Car Travel with Kids Tips + Giveaways

    It’s getting to be that time of the year when the average American spends a lot of time in their car traveling, playing, camping and enjoying the warmer seasons.  While in general we spend a lot of time on the road already just because of where we live (it’s 1.5 hours to a big grocery store), we join the masses and do our best to get out and explore new areas in the summer.

    Since car travel (or, let’s be honest, any travel) with young kids can be tough, we’ve put together our best car-travel tips.  We’re also showing off a couple of products that we love (because they make the whole process easier) and giving them away too.


    Car Travel Tips:

    1. Make sure you are comfortable.   Wear comfortable clothing, dress in layers and be ready for all conditions.  For us, living in the mountains means we pack jackets and hats and gloves almost every month of the year.  This just allows us to get out and blow off steam.  This is going to sound like an ad, but really and truly I wear my Stonewear Designs clothing every time we travel (and no, they didn’t ask me to say that).  It’s just great for traveling because it’s comfortable, wears well, switches easily between car and running with kids and eating out, and it washes super easy.  I’m super lucky to be an Ambassador for them, but I loved their clothing way before I was an Ambassador and happily tell this to my family and friends.

      Car Travel with Kids Tips + Giveaways

      Enjoying a rest stop break (in some of my favorite Stonewear Designs)

    2. Set yourself up for the fact that despite all you do, the car will NOT be organized and neat when you get to your destination.  It’s inevitable and part of the adventure.
    3. Bring snacks.  Choose ones that are slightly less of an obvious mess-maker than others.  We steer far away from Ritz crackers and embrace things like cheese sticks that tend to be less messy.  But, please refer to Tip #1. Really – it’s going to happen.
    4. Stick to as normal of a schedule as you can.  Eat at your normal meal times and work to get naps to happen at the normal times.
    5. Bring something cozy for sleeping.  When we go on the super long trips, we drive as much as possible when the kids are asleep.  This year we are using the Undercover Bears by Lug.  They can either be a pillow or a blanket or both.  See full review and giveaway below.
    6. Check out some books on CD or some new (to you) DVDs from the library before you go.  Most libraries will let you keep them for a couple of weeks.  If you have kids of different ages, choose some for each of them (pictures books, chapter books, family stories, etc.)
    7. Plan on long stops to eat, use the restroom and, most important, get people out to run and play.  We love our Pocket Disc for some quick playing and running around.  It fits in a pocket, won’t break anything (or anyone) if it gets a little out of control and promotes lots of running.Car Travel with Kids Tips + Giveaways
    8. Let each child bring a small bag with toys they have chosen for the trip.  Right now in our life we tend to end up with a lot of little cars in those bags, and maybe some crayons or puzzles.  We choose to supervise what goes in them, but that’s up to you (if you want a ball thrown at you when you are driving, I mean…..not that that has ever happened in our family…..ever….).  We love the Swoop Mini.  It limits what they can bring, opens up for playtime and doubles as a sitting mat too.  See full review and giveaway below.
    9. Limit screen time.  While I am no different from the next parent that appreciates some quiet time in the small restraints of a car that is only brought on by a good story or movie, kids plugged in all day isn’t good either.  Personally, our kids will watch, but then afterwards are MUCH more moody and anxious than if we hadn’t let them watch at all.  See Tip #5.
    10. Hand out pipe cleaners.  Kids can stay busy with them for a very long time and the mess is super easy to clean up (because we all know they will get stuck between the seats.)
    11. Sing, Play “I spy” and dance, dance, dance.  It’s totally possible to get the wiggles out even when you are driving and bucked in.


    Some other great car-travel-with-kids posts:


    Undercover Bear by Lug $32:

    Car Travel with Kids Tips + Giveaways

    Blanket out of form (but inflatable part not blown up)

    Car Travel with Kids Tips + Giveaways

    Stuffed with Blanket

    These blanket/pillow combos are great for driving because they are simple, small enough to not take up a whole car seat (like a full-size pillow), wash very easily, and can be used as a blanket or as a pillow AND blanket.

    The two options are:

    1. Stuff the fleece blanket into the bear and have  super soft pillow
    2. Take the blanket out, remove the blow-up pillow form from the small pocket in the blanket and use it to form the pillow.

    The downside is that the pillow with the inflatable form isn’t nearly as comfortable as when it is stuffed with the blanket.  But, you can decide you “firmness” by how much you blow it up, and they are surprisingly durable (believe me – we’ve tested it!)  The blanket is the perfect size for covering your lap and keeping you warm while sleeping in the car (if you are a kid).

    They come in a variety of colors and wash up very easily (a must for car travel!)  These will be used in our camper this summer too.


    Swoop Mini Bags $24:

    Car Travel with Kids Tips + Giveaways

    The idea behind Swoop bags is easy storage and clean-up.  We own both the Swoop Originals (much larger and lay flat when open) and the Swoop Mini.  The original Swoop is great for legos, blocks, PlayMobil or anything with small parts.  The Swoop Minis also fill that function, but are great for travel too.  We use ours for the following:

    • Bringing small cars and balls to the playground
    • Having small toys accessible in the car or camper
    • Easily carrying snow toys to the sledding hill
    • Bringing a quick bag of snacks (and using them as a sit-upon)

    My only complaint is that I wish there was a way to close them up completely so that if they ended up being upside down, no small pieces would spill out.  Ours are usually hanging by something (door knob, bike handle, our hands, etc.) but not always.

    Car Travel with Kids Tips + Giveaways


    Win a Undercover Bear or a Swoop Mini

    Lug and Swoop have generously offered a couple of you the chance to win some travel gear.

    As usual, please use the Rafflecopter Widgets below to enter to win. The winner will be emailed and announced on this post in the Rafflecopter Widget. Have questions? Please don’t hesitate to contact me at mountainmamatales(at)gmail(dot)com so I can help!  These giveaways are open to the U.S. and Canada.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway
    a Rafflecopter giveaway

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      1. Great tips! We do a couple of long trips a year, and I had a good chuckle at #2, which is so very true. We do use our DVD player on long trips – we’ve actually found it helps with my oldest daughters carsickness – it prevents her from looking out the window which can aggravate the feeling. Particularly in the mornings when the gravol hasn’t quite kicked in and she hasn’t adjusted to the car yet.

        On our last drive down to Florida we joked that there should be a designated “child running” area alongside the dog area.

      2. Love the pipe cleaners tip! I am definitely getting some next time we go to the store. My kids would love that and we are close to an hour to the store too 😉

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