Daily Life, DIY, Parenting, Travel, Tutorials

Treat Bags for Traveling With Toddlers

Travel Map

 

2 Adults | 1 Toddler | 486 Miles | 7 Hours | 1 Road Trip 

We recently spent an extended weekend in historic Corydon, Indiana and I’m proud to say that we made it through the road trip with our two year old unscathed! I will admit that my husband and I were both a little nervous about the prospect of spending nearly 8 hours on the road each way with a two year old passenger in the car. Toddlers, by nature, can be unpredictable in their mood and we weren’t quite sure how our daughter would react to our long weekend. All that said, she was an incredible travel companion. So much so, in fact, that we’re planning another long trip this Autumn with her (wish us luck!). I’d like to think that my impeccable planning skills played some small role in our recent road trip success and so I thought I’d take a couple of minutes to share what I did with all of you.

The week before we left, I hit up my local Target in search of some great deals in their ‘cheap toy / items you’re probably going to end up tossing’ section (the one that’s generally at the front of the store as you come in). I went in without any real expectations for what I would find but I was on the hunt for some small toys, books, or games to keep my daughter busy in the car. My plan was to pair a couple of the items with a small snack and drink in a special bag that we would present to her at various stages throughout the trip. A half hour and about $10 later, I had what I needed to get started.

If you’re like me (a planner) who will be traveling with small children, I highly suggest taking the time to prepare these bags ahead of time. I found that they really helped make our trip so smooth. Each bag contained:

  • A fresh diaper
  • A small baggie of wipes
  • A small snack
  • A drink
  • A small book
  • A small toy
  • A glow stick

We presented a bag at each of our semi-planned (within a desired time frame) pit stops and found that it was a great way to introduce something new to capture her attention for long enough that she wasn’t bored in the car. I don’t know about you but I call that a win. Here’s what the bags looked like:

Treat Bags for Kids

Travel Treat Bag

Treat Bag 1

Pit Stop Treat Bags

With a little planning and preparation you, too, can enjoy (yes, I said enjoy) a road trip with your toddler. Happy Travels!

Daily Life, Travel

Why I Still Write Out Directions

In a world full of smart phones and navigation devices, you’d be hard pressed to find someone who still uses maps and writes out directions…

I am one of those people.

Handwritten Directions

I love my Tom Tom and the navigation system on my phone but I’m one of those rare breeds that still writes it all out. Nothing really compares to writing out my own directions. It’s something I always do for every trip I take and it’s something I recommend to anyone who plans to travel long distance.

Why I Write Out Directions

You might be wondering why it is that I write everything out…Well, you never know what life is going to throw at you while you’re traveling and I’ve found that it’s always best to be as prepared as you can be before you head out. So I take each leg of the trip and get to work looking at the different suggested routes (thanks Google maps) and figure out which would be ideal in terms of distance and also in terms of traffic congestion. I’ve found that even though some routes say they’ll save you an hour of time, it doesn’t always work out that way…especially when you find yourself in a major city around rush hour.

Google Map

Once I figure out which route I plan to take, I then look at towns in between here and there that might be good to stop off at for breaks. I’ve found this to be especially helpful when traveling with small children. During this past trip, I looked for Chick-Fil-A restaurants on our route since I knew I could trust that their play areas are always clean for C to get some energy out in.

I also try to compare gas prices between states so I know when I should plan to fill up and when I might be better off waiting. There are plenty of websites that can help you find the lowest gas prices in certain areas (which I used last year when we took a trip back East for my brother’s wedding).

Google Maps Total Travel

I’ll never forget the time that the charger for my GPS device broke in my car (literally in the charging portal in my car). It was at that moment that I realized you can’t always rely on technology to get you from point A to point B. You have to know where you’re headed.  Plus, I’ve found, it gives me more peace of mind.

So my question is this:

Do you rely solely on technology to help you navigate during trips (or in life in general) or do you still plan and write out your route like me?