As someone who grew up in a warm climate, the Canadian winters are harsh, to say the least. Most people know how cold Canadian winters are, and so when summer comes around people (and when I say ‘people’ I mean ME) pretty much lose their minds.  I go all out with the outdoor activities and my poor children are not allowed to step inside the house unless there is a hurricane. Because we cannot go on any local outdoor trips in the winter I always like to plan a few summer getaways for the whole family so we can be out in nature.

Our summer trips usually require us to spend quite a few hours crammed into a car together. Now of course I always bring the trusty IPad, but I really believe in having that quality time together and I want my kids to remember the ROAD trip not just the movie they saw on the way. With two energetic boys this can be a challenge, but after many road trips I have some tricks up my sleeve to keep things civilized and sometimes enjoyable.  Don’t forget to pack these essentials on your next road trip and I promise it will make your life much easier.

A Potty

Imagine this: your driving 120km per hour on a very busy highway with six wheelers on each side of you. Your 4 year old suddenly screams “I have to go the bathroom”, you check the map and realize there is 30 minutes until the next rest stop. You have no choice but to stop at the side of the road on the smallest side strip and pray no one hits you. You get your bundle of joy out and they declare they can’t go unless they have a toilet. Then you remember how smart you are for bringing the potty. Once again the potty saves the day! (Your welcome)

Sunshade for the windows

If you need to drive on the highway for 5 hours while your child complains that the sun is in his eyes and he cant see, it will be a bummer for everyone. Make sure every window has a sunshade to keep the heat and sun out of the car. You can even use a towel if you find yourself in a bind.

Snacks

If you are going to bring nothing else, you MUST bring snacks. Fun snacks can save almost every situation, from meltdown to fighting over what movie to watch. Pack low sugar, but fun snacks your child will enjoy that will keep them full until the next meal. Also try to avoid things that are too messy like applesauce.

Toys

Of course you are going to load a backpack of toys for the kids to play with, but keep in mind WHAT toys you are bringing along for the ride. A few days before the trip pay close attention to what toys keep your child’s attention the longest and make sure to bring them along. Also, avoid small toys like Lego or anything with small parts.

Shoe organizer

This is an absolutely igneous hack that will save your trip. At the dollar store you can buy a shoe organizer and hang in on the back of the car seats. This way you can place your child’s games, I-pads, water bottles, snacks in arms reach. I don’t know about your kids, but the second mine get into their car seats they remember they are hungry, thirsty, itchy, bored…etc. This way you don’t have to be their personal stewardess and they can just grab what they need.

Garbage container

The other day I cleaned my car out from top to bottom and it was such a pleasure! That is until my kids got into it. Five minutes into the car ride and it looked like I haven’t cleaned it in years. So you can imagine what its like on a road trip! Garbage galore. Do yourself a favor and buy a nice garbage container with a lid that you can throw out all the snack wrappers, banana peals and so on. This way you can try to keep the mayhem and the smells, to a minimum while on the road.

Road trips with kids are FUN, exhausting and never boring. So if you are thinking twice about getting into that car, don’t, because the memories you are making with your family are priceless and really will last a lifetime.

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Rotem Stark
Rotem Stark is a parenting blogger/vlogger who shares expert advice and practical tips that make parenting a little less crazy for everyone! She has 2 young boys and spends her days running after them, drinking coffee and dancing to pop music.

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