When I tell people we drive to Colorado with our kids I get lots of “Have you lost your mind?” looks. The answer to that is “maybe”…but the two weeks in the mountains with my husband and my kids is worth the 13 hours of possible disaster. We have been coming every summer since Cliff was a baby and have learned some things along the way! Here are a few of those things…
- Leave really early…like 3 or 4 am early. We did that this year and it was AMAZING! Alden drove the early hours while the kids and I slept in the back. So by the time everyone was awake we had 4 hours of the drive completed and behind us.
- Snacks, snacks and more snacks! They can be healthy or unhealthy…just whatever it’s takes to keep everyone happy.
- Pack lunches- I made peanut butter sandwiches for everyone the night before and packed Cliff’s Yumbox. This allowed us all to eat without stopping.
- Movies! Our Yukon XL has a built in DVD player so we bought some old school Disney movies and watched those. Last year when we didn’t have the built in dvd player we bought a portable one to strap on the back of the seat and that worked just fine! It is my own humble opinion that one day of too much screen time won’t hurt anyone. But if you are very against this disregard this tip!
- Adult in the back seat. This person keeps all the little people happy without having to be climbing back and forth. If you get car sick (like me) make sure you pack some Sprite and Dramamine.
- Car friendly activities- I packed an IKEA box with some of Cliff’s favorite toys- Squigz, rocks, animals and some cars. I also packed some WaterWow coloring book, some stickers and one thing of play doh.
- Lots of patience and low expectations! Kids are kids and are completely unpredictable. Last year Cliff did awful in the car and I told myself I would never make the drive again. Well, I did and he did AMAZING this year!! I also went in expecting it to be horrible and was pleasantly surprised. Also, for those of you who have your kids on a schedule…throw it out the window for a travel day this long. For example: Brooke usually takes 2-3 naps a day each 1.5-2 hours long. On our drive she probably took 7 30 minute naps.
- Nursing mamas-consider pumping during the drive and bottle feeding. This makes it so that you don’t have to stop every time the nursing baby is hungry.
We stay at a family house so we have the luxury of shipping via Amazon most of what we need to the house. If you are staying at a place like this consider this option so that you don’t have to load up your entire house. We have been leaving the kid’s stuff here so that it’s here the next year or for other family members that come. If you don’t have this option I would recommend looking into what you are able to rent once you get there. So, whether you buy, rent or bring your own here is a list of what I think you need to travel well with kids. Keep in mind my kids are 5 months old and 2.5 years old so anyone with older kids may need additional or different items.
- Crib/matress or Pack N Play for babies
- Crib sheets (for crib or pack n play)
- Inflatable bumpers for toddlers
- Noise maker for each kid room
- Black Out Curtains
- Swaddle/sleep sack or blankets
- Lovey and/or pacifiers
- Books (or whatever is a part of your usual bedtime routine)
- Baby soap & shampoo
- Baby bath (optional) – We have been putting a towel on the bottom of the bath and laying Brooke on it.
- Hooded towel and wash cloth
- Lotion/baby oil
- Thermometer & medicines
- Nose Frida & Saline
- Highchair or Lobster seat
- Bottles/Sippy Cups
- Eating Utensils – bowls, snack containers, spoons, forks, bibs etc
- Food (baby food, formula, breastmilk etc)
- Pump and pump parts/milk storage (for nursing/pumping moms)
- Age appropriate toys
- Blanket for floor (if baby isn’t walking yet)
- Baby seat/bouncer/jumper (whatever your baby prefers)
- Weather appropriate clothes (pants and/or shorts, shirts, jackets, vests, bathing suits, socks)
- Undies/Panties (if potty trained)
- Hats and sunscreen (if going to be outside)
- Shoes (tennis shoes, water shoes, hiking shoes)
For those of you who have made it to the end of this post here are just some of my favorite pictures from our trip so far