One of the highlights of parenting my two-year-old twin boys is experiencing the world through their eyes. To date, they have been on almost twenty trips, including five countries. The majority of these trips were via air travel. This mama is not really the road trip type of gal. However, when the pandemic hit and the threat of no travel for nine plus months became more of a reality, I knew this “anti-road trip” mama would need a change of perspective. Below are the tips that I use to plan a road trip with my kids in order to continue our travel fun despite the pandemic.
Know Thyself (And Your Kiddos)
Before you start to plan your road trip with your kids, take a second and have an honest conversation with yourself. How many hours are you willing to ride in the car before it becomes too much? If you are like me and not a big fan of road trips, choose your first road trip wisely. Just dip your toe in the water. Find a location that is a one or two hour drive away to see how well it goes.
It is equally as important to take your kids personalities into consideration when planning a road trip. Every kid is different. Some kids can sit in their car seat for hours without any issues, while other kids need a bit more practice and convincing.
Practice Makes Perfect
Believe it or not, we just completed an eight hour road trip with our kids. It went so well that we’re debating about doing another, maybe even a further distance. (Who would’ve thought!)
The only way we were able to do this is by practice. Before taking this eight hour trip, we had done three previous road trips that were between two and four hours long. On the previous trips, we learned what worked for us and what areas still need improvement.
One area of improvement that was quickly identified was the need for more space.
Dare I Say…Rent A Minivan
Yes, you read that right. If you do not own a minivan, rent one for your road trip, especially for your longer trips.
A minivan provides enough space to transport all of the belongings that twins require while giving everyone enough space to stretch out comfortably. The game changer for me was when a two-year-old tantrum was in full effect and I was able to swiftly move from the passenger seat to retrieve the dropped item which had ignited World War III.
Sleepy Time Is Your Friend
Schedule your driving time strategically. Try early in the morning before their scheduled wake time, during naptime, or before bedtime. Nothing is better than the sweet silence, or snores, of your kiddos for hours at a time. This gives you the opportunity to enjoy the drive or catch a few zzz’s yourself.
Oh, and don’t forget their favorite blankets.
For the time that your kiddos are not asleep, you must have entertainment. There are three categories of entertainment that I recommend you bring on your road trip with your kids. Parents of twins should be sure to bring two of each item to reduce the risk of fighting.
Like any human, new things will pique your kiddos interest. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Just something different and interesting.
For our last trip, I purchased them a buckle pillow. It has several different color buckles for them to match, buckle, and unbuckle.
Reserved For Travel Only
The magnetic tiles are always a travel win. They’ve been using these since they were infants..
Similar to something new, items reserved for specific occasions gives a feeling of nostalgia- something for the kiddos to look forward to playing with.
They love their kid-proof, Fire HD 8 Kids Edition Tablet.
A road trip is not complete without their beloved items. Right now, it’s their tablets. To avoid any potential meltdowns, we make sure to charge them before the trip and download all of their favorite programs. If there is a show or game that does not offer a download option, use the hotspot from your cell phone.
Snacks and Meals
I have three words: snacks, snacks, and snacks. If your kiddos are anything like mine, you can never have enough snacks. Some of our favorites include freeze-dried strawberries, cheese bites, Trader Joe’s Bamba Peanut Butter Puffs, popcorn, and Veggie Straws.
To “contain” the mess, I put their snacks either in their snack catcher or in their car seat cup holder. On your next trip, try using the snack catcher to serve a charcuterie-style meal. Add the salami, cheese, crackers, and fruit, and voila! You have a balanced meal that provides a variety of options in one spill-proof container.
My twins enjoying the charcuterie board, on the go.
Take Advantage of Gas and Meal Stops
Be prepared to make a stop every two to four hours, depending on your kid’s age and temperament. If possible, research playgrounds or kid-friendly options in advance. At the minimum, make sure you give your kiddos the chance to stretch their legs and walk around at any stops you make, even if it’s at a gas station.
This concept still applies to infants. Now of course, they can’t walk yet, but still take them out of their carseat, whether it’s to change their diapers and feed them or just give them a little extra TLC and kisses.
Patience is a Virtue
Let’s not kid ourselves,children will be children. So come well-rested in preparation for any “fun” your kiddos may present. When that “fun” presents itself, try not to let it get the best of you. If necessary, turn on their or your favorite tunes, grab a snack, and try to enjoy the moment as much as possible.
Marquita, The Traveling Twin Mama, has been to over 32 countries. After having her twins, she was set on showing them the world. Once seeing the world through their eyes, she wanted to inspire and help other women and families do the same. You can find their travel journey and tips at https://marquitastravels.com or https://instagram.com/marquitastravels.