Our road trip out west was something we will never forget! Exploring the Badlands, Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park was an amazing experience. Read more about this trip here. But, we could not do it alone. By that, I mean all the STUFF we used to make our lives incredibly easier on this long, two week trip! I have shared some of our favorites below! Check them out, click and order them for yourself if you want to make your trip smooth and easy! Hopefully some of my ideas will help make your trip better than ever!
As far as keeping busy on the long drive? We got creative and the kids were never bored! A few things we tried:
- Binders of Activities: We bought each of the kids binders and they went online and printed crossword puzzles, coloring pages, word searches and mazes. We spent the day printing, hole punching and filling the binders with fun!
- Playlists: Before the trip, we instructed each child to put together a 30 minute-1 hour play list on their phones (or for the little one that doesn’t have a phone he used ours). They were to keep it a surprise and then on the trip we listened to everyone’s play lists (we made them too!). It was so fun to get a glimpse of everyone’s favorite music!
- Audio Books: Before we left, we downloaded a few audio books for the whole family to enjoy. It was fun to take a break from doing our own thing and all listening to a book together. There are many to choose from and you can check your public library or audible.com. The ones that we chose:
- Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls
- Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred Taylor
- The Inquisitor’s Tale by Adam Gidwitz
- Movies: Of course, we stocked the car with movies. When things just need to settle down, this is the way to go. If you have a car where the kids can plug in headphones and you don’t have to listen to the movie from the front seat, even better.
- Car Games: We asked each child to come up with a game to play in the car. They were asked to keep it secret until the car trip. It was fun seeing what each one came up with. We also played the license plate game as a family. I printed out a sheet with all of the license plates and they could color it in as they found them. It kept us busy until the end, and I am happy to report that we found every single license plate!
- Books: I preordered a few books for each child, and the one that can’t read in the car downloaded a few audio books for her to listen to on her own.
- Snacks: Well, do we even need a description for this? These are a necessity!
In the Car
This car diffuser helped us battle living in our car for eleven days driving through the country. I brought my collection of essential oils, but peppermint was our favorite to freshen the car, and battle the waves of motion sickness that some of us suffer from.
This helped when eating meals in the car or snacking. It kept mess to a minimum, and helped them to have a more enjoyable meal. Each child had one and kept it with them for easy access when mealtime rolled around.
We went through so many clothing items on this trip, but liked keeping the dirty, sweaty clothes away from the clean ones. These laundry bags were durable and perfect for lugging some laundry to do a quick load.
Packing plenty of food and snacks for our time in the car and our time on the trails was really important. We made sure to pack a large cooler filled with a lot of healthy, nourishing foods. It helped keep our energy up to have as much fun as we could! We also didn’t want to carry a cooler with ice packs around, so it helped to have food that could sit in our backpack. These snacks were delicious and filling, and perfectly easy to pack along!
- Delicious Snacks
All of this food was perfect for on the go. It didn’t need refrigeration and was perfect for snacking while out hiking. It was also filling and nutritious and gave us the energy we needed to keep going and enjoying our vacation.
- Food Storage
These were the best for packing up lunches and meals for the car. It packed nicely in the cooler and served as a plate while eating. We packed up lots of delicious breakfasts, lunches and dinners so we weren’t stopping for fast food constantly.
When you are in the national parks, you want to be prepared! The only options for buying something you forgot are a lot of overpriced gift shops! When you are out hiking, you want to make sure you have all of your essentials. These items helped make our hikes easier and more enjoyable!
- CamelBack Backpack
We loved this for the ease of keeping hydrated. This one had extra room inside as well for snacks, some small personal belongings and a phone or camera. The kids were never dehydrated because they thought it was fun to drink out of their backpack! We saw so many people on the trails with no water or supplies and that is a terrible idea! Make sure you are prepared. Especially in the summer-it is really hot and you need water, food and some other things to make your hike a little easier!
Someone mentioned to us before we left that they strongly advised us to get hiking shoes. Gym shoes would do, but hiking shoes would make a lot of the trails much easier, especially in the badlands. Since none of us have any hiking shoes and we all love to be outdoors, I figured that investing in some good hiking shoes would be a good idea. These shoes were the ones that we chose and we loved the style, comfort and ease of the shoes.
- Bug Spray
I always hate the bug spray that you need to shower afterwards if you spray on yourselves. This kept us bite free, smelled good, and didn’t poison us with harsh chemicals! A little goes a long way, so despite the higher price tag, it is definitely worth it!
- Bear Spray
Yes, I am that mom. Yes, we saw bears. No, we weren’t attacked by them, nor did I have to dispatch my bear spray. But…I did feel much better having it in my reach on the side of my backpack! So…you decide…
We wanted to make sure that we were ready for any weather! These rain ponchos fit easily in our camelback backpacks and were ready and waiting in case of inclement weather.
Good luck packing up for your trip! It might be a lot of work prepping for this trip, but it will be worth every minute!