10 Tips for Car Trips
Travel Expert Anne McAlpin has been a featured guest on Oprah®, The View, and CNN, sharing up-to-the-minute travel tips. She has flown more than 2 million miles, traveled in over 71 countries, and cruised through the Panama Canal 98 times. When her nieces and nephews turn 16, she gives them a passport and takes them on a trip anywhere they’d like to go. She is currently planning next summer’s adventure for her niece, Mary Beth: Africa.
1. Place an upside down cardboard box between nieces and nephews in the middle or backseat. This will serve two purposes: provide a writing surface and keep them separated.
2. Keep an empty baby wipes container (the square, pop-up kind) filled with used plastic grocery sacks in your car. On trips, long or short, you always have a bag handy for trash, dirty kids clothes, or wet swim items.
3. A 9” by 13” covered tin cake pan makes a great “lap desk” for kids in the car. Pack all their colored pencils, paper, crafts inside; and they have a flat surface to write on the top. It slides under the seat when not in use.
4. Keep some extra kitchen towels in the car for use when your coffee spills or to catch crumbs when eating in the car. With a splash of water, you can also do a quick cleanup.
5. Pack pillows and blankets for everyone (and you’ll have an extra blanket when you get to your destination). Pack in compression bags to save space when not in use.
6. Keep a pair of flip flops (thongs) for each kid in the back seat organizer for quick rest stops, so they don’t have to put their shoes on.
7. Plan your picnics at playgrounds, so there’s something fun and new for the kids to do while you relax and have something to eat.
8. Use cookie sheets for a variety of uses in the car: as drawing surfaces and also to stick magnets on, so they can play en route. Look for magnetic words that they can make sentences out of. And cut a piece of non-skid shelf liner to fit the inside the cookie sheet that has a lip on the edge to help keep pens from sliding off. You can find used cookie sheets at thrift stores or garage sales (or in your kitchen!).
9. Pack a mesh drawstring bag for wet jackets, clothing, or towels. The open mesh allows the air to circulate, so you won’t end up with mildew on your items.
10. A Frisbee is a must for car travel with kids. They are inexpensive, fun to play with at rest stops, and can be used as plates in a pinch!
Published: August 13, 2012