We travel a lot. In the last three years we have done a weekly road trip for our summer vacation with three (and now four kids) under the age of 8. We travel for holidays and when my husband has had job interviews out of town. In the last year alone we have spent 16 nights in 10 different hotels. I’ve tried lots of different ideas I’ve found on Pinterest, and here are the things I think are useful – I think you will, too.
1. SMALL ORGANIZER = FOOD CADDY
This is our favorite and most-used tip. I found small plastic organizers at Target Dollar Spot and at the Dollar Store. They have one large rectangular spot and two smaller spots that are perfect for holding fast food or snacks. The nuggets or sandwich go in the large spot while fries and a juice box fit perfectly on the other side. We can easily fill them up and pass them back to the kids. The kids aren’t fumbling around trying to open packages and the garbage is contained instead of flung around the back seats. They easily stack together when not in use and can be thrown in the dishwasher to be cleaned.
2. ZIPPERED STORAGE BAGS
For each day we will be traveling I pack an outfit for all the kids in one storage bag. If you have one or two kids a gallon-sized bag will do, but if you have four kids like I do, you’ll need to get two-gallon bags. Take the first outfit and lay down the pants, then the undies, and then the socks and the shirt on top. Roll them up and place them in the bag. Do this for each child’s outfit, stacking them on top of each other in the bag. Label the bag for a day of the week or if they are pajamas. Instead of unpacking the entire suitcase you only need to pull out that day’s bag.
3. EMERGENCY KIT
It will happen. Someone is going to get sick, have a headache, need a Band-Aid, or need to clean his or her hands. I pack up a small container and keep it under one of the seats for when emergencies strike. This way we can take care of the problem without having to find a Walgreens or spend a small fortunate at a gas station.
• Advil (children’s and adult)
• Baby wipes
• Hand sanitizer
• Anti-itching sticks
• Doggie waste bags. (We don’t have any dogs, but these come in very handy. A child can use one if he or she gets sick, or you can use them for dirty diapers, soiled clothes, or trash. They hold in the smell and are very compact.)
4. BED BUMPERS
One of the things that scares me is the thought of the younger kids rolling off the bed at night. To help keep this from happening, I take two extra pillows and tuck them under the fitted sheet. The pillows won’t fall off the bed, and they create a bump that helps reduce the likelihood the child will roll off. (This tip should NOT be used with infants.)
5. STREAM MOVIES
Hotels have a very limited number of TV channels, especially for young children. We bring our laptops along with an HDMI cord. Most hotel TVs have a connecting port so that we can hook up the laptop and change the TV setting to HDMI. This allows us to watch movies from streaming services such as Amazon and Disney Anywhere or to play DVDs.
6. COMPACT CD HOLDER
Since we’re on the topic of movies, we use portable DVD players in the car. For us it’s inconvenient to store the discs in a visor holder, so instead I use a portable zippered CD case. The kids can store them in the back, and it’s easy to grab the small case and bring it inside the hotel to use with the laptop.
7. GLOW STICKS
This is my kid’s favorite tip. If we are traveling at night I make sure to grab a few glow sticks from the Dollar Store. When it gets dark out, we light them up for the kids to wear and use as lights if they need to find something or are trying to read.
No matter where the road takes you, enjoy the journey. Hopefully some of these tips will help make it easier. Happy trails!