I recently went on a road trip… my 3 kids + my husband + a Highlander + a TON of stuff… 16 hours to California.
Through the process, I quickly discovered that there are some things I just can’t live without when planning our next trek. Will I share my road trip essentials with you? Of COURSE I will, yo!
#1 ESSENTIAL: Food… well, not just food, but MEALS
Most everyone is trying to save money, and vacation (while I see it as REALLY necessary for family bonding time), is not the best way to do that. My goal was to cut corners where I could. One of those ways you can cut corners is to bring as much of your own food as possible.
Tip #1: Stock up on snacks for the kids and adults. Grab whatever you have in the house and repurpose it into a road snack: a bag of cheerios, a few That’s It bars, some mandarin oranges, a bunch of bananas, etc.
Tip #2: Drink up! There’s no reason to purchase bottled water along the way. Instead, bring a few reusable bottles filled with water. If you run out of water mid-trip, fill it up at a gas station soda fountain (ahem… with water, not soda).
Tip #3: Bring an easy, healthy breakfast to munch on while on the road.
- a toasted peanut butter sandwich + an apple,
- dry cereal + a banana,
- a clean bar, like Lara, Kind, or That’s It + 2 mandarin oranges
- a to-go oatmeal, like Modern Oats
Modern Oats, Chocolate Cherry Ingredients
So, let’s talk about Modern Oats. I wasn’t sure about them when I first heard of the concept. I mean, it’s healthy oatmeal… how exciting could it be? Turns out that it’s not only incredibly flavorful, but it’s also very easy to make and eat on the go. I liked every flavor in the picture, but my favorite is the Chocolate Cherry (see ingredients above). I can tell you with full confidence that it must be because of the chocolate — get’s a girl every time!
I used Modern Oats in 3 ways on my road trip:
- I prepared it and ate it at my mom’s house when I wanted a pre-run breakfast,
- I prepared the hot water in a hotel microwave, poured it in, replaced the lid and left for another leg of my trip, and
- I got a green tea from Starbucks and asked them for a small cup of hot water. I poured it in and we hopped on the freeway
Tip #4: Bring an actual meal or two to consume on the road. This can save you $20-40 each meal! The products that allowed me to do this are my Fit & Fresh containers. I’m thrilled that I found these containers, because I see tons of uses for them beyond road trips: picnics, amusement parks, festivals, the zoo, a museum, lunches at work 0r school, BBQs in the backyard, etc. Why do I like them over my normal food storage containers? They have a built-in ice pack! My packs stayed cool for 3-1/2 to 4 hours depending on the size of the pack (i.e. the salad container has a larger ice pack than the 1-cup snack container. Snag a deal on the containers.
What did I store in my Fit & Fresh containers throughout my trip?
- peanut butter and jelly sandwiches,
- a salad,
- black olives,
- cut veggies
#2 ESSENTIAL: Easy Fitness Go-Tos
I stopped several times along the way to workout, because 1) we all know what a vacation can do to your waistline, 2) it helped me unfold – it was like the adult version of running around in circles, and 3) endorphines! It made me one happy mama. Here’s how it worked:
- I waited until we needed a break for our picnic lunch or just some time for the kids to burn off some energy
- I used quick and effective workouts so I could relieve my husband as quickly as possible and allow him to get his sweat on, also. Need ideas? Try my 9 Road Trip Workouts.
- I brought a resistance band to use when I wanted to do something other than body weight exercises
- I brought my athletic shoes, plus a few workout outfits. You won’t need to many if you’ll have laundry available to you
#3 ESSENTIAL: Bring something special for each of the kids
I think it’s important to have each kid have at least one item that you brought specifically for them. So, what’d I choose for my 3 tikes?
Almost 4-year-old girl:
Water Wow by Melissa & Doug. Oh lordy, this will be a staple in my house from here on out! What an amazing (& clean) way to keep her busy! Not only that, unlike other paint with water books, this one is reusable. I let her paint for a while, then we dry the book out so she can paint it again later.
Books – a ton of books. Of course, I chose books that he hadn’t read too many times, and I kept my choices to paperback. I put them all in a sturdy reusable bag so that I could easily reach into the back seat, pick one out, and hand it to my toddler.
Eat, sleep, poop, right? I brought the cotton version of the Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleepsuit, which was just as amazing as the original version! Although it’s a little less stiff than the fleece sleepsuit, it provides enough comfort for my infant to sleep very well in it. It’s also a little cooler than the fleece version and keeps my baby safe from the constantly unwrapping swaddle.
I still stick to my opinion that if your home is temperature controlled, the fleece version works just fine, especially if your baby likes the stiffness of it. One other benefit to the cotton version for me is that for my short baby, it seems to be easier to keep the hands and feet sticking out of the cuffs – possibly because it is less stiff? <– you got me on that one
Click here to see my full review of the Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleepsuit.
So there you have it!
Family trips can be hard, whether you have 1, 3, or 7 kids. I hope the road trip essentials above make your trip less hectic and a little more enjoyable.
Disclaimer: I was provided free samples of Modern Oats, Fresh & Fit containers, and the cotton Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleepsuit to try with no expectation or request for a review. I decided to do a review, because I happened to love these particular products. The other products recommended above are products I simply wanted to give a shout-out to.