(Enter disclaimer text) Today’s post, Family of Six: Road Trip Ready, is going off the June BlogHer “NaBloPoMo” theme / prompt, what do you do to get ready for a trip?. I think it’s going to take some skill. Getting a family of 6 ready for a trip will be no small feat. Luckily, this week, we get to experience it for the first time.
Back it up four years ago to this first post about preparing for a trip. We packed everything but the kitchen sink. Now that our Durango will be filled with six humans, there is limited space so we won’t be packing as much this time around.
Road Trip Ready
Here are the five things I am planning on doing to make our first REAL road trip a success*:
1. Create a packing list.
As a planner, the list will have to be on paper and be accompanied by a pen to cross everything off as it gets packed. The list will be in sections – what to pack in the adult bag, big kid bag, and twins’ bag, as well as any additional baggage we might have. Additionally, the list will help ensure we don’t bring the kitchen sink and only the necessary items.
The Durango is spacious; however, the “trunk space” is completely taken up by our double stroller, so we have to utilize spaces in the seating sections of the truck, keeping in mind I may need to feed the girls bottles or break up a big kid fight as we drive down the highway. This list will be updated up to the moment we leave the house.
2017 Update – We are HUGE fans of using Trello to keep our lives organized. It’s a list that I can have on my PC and we both have on our phones. It’s really great for the whole teamwork side of parenting. If you have not used it yet, check it out today!
2. Charge electronics. “Back in the day”, this used to read go to AAA to get a map drawn up or go to MapQuest and print off a map, but today it means be sure your phone is charged so that you can use the GPS / Google Maps on it. Make sure the big kids have some type of electronic device charged and loaded with kid friendly apps that do not need to be on a network to run. Related, ensure we have been connected to WiFi as much as possible before to get the max life of our data plan + #1 should include “car chargers”.
Our must have chargers would be a Kanex GoPower Portable Battery or Fast Charging Car Charger (this one has an additional USB – PS, what did we ever do without fast charging?!?!). Both are available on Amazon, so if you’re reading this last minute, there is still time for you to jump over there and pick these up!
3. Make a road trip playlist. Greg and I both thrived on making epic road trip mix tapes and then CDs (again “back in the day”). Now, we can make an mp3 CD when we are taking the Durango or load one of our phones up with music if we are taking the van (thank goodness for bluetooth stereos!).
Traveling with four kids means that the music has to be somewhat kid-friendly for those moments when they break their headphones (happens every trip). Disney music or worship songs are usually good for this, then they fall asleep and the classics from our teenage-angsty years can come on.
4. Clean the car. Being stuck in a car that stinks of last month’s dirty socks is no fun. Bonus for cleaning all bodies that will be in the car as close to leaving as possible. Put in a car freshener that won’t make the passengers sneeze. For safety, clean all windows (inside and out) and check & adjust tire pressure. (Why are there always dirty socks when I clean out the cars?)
Bonus idea – After you clean those windows, put up a static cling car window shade so that the ‘lil ones’ noses don’t get sun burnt!
5. Prepare for Flexibility. Know that something is bound to go wrong. You’ll hit traffic or not leave when you want to. You’ll need to stop so your kid can pee on the roadside. Or maybe you’ll need to extract a chocolate chip from someone’s nose. These things happen.
Be prepared to eat on the go (have snacks on the list in #1) or adjust your planned arrival time. Don’t plan on leaving too close to your first planned activity — thanks to this one, we often end up leaving earlier than planned and have been known to roll into our destination with the sunrise (likely no longer happening with four kids).
What do YOU do to prepare for a road trip?
* Success of our road trip will depend on if we actually leave in a decent window of time compared to when I’d like to leave, if we have fun, and if we don’t forget the essentials (underwear and diapers).