several plastic bags (like target or walmart)
  • a few ziplocs
  • multi-tool
  • fix-a-flat
  • tape (packing tape or duck tape)
  • flashlight
  • jumper cables
  • ice scraper
  • umbrella
  • a piece of cardboard and/or a towel (for getting out of mud or ice)
  •   And a final but very important note, don't forget that there is a good chance any after-market products for your kid's car seats, whether it's a cover, a toy, or another accessory, will likely void the warranty! Safety-wise it seems there are only anecdotes but most car seat manuals specify that any extra add-ons that aren't specifically manufactured or sold by the manufacturer of the seat may not only pose a safety risk but will deem your car seat non-replaceable in the event of any accident or recall. Check the manual! If it's not still attached to the seat itself you can probably find it online easily.

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