Many people recommend making lots of stops along the way in order to break up the trip for kids. We actually find that tackling the drive in one long day with lots of bathroom and stretch-our-legs breaks but no touristy stops works well for us. We generally leave around 3-4am and drive until we get there. It’s easier for our boys to know that they’re spending all day driving for one day than to get up for the second day and drive again (which makes it feel like we’re spending two days driving, even if it means we stopped earlier the night before). This also allows us to spend the most amount of time visiting family at our destination before we need to turn around and drive back home. We might tackle the driving differently if it was a sightseeing trip, and definitely would if there were places we wanted to see along the way.
So today, I’m getting things ready to go. I’ve prepared our packing list, so I know what we need to bring. This helps me to make sure that I don’t forget anything obvious or important (like bathing suits, the camera battery charger, or my toddler’s lovey). I’m also making a list of the food we’ll bring for us to eat on the road. On these trips, we pack all of our meals and eat as we get hungry in the car. That way we can spend our time outside of the car with our bodies in motion – and we all need that movement after so much sitting – instead of sitting in a restaurant.
I’ll also spend time preparing our house for us to leave. I’ll make sure all of the plants are watered, let our neighbors know that we’ll be out of town, and remind our friend who agreed to come by and feed our fish when we’ll be leaving (if he wasn’t coming by, I’d also put a hold on our mail).
I’ll pack all of our suitcases and the non-perishable food items, and we’ll have all of those loaded into the car the night before we leave. When we wake up, I’ll pack up the perishable food in our ice chest, we’ll all load into the car, and we’ll be headed west.
So what does our packing list consist of? Here you go:
California 2015 Packing List
Whole Family: 9 days
gnome baby (lovey)
My husband packs for himself
brush, hair clips
my book (fiction)
6yo books (3 little house books)
i-touch/charger (loaded with music/books on tape)
powdered laundry soap
toddler toilet seat
3 gallon water bottle
small water bottles for everyone
books – 5 picture
6yo’s self-packed project bag
Mary Poppins CD (for my boys’ dance performances)
Items to deliver to CA folks
What do you bring when you pack for road trips?