Single Mom Driving: Tips from a 2,300 mile Roadtrip with 4 Kidsby Elizabeth MacDonald
Update: If you loved this post, just wait until winter! I'll be packing my FIVE kids up and driving solo across the country for a month!
Packing for this trip is quite complicated. 23 days and (well over-i'm sure) 2,300 miles with myself and 4 little ones makes for an interesting packing situation. There is no way I’m dragging in 4 suitcases, diapers, baby crap, food, and everything else in and out of our single location overnight stays. No idea what I’m talking about? Click HERE. I’m going to share my tips and crazy ideas for how to pack bags, necessities, food, and everything else so that a trip like this is not only manageable, but low-stress and FUN! Don’t forget to follow along and tag me #SingleMomDriving with any helpful ideas! I’ll be doing giveaways along the way.
Packing BagsBecause we are staying overnight in two locations before making it to our first “long” stay (5 nights), I need to pack smart. I’m packing a backpack with a swimsuit and pajamas for each of us, 2 changes of clothes and underwear. I’ll keep our toiletries in this bag as well. When we get to the hotel, I can grab this bag and a few diapers, my computer, purse, and food. I forgot to mention that we cloth diaper. Yes, even on a 23 day trip. I pack a large wet bag and a duffle bag of diapers and wipes. I wash them every 3 days (so I will be with family during each washing). It’s really easy and just part of our daily life, so it doesn’t add any stress (for me). The suitcases need to be packed light, as we are bringing so much other crap that they need to be able to take up little space. Everyone gets two pairs of shoes (even me) and enough clothing for 5 days. We will wash and re-wear throughout the trip. I’ll pack two kids to one duffle bag.
NecessitiesEach child gets to bring a backpack full of items. I make sure they each have:
- iPad and charger
- DVD Player and a few new movies that will suck all the talking from the car
- Coloring Book and individual bags of crayons
- Sticker/Activity Books
- Books for bedtime and leisurely reading
- Any toys they want to bring on the trip (I do a toy count before we leave so I know what we have)
- Travel Potty
- Trash Bags for the car and paper towels
- MiFi – Hello wifi for the car!
- Baby toys
- Bikes or Scooters: A game day decision, but 3 big things will be strapped to the back of the car.
- Floaties/Goggles/Beach and Pool Gear: I will keep these all in the overnight backpack (Floaties buckled to the backpack straps) so they can be used at every stop.
- Door Jumper – Most compact baby “holder” I can pack, and the baby loves to jump.
- Rock and Play -DO NOT LEAVE HOME WITHOUT IT.
- Baby Bath Chair (I chose this over a bumbo style because it fits easier in the car, can be used on the floor or in the bath, and is just plain awesome)
- Pillows/Blankets – 1 pillow 1 blanket per child over the age of 2.
- Extra wipes/burp cloths/baby blankets/car clothes for spills, accidents, etc.
- My nice camera. (Even though I’ll be snapchatting and saving everything that way.)
- Wine – hotel wine is expensive! And I will hand a bottle over as a gift to all of the amazing families who will host us along the way. (We are not a small slumber party group, that’s for sure.)
Each child gets a Tupperware as a ‘bowl’ so snacks can be passed back and forth without spilling (much).
(A friend just used the above containers on her trip with great success! I'm glad he snapped a photo for us!) I break this into two categories -Cooler or Tub. Cooler will hold:
- Emmett’s goat milk (For cereal in the mornings)
- Cheese sticks
- Yogurt squeezes
- Sliced meat
- Celery (precut)
- Carrots (baby size)
- Hummus (Individual cups)
- Graham crackers
- Trail Mix
- Peanut Butter Packs
- Cookies/Bribery Treats
Other IdeasI’m playing with the idea of picking up a few chapter books on CD for the drive. I may get a large plastic tub to hold the duffle bags and baby items for the trailer attachment instead of trying to squeeze everything into the car. (The bikes will be back there no matter what) A bike lock! I do not want to walk out of the hotel and find bikes stolen. A gallon or two of water to refill water cups along the way.
Time to see if it all fits.