3 things you need to have in your car when you travel with kids

10:39 AM

A quick trip to my parents' house this week turned into a nightmare when my sons and I got caught in a freak snowstorm. We ended up seeking refuge in a tiny side-of-the-road motel in the middle of nowhere. The TV in the room got a half-dozen news channels, but that's about it. The heater in our room didn't work and there wasn't anywhere nearby to get a meal (not that we'd be able to venture back out to get food anyway).

I was thankful for the survival kits I had in my trunk, but I definitely learned that even when you think you're prepared for the worst, there's always something that you forgot. (In my case, this was nail clippers. I really, really, really wanted nail clippers.)

Before you travel with kids, there are 3 things that you need to make sure you have in your car.

1. Toys
I'm sure you packed toys for your trip, but do you have enough to last if you get caught in an unexpected storm? What about batteries? Coloring books? Crayons? Did you bring something new to entertain your children if you're stuck at a hotel? Don't wind up like me with a 4-year-old whose idea of "fun" is bouncing from the chair to the bed to the other bed to the bench. Yes, he really did it. No, I did not encourage it. Bring extra toys.

2. Extra socks
The hotel we were at was just as unprepared for the storm as we were. It was also the only motel with vacancies, and did I mention that it was under renovations? The heater in our room didn't work and there's only so much you can really do when it comes to blankets. Bring extra socks and sweatshirts so that you can bundle up if the weather turns sour. Remember that even if your kids are excellent at keeping their socks on, they might find it fun to jump in puddles. Pack extras.

3. More food than you ever thought you would possibly need
My kids are both scrawny little things, so you'd be shocked by how much food they eat. While we ate 3 meals the day of the storm with plenty of snacks in-between, they were both starving when we finally made it to our motel. We burned through the food in my bug-out-bag in a matter of hours. Even if you think you've packed 3-days worth of food, pack more. Little kids aren't going to understand the idea of rationing and if you find yourself stuck in a motel with nowhere to go, you're going to want food.

Photo - "Visa" by Arvind Balaraman, 
courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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