Ever since London was just two weeks old we have been what I like to call “road warriors!” She was born July 1st, just a week before her Daddy’s busiest travel month of the year so I learned pretty quickly that if I wanted help, I would have to get accustomed to traveling with baby in tow! Now that we have added Malia to the mix, trips have gotten a bit more interesting!
We make the three hour drive from Massachusetts to Maine to see family so often that I feel like I have it down to a science. I mean, there are sometimes “bumps” in the road LITERALLY and figuratively, but I’ve figured out what works and what doesn’t when road tripping with two kids so here are some of my tips and tricks…
Pack ALL the snacks. Seriously…all of them. You can never pack too many. London once went through an entire bag of “Yogi’s” (freeze dried yogurt drops) on a trip. As far as I’m concerned, all bets are off when you are in the midst of any sort of travel situation; car, plane, train, etc. Some other snack ideas are: graham crackers, pb&j, banana, cut-up fruit, squeeze apple sauce (if you think your toddler can handle this on their own), raisins, goldfish, animal crackers, and LOLLIPOPS. I like to keep a stash of dum-dums in my car at all times for a little “pick me up” when it’s REALLY hitting the fan!
Make a special playlist. This applies to London, since 7-month old Malia doesn’t have a choice. Lo LOVES music. She could probably sing and listen to her favorite Disney princess songs over and over again the entire ride. I would go a little nuts, so I like to make a special list and build it up to her the morning of our trip. I usually say, “Oh, London! I have an amazing music list that I put together for you for the drive…I’m so excited!” That’s typically all it takes to pique her interest. While we’re on the topic of music - don’t hesitate to blast some good old static from the AM stations if your baby is starting to lose it in the car. If they have a full belly and a fresh diaper - they’re probably just over being in the car and honestly, the static sounds like white noise and usually can calm them down slash drown out the noise a little for you!
Invest in SAFE and comfortable car seats. Let’s face it - this is the most important on the list! If you’re driving any sort of distance you want your kids to be comfortable AND hello - SAFE! We recently switched London to the new NextFit Zip Max by Chicco! The convertible car seat transitions from rear-facing to forward-facing to accommodate children from 4 pounds all the way to 65 pounds and what I love is that if we decided to use it for Malia - it allows for extended rear-facing up to 50 pounds! I always think, UGH my poor kids, their knees are in their chest when they’re rear-facing but it really is the safest position for them and the NextFix Zip Max offers 25% more legroom in rear-facing mode than other Chicco models! It also has extended calf support in forward-facing mode, which is a huge bonus. I actually took a photo because I wanted you guys to see what I’m talking about with the leg support/more leg space!
I always seem to have a difficult time installing car seats but I feel like I can actually handle this one! You can achieve a tight fit using a vehicle seat belt or LATCH connector thanks to the SuperCinch feature, which is a force-multiplying tightener that helps secure the seat with less effort. ALSO worth mentioning because kids are messy :) … the car seat has a zip-off machine washable seat pad so you know, when a yogurt or applesauce inevitably explodes in the car, it’s not the end of the world!
The NextFit Zip Max is available online at ChiccoUSA.com and in select stores for $369.99, but the entire Chicco NextFit line was recently upgraded and also features additional models at a variety of price points to fit every budget.
Screens are your friend. As I mentioned before, all bets are off when you’re traveling. I love to have a few of London’s favorite shows locked and loaded on the iPad. She is currently obsessed with Starfall ABC, which is a free educational app that’s on my phone so I put that on the iPad as well. We also like to play a few games to buy time. “I Spy” is always a huge hit and can usually eat up at least 15 minutes. I also like to get Lo looking out the window at the view / whatever we are passing. I literally say “tell me what you see” and she describes what she sees and then I do the same. We also like to name each color car that passes. These sound like the simplest of games and they really are - but they’ll help pass some time!
Plan a pit-stop if you need a break. We seem to always be driving north so I know a lot of the rest stops on the way, but if you’re driving somewhere and you don’t know the route, make sure you map it and check for safe places to pull over if you need to. Speaking of safety, always check the weather a few days before! I forget to do this all the time and there’s nothing worse than planning your trip, packing the car and then realizing the weather is terrible. It’s happened to me too many times!
Where is your next road trip?! I think we may be going to Maine again in the near future but also want to take the girls to Burlington, Vermont next month too! What are some of your own ideas you can share with me to make our road trips even smoother?!
This post is sponsored by Chicco. As always all thoughts and opinions are my own.