Thank you Maxi-Cosi for sponsoring this post. Keep your little adventurers comfy, safe & stylish with the Maxi-Cosi Magellan™ Max 5-in-1 Convertible Car Seat! Here are my top tips for road tripping with kids.
Both of our girls learned quickly after birth that going on frequent road trips here, there, and everywhere is simply a natural part of being a DeSpain. Hadley went on her first 200-mile trip when she was nine days old, and then she rode 1,800 miles from Tennessee to Arizona at three months old. Sadie also got to experience life on the road when we drove 800 miles from Alabama to Kansas just three weeks after she was born.
Whether it’s for leisure or for a big move, they’ve thankfully both learned how to act fairly pleasant when we’re spending a long day cruising down the interstate. Because we find ourselves traveling often, we’ve naturally gotten into a nice groove with road trip routines and expectations that not only keep the four of us from losing our marbles, but actually contribute to the road trip being a somewhat enjoyable aspect of the trip at times.
After a good chunk of trial and error (and I mean substantial trial and error!), here are our five routines that make our road trips with our little ones manageable.
We leave really early in the morning, no matter how long our drive is.
If our trip is 8+ hours long, you can usually find us in the car by 4 a.m. We bathe the girls the night before, put them in comfy, warm pajamas, and then scoop them out of bed and plop them in the car seconds before we pull out of the driveway. (We’ll change them into their actual clothes during our first gas/breakfast/bathroom stop around 7 a.m.) Sometimes they go back to sleep, but if not they’ll almost always stay very, very quiet for the next 3ish hours watching movies on their tablets (which are attached to the headrest in front of them).
We like to leave early because we can knock out the beginning of the trip with quiet and/or sleeping kids, we have more time in the day to unwind at our destinations (whether it’s with loved ones or back at our own home), and because it makes the trip overall feel much shorter.
They are only allowed to have their tablets during long car trips.
The girls each have a Kindle Fire that we reserve for trips only. They view watching movies and playing games on their tablets as such a treat that it keeps them quiet for hours. It’s glorious. We charge them and load them up with new movies and games before our trip, and then watch their faces light up like Christmas trees once we let them pick a movie in the car.
We eat most of our meals in the car on the go.
We used to think that long, quality stops were necessary with the kids, but now we both prefer to either pack meals or order from a drive-thru and let them eat as we drive. Think sandwiches, chicken nuggets (no ketchup), apples, crackers, etc.
Each girl has a water bottle nearby, and that’s what they’ll use all day long when they need a drink. We found that our long stops gave them more time to get frustrated about getting back in the car, so now we just plow through, stretch during potty breaks, get as much driving out of the way as possible, and then let them enjoy being out of the car for good once we’ve arrived at our destination.
We control the liquids.
As aforementioned, each of our girls has a water bottle that they drink out of all day long. Neither of them prefers to chug water, so this keeps them from having to go to the bathroom 100 times.
We make sure their car seats are adjusted appropriately the day before so that they can ride as comfortably as possible.
Kids grow so incredibly fast, so something I’m always harping on before a trip is making sure that the shoulder boards, lower strap, etc. are all exactly where they should be to keep our kids as comfortable and safe as they can be.
And speaking of car seats…
Earlier this year, Jamie and I started talking about purchasing Hadley a new car seat. The convertible seat she was previously riding in bit the dust cosmetically, but it appeared that she was outgrowing it too. Before I even had the chance to research her current car seat to see how long it was safe for her, the Maxi-Cosi Magellan™ Max 5-in-1 Convertible Car Seat came onto my radar.
I was amazed by this brand new car seat and how it would work wonderfully for Hadley now as a petite four year old but also years down the road with a shoulder belt. This is literally the last car seat and booster she will ever ride in!
Tips For Road Tripping With Kids
The Maxi-Cosi Magellan™ Max 5-in-1 Convertible Car Seat easily converts to five different styles of car seats, meaning that a child could actually use this car seat for 10 years (i.e. 5 – 120 pounds!) This car seat can be positioned in five modes: Baby Rear-Facing, Toddler Rear-Facing, Toddler Forward-Facing, Child Forward-Facing, and Belt-Positioning Booster. Amazing!
Something else that I think is so unique, is the EZ Out harness system, which is designed to keep the straps and crotch buckle from bunching and getting caught under a child. It pairs so well with the ClipQuik auto-magnetic chest clip (so cool!). It’s super easy for a parent to undo but a bit challenge for a kiddo (which is obviously a good thing!)
Look how comfy it seems! And those double cup holders! I love the head rest area and generally how plush this seat is. Kids don’t know how good they have it these days. 😉 I wish I could ride in a seat like this!
Hadley naturally freaked when the box arrived and begged Jamie to install it immediately.
We set her up as a child front-facing (the fourth option) and installed it in less than 10 minutes. Easy!
Click here to read more about the Maxi-Cosi Magellan™ Max 5-in-1 Convertible Car Seat, or if you’re ready to buy, you can find it at Albee Baby, Nordstrom and Buy Buy Baby (and other specialty retailers).
The retail price of the Maxi-Cosi Magellan™ Max 5-in-1 Convertible Car Seat is $399.99.
That’s all of my tips for road tripping with kids! What tricks do you have up your sleeve that make road trips as peaceful as possible?
Are you in the market for a new car seat? What are the most important features you look for?
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.
Click here for my latest road trip to Savannah with my sweet Jillian!
Hi! I’m Erica, and I absolutely adore sharing my life on this website with you! I come here almost daily to blab about all of the things related to being a regular wife and mother in today’s ever-evolving society. I share about our new home, what’s on our kitchen table, what we’re hanging in our closets, where we’re traveling to next, my crazy 5 a.m. work outs, how I make time for girlfriends, our faith, and much more. We always have a lot of balls in the air and somewhat thrive on the chaos. I believe in the power of story-telling as a form of inspiration and entertainment, so I’m here to do both! I was born and raised in north Alabama and recently re-planted roots here again after my husband transitioned out of the Army (he is now in the Reserve and it’s going so well!) I’m a super proud mom to three little girls (ages 7, 4, and 1) who seem to be the stars of the show around here (for good reason – they’re pretty great!) I’m so glad you found me and are here reading! I hope we can get to know each other here on the blog as well as Facebook and/or Instagram. xoxo