A little background: My husband worked for the National Park Service before we moved back to Dallas. Since we are both in education, we are able to go to the parks during the summer and take a little sabbatical.
This summer, we are in Yosemite National Park, located in California, for an extended period of time. Daniel left a few weeks before us, so the kids could go to camp, and I could have some “me time.” This means, ROAD TRIP for me, the kids, and my mother-in-law. (Lucky for me, I have a wonderful relationship with my mother-in-law!)
So now you wonder, wait…you drove from Texas to California with your kids and mother-in-law? Well, yes, I did. And I must say, besides a few tantrums and hotel mix-ups, we had a great time. The total trip was 3 days and 2 nights; we were in the car for about 10 hours a day (including food, bathroom, and some sightseeing).
Now that I feel like a pro, here are my top tips & tricks for road trips with your family:
1. Iris Rainbow Photo & Craft Cases
These were great storage containers for markers and crayons.
2. Connecting Storage Bins
I bought 2 of these bins for the road trip—one for each kid—and filled them with activities for the car ride. Note: I did not put all activities in these bins at once! I would switch them out every day, so they had something different (and so they wouldn’t go through all of the activities at once). You know how kids are…
3. Activities to Keep Kids Entertained in the Car
I’m not ashamed about screen time on long road trips! We have Amazon Fire tablets, and the kids watched movies/tv shows and played games. Make sure you DOWNLOAD your Prime and Netflix videos, since there’s no Wi-Fi. We’ve made that mistake before, and it was not good! To attach the tablets to the car seats, we bought these tablet headrest mounts. They are inexpensive and work perfectly! Don’t forget headphones for kids that stay on little ears and are very durable. And you’ll definitely want a dual USB car charger. This was a biggie, so the tablets stay charged and can be charged at the same time. Our Nintendo Switch also kept my 5-year-old son busy and engaged. All the devices!
5. Friends who packs you snacks!
This was such a sweet gesture and fun to find different treats that you wouldn’t necessarily pack yourself!
6. Fun Podcasts, Books, and Pandora/Spotify/Apple Music
7. PATIENCE, PATIENCE, PATIENCE
As much as you think you have it all together, things don’t go always go as planned. There will have to be a little go-with-the-flow. I have to say, it was SO fun to see signs for different sightseeing spots that weren’t too far off the road and actually stop and check them out (i.e., THE HOOVER DAM). Worth it!
Hope this helps—don’t stress and make it fun!