There are two types of Road Trips: 1) the “driving as fast as we can to get to our real destination” type and 2) the “let’s see what weird and wacky things we can find while we stretch a 2.5 hour drive into 8 hours” type. Three years ago I took my then 4 and 6 year old daughters on one of those 2nd type of Road Trips through Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (more commonly known as the U.P. here in Michigan).
This summer I’ve decided to brave it out and take the kids on another one of those meandering Road Trips through more sections of the U.P. A road trip with a 2 year old will surely be an interesting adventure but I’ve got a plan and some tips to share on what helped making traveling off the beaten path a fun adventure for everyone last time.
1. A cooler full of food :: which family vehicle I plan on taking is completely being driven by my ability to fit both a jogging stroller and a very large cooler. Supplies for sandwiches, pre-cut veggies, cold drinks, fresh fruit, cheese sticks, and a gallon of milk make it easy to feed our family while traveling through areas with unreliable (if any) eating establishments. I lock the cooler in the car at night and just bring in whatever items we may need for snacks. Investing in a REALLY good cooler could save you money in being able to not eat out all your meals plus you always have a reliable fall back if you don’t find somewhere to eat along the road.
2. Be prepared :: Like the Boy Scout motto says be “ready, willing, and able to do what is necessary in any situation that comes along.” I will have a fully stocked First Aid kit, jumper cables, kid entertainment, an atlas (because some places we will go will NOT have cell reception), snacks, water, emergency cash, printed directions for planned routes, and a bathroom bag (toilet paper, hand sanitizer, & disinfectant wipe) for roadside stops.
3. Bring a nightlight & flashlights :: traveling with kids can be really fun, but once they go to bed at night you don’t want them waking up in terror at the new surroundings. I like to bring a night light to plug in to help make the unfamiliar seem less intimidating and a couple those glow-stick style flashlights nearby in case they have to get up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night.
What are your favorite tips for taking Road Trips with kids?