We've traveled all around the country with our 3 kiddos over the last year, but typically we fly. We recently embarked on our first long road trip with our crew and learned a lot. I thought some of it could be helpful to other families with littles, so here are a few things I did to make our trip easier.
Before you leave, I suggest downloading a few apps that'll make your life easier. When we fly somewhere and need help getting transportation we use the Uber app a lot, but road trips are a completely different story. My favorite map app is good ole Google Maps. It's easy to use and has never failed us yet!
My favorite travel app is Trip Advisor because not only does it let you find and rate the best restaurants and attractions in a particular city, it also creates a timeline of the places you've been. This helps me keep track of every place we visit and never forget the name. Any time we have an exceptional experience - good or bad - I rate it to help other travelers.
Obviously every road trip needs snacks, so I I packed a big reusable grocery bag full. I wanted to minimize sugary treats, so our snack bag consisted of pretzels, beef jerky, bananas, apples, trail mix (the little pre made bags from Target are a family fave), Annie's fruit snacks (just in case we needed them for bribery) and gum. My kids LOVE gum, but I keep it in my purse so I can use it for bribery.
I bring along our own reusable water bottles every where we go. My favorite ones for the kids are the Contigo autospout bottles from Target because the straws fold down and they're easy to clean. These bottles have been everywhere from NYC to Vancouver over the last year and held up great.
I packed a bag of activities for the car, but first I ensure no one gets carsick by giving every kid Bonine. This med, which contains Meclizine, has worked amazingly well for me and my kiddos and doesn't cause drowsiness. I've struggled with motion sickness for years and always found any type of Dramamine makes me tired or generally lethargic. Bonine (I actually buy a big bottle of the generic for each vehicle and for my purse) works wonders.
Just in case we do end up with carsickness, or anything potentially stinky, I bring along a roll of dog bags (sometimes also sold as bags for dirty diapers) to tie up and toss. These work especially well as little trash bags on airplanes or in the car.