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We are almost a month out from our first semi-big road trip of the year.
My brother and his family moved to Arizona a couple of years ago, so we try to get out there way as often as we can. This year we decided to go just before summer officially starts, or in other terms before it gets too hot! May, in my opinion, is the best time to go visit the desert.
There are a few benefits to being the youngest in a family of three kids.
Your parents are more relaxed, you have older siblings to play with, and your parents have more experience in parenting. I'm also a lot better about planning our road trips after all these years, and Emmy is very lucky for that!
I now have four things that we always bring with us on road trips. I could even say, we have five things we NEVER go on road trips without.
The first thing is the entertainment.
I think I speak for all parents when I say that entertainment for our kids is of utmost importance. Not only does it make for a more enjoyable vacation, but having to hear “are we there yet” 5,000 times an hour can flat out ruin a vacation.
We have had an Amazon Fire Kids Edition tablet for Emmy for years now and it has been a lifesaver or at least a road trip saver. Her newest one is the Fire HD 7 Kids Edition tablet with an 8” HD Display, 32 GB of storage and a kid-proof case. It is regularly priced at $129.99 and comes with so much- including one year of FreeTime Unlimited. That gives your little one access to 15,000 popular apps and games, videos, books, and educational content from PBS Kids, Nickelodeon, Disney, and more!
Emmy and I browsed through just some of what is now available.
She saw some of her favorite apps, books, and videos, but also tools that she can use to snap some pictures with the camera (vacation memories!) and photo editing/drawing tools. She is really excited to use those on this next road trip.
Of course, I like that she has so many fun and educational apps and tools, but Heather and I really appreciate the parental controls that allow us to set personal limits on app usage and also setting limits where educational apps should be used before other content. If you have more than one child, there are options for setting up different children’s profiles on one tablet.
Because she will be using this in the car where there won't be wifi access, having FreeTime content available to download and then use on the go without WiFi is HUGE.
Emmy is so excited that she has started to make an actual, not-on-the-tablet list of all her favorite things on her Fire Kids Edition tablet and why she likes them so that she can reference it once we are on the road. She is a planner like I am!
The second thing we always have with us on road trips is headphones.
If I'm being completely honest, these are for both my benefit and for Emmy. She loves being able to concentrate and headphones help. I just like being able to listen to music without having to compete with her tablet. It is a win-win. The teens like to listen to their own music, so they too have headphones on. Heather and I have actually had some pretty decent conversations over the years on road trips because of headphones. They are the unsung hero of our road trips.
The third thing I wouldn't dare leave home for a road trip without is snacks.
This goes for both me and the kids. We all need something to snack on while on the road. Ashley and I tend to bring protein bars and rice cakes… but for Emmy, it is all about fresh cut veggies. We call this her road trip fuel because she always has it have it. Peas are her favorite, but carrots, tomatoes, and cucumbers are good too! This doesn't mean that we don't stop along the way, but it is nice to have something in between those scheduled stops.
A quick tip- always let the kids pack their own road trip snacks. We have found that this gets them extra excited for the time on the road, and we are almost guaranteed that the kids will like what they pack as opposed to what we pick out for them.
Busy work is the fourth thing we pack for all road trips.
This can be coloring books, sticker pages or a family favorite… a journal and a pencil. With all the traveling we do, different trips can blur into each other and this gives the girls a way to remember each place we visit. Plus, they tend to remember and take note of things that are completely different than what Heather and I do.
It is fun to look back on the notes they took of our travels and remember different things that they enjoyed.