How to survive a road trip with kids on a budget

Next week we are heading on our first big road trip with two toddlers and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous. Our oldest has always been awesome in the car but our youngest on the other hand, has hated the car since the day we brought her home from the hospital. We began planning our first big family vacation out of the area and I was set on buying plane tickets to make the trip a bit easier. We are traveling from Northern California down to Los Angelos and Disneyland so the trip with no traffic is already about 6 hours long. Then add in city traffic, any bathroom or food breaks, and gas stops, we are looking at about 8 hours. Although I would much rather fly, my husband was insistent that we have our car to be able to drive around so we decided to opt for the long, long car ride. With that being said, of course I knew each of the kids would need a travel bag full of goodies. Getting activities, food, and comfort items for the road are essential when traveling with kids. Depending on your child, your items will vary but these are a few of ours! Since we are already doing a big trip, I decided the dollar store was the perfect stop to find most of the items.

Race Cars.

My kids both love cars and since we will be on the highway for the majority of the trip, how fun is it to play with a new car while watching others. Have them try to spot cars that are same color as theirs to make it a bit more interesting!

Washable Markers.

These were a must for us. Along with one of our many coloring books, the kids will be able to color while we drive without me worrying about stains or a mess. I grabbed these on sale for .50 each! Such a steal.

Play Dough.

You probably are thinking, there is no way I’m letting my kid have play dough in the car. I feel you trust me, it can get messy. What we do is bring a shallow bucket and give one at a time with some toys. Similar to a sensory bucket on the go plus keeps them busy for awhile! Use the bucket for a mess free activity.

Sensory Toys.

I love these even for myself, but especially for the kids. They love the fun squishy feeling and helps when they begin to get tired of the car.

Play Toys.

I searched for a few fun toys on the $1 isle and grabbed this along with a few others. Our 19 month old is into pretend phones right now so it is perfect for her to sit in the back and pretend to be calling her favorite people.

New Cups.

On vacation, it is always fun to get new cups! Zo-Li is our go to brand for on the go. They keep drinks fresh and don’t break easy which is perfect for activities once you arrive to your destination.

Snacks, Snacks, & More Snacks.

It isn’t a road trip without some snacks. I have created a whole bag full of the kids favorite snacks that are also easy to eat in the car and on the go.

A Fun Gift For Vacation.

We are headed to a few different spots which almost all involve water of some sort so I grabbed the kids new towels to make it fun. Tula has some really soft, durable towels that are great for kids.

Now not everything was a $1, but pretty close! I have gathered everything together and plan on giving one activity out at a time. I also have added a sticker book for each of the kids as rewards for being good in the car. Traveling can be hard for little ones sometimes and long drives are hard on their little bodies. Making it as smooth as possible so important to us. Stay tuned for more vacation blogs and pictures coming next week.


Christian Mulkey

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