When traveling with kids, expect the unexpected. A bloody knee in the mall parking lot. A desperate plea to pee 30 miles from any rest area. An impromptu picnic because the doctor’s appointment ran late, and the kids need to eat. Now.
I always keep the van prepped and ready to go. That way, we’re always ready for an adventure. It makes it easier for me, too, as there’s no packing or prep when we have to go anywhere. My list of things I keep stashed in my van:
- Paper towels
- Full first aid kit with bandaids and a cold pack
- Water bottles – for emergency drinking or cleaning of wounds
- Blanket – good for impromptu picnics, or snuggling if cold
- Small MagnaDoodle
- Extra jackets for each kid – we stash both a windbreaker and a fleece for each kid, and a windbreaker for each grownup
- Snacks: granola bars (non melty – not chocolate coated); almonds; fruit chews
- Potty gear: extra diapers/pull-ups (diaper cream, changing pad); pee jar (for small boys) – Peter Pan peanut butter works well (make sure it’s leak proof)
- Picnic pack – plates, spoons, cups, tablecloth (we use a twin sheet – can also use as an extra blanket)
- Plastic grocery bags to use as trash bags
Everything is stored in a specific place, so it’s out of sight, but accessible. We use a low, flat, open cardboard box (from buying a case of Snapple) stashed under the middle seat for the wipes, Kleenex, and paper towels. First aid kit is tucked in compartment under front passenger seat. In the back of the van: jackets packed in a large fabric bag that zips shut; blankets; umbrella; 24 pack of water bottles; a small bag for snacks, picnic gear, and diapers/pee jar. MagnaDoodle goes in a seat pocket. Pen and lipgloss go in a front dash compartment, and Purell goes in a front cupholder – so it’s easy for me to grab and pass around to the kids. Also, my van is not a trash can – we do a quick clean out every time we go anywhere, as a rule.
What do you stash in your car to make your life easier?