IMG_5433

Jami Savage CTV – to see full segment click here

We’re coming into one of the most popular travel seasons of the year, which when you have children can also be a very stressful time. So when they asked to feature my top tips on CTV I jumped at the chance! Here’s my top suggestions for making the journey as easy and fun as possible.  

When we head out on a road trip there are four baskets that I pull down from my closet shelf. I simply restock them and put them in the car (or ziplock versions for the airplane) and we can be ready for a road trip in less than a day!

Here’s the four essential boxes I don’t leave home without:

Activity Box

Each Child gets their own activity box. This is filled with things that they can do while at the airport or in the back of the car. Some of my favorite car activities include:

Road Trip Books – Did you know there was such a thing? Road trip books are awesome as they include games and activities that are designed for road trips. (6 different versions of eye spy, puzzles, brain teasers, family collaborative games, search and find, stickets.) Some of our favorite memories from our trip to Jasper was playing games from this book, like when you saw an animal you had to make the sound of the animal instead of saying it’s name… all of the sudden my kids are laughing their heads off as Mom and Dad “Moo” and “Neigh” from the front seat. Have you ever tried to guess what sound an elk makes???

Plasticine – My kids LOVE it when I bring out a cookie sheet and some plasticine… they can be creative and build all sorts of creations in the back seat. (Bring a ziplock bag for when they are done)

Cereal Necklaces – Fruit Loops and some string makes an activity you can eat

Beading / Friendship bracelets – The back of a car seat is a great place to hook the starting of a bracelet.

Window Markers – Why not let the kids go crazy on the back windows? They will clean up with the wipe and the kids will love being able to express their creativity on your car!

Disposable Cameras – Introduce you children to the magic of film and give them a disposable camera for their trip.

Eats & Treats

Having children properly fueled is an important piece of the recipe for any successful adventure.

Snack Packs – I love to bring these mini snack packs along, not only do they provide a variety of options for the children to eat but they are small enough that they fit in a daypack in case you want to stop along your way and go on a hike. Have your children help in the packing of these snacks and tell them that each row has to have a fruit, a veggie, a protein, and a carb… and that they can add three treats as well!

Individually Wrapped Items – I’m a huge fan of bringing individually wrapped items like cheese strings, yogurt tubes, granola bars, etc on a trip. It allows for easier consumption for little hands and even easier clean up.

Backup Stash – The back of our car is always full of back up food, allowing us to cut down on costs and restock as needed.

H2O – We all always have our own water bottles, hydration is important – even if it means more trips to the bathroom! Buying water when travelling can be really expensive though so we bring our own and fuel up our water bottles when we stop for gas!

Prize Box

When my kids saw the prize box coming down from the closet shelf they immediately starting running around shouting “We’re going on an adventure!” and then they went and cleaned their rooms! (No joke!) The Prize box has become a staple on every adventure that we go on!

The prize box is stocked full of items that the kids are dying to get their hands on, and when we see them being super helpful (without prompting), showing extra kindness to their sibling, or when they need a little motivation to get us through to the next stop, the prize box comes into effect.

Suggestions for building a great prize box:

In car activities – Additional travel friendly activities that the kids would enjoy… this can be mini craft kits, card games, books, etc.

Goodie Bags – Here’s a little secret, I hate goodie bags! The kids get a bag full of toys and play with them for 20 minutes and then the tiny items are scattered all over my house. When they aren’t looking I put them all in a stash for my road trip Prize box! The kids love seeing the toys again and I don’t mind if they only play with them for 30 minutes… that’s 30 more minutes of free entertaining for me! (This works for stockings too)

Gross Motor – If we’re on a road trip I stock the prize box with activities that they can do when stop, or when we get to our destination. Skipping Ropes, Frisbees, Beach Balls… anything that will help burn off some energy during a pit stop!

Small Games for Restaurants – One of the worst things about stopping for food is having to go from sitting in a car to sitting in a restaurant, so we have games and activities that the kids (and us too) Will be excited about!

Toys they have to have – Does your child collect Beanie Boos? Pokemon Cards? These items can be called upon when you’re needing extra patience (such as when you’re stuck in traffic), or when your child goes above and beyond to help the family. (My kids now are an integral part of unloading and reloading the car!)

Funny Toys – We like to sneak a few treats in the prize box… like silly string and water guns for the kids… and always keep enough for us too!

Comfort Box

The comfort box is as important as the prize box… just not as much fun! It includes essentials that you may (or may not) need, but will be glad you have! Including:

  • Chargers for your phone – I like to have a pocket accordion folder to keep everyone’s cords organized.
  • Map(s) – You can’t always rely on your phone to have service so old school paper maps are an important element if you’re on the road .
  • Wipes, Keenex, Toilet Paper – I’m sure you know what these are for if you have children!
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Flashlight and Emergency Kit
  • Sunscreen / Bug Spray
  • Gum
  • Chapstick
  • Hair ties

2017 is set to be THE YEAR for road trips too! With Parks Canada offering FREE entry into all of our National Parks it will be a great chance for Canadians to hit the road and explore. Get your own free Parks Discovery Pass here

Check out some of our favorite places to head off on a road trip:

Jasper National Park 

Waterton Lakes National Park

Staying in oTENTiks