It’s funny how much road-trips change as you get older. I remember hating them as a kid because there was nothing to do and the car rides felt like they went on forever. As I got to my teenage years road-trips were awesome! We drove around for hours singing along to mixtapes and stopping at gas stations for snacks. Now as a parent, road-trips are little unpredictable. We don’t know when we’ll need to stop, who’s going to be in a cranky mood, whether or not nap time will interfere and when everyone will be hungry! It’s best to be ultra prepared when it comes to traveling in the car with children, and so when we set out to Newport, Rhode Island 2 weeks ago I came with all of the essentials:
* Change of clothes for all(!) kids. They eat and drink in the car and messes are bound to be made. Also don't rely on your 4-year-old when he tells you that he doesn't need to pee. Ori is in a stage where I have to beg for him to go to pee before we head out of the house – we’ve even developed a game for it where I “guess” his pee is going to be a funny color like blue and he has to prove momma wrong. On this particular trip, we played “Restroom Stop Bingo!” and if they kids went each time we stopped to use the bathroom they would get a prize. One time was a piece of fruit, second time was a lollipop and the 3rd time was another favorite snack. Games or no games, extra clothes are always needed just to be on the safe side!
* Baby wipes! No need to mention why these are life savers right?
* A good schedule. We synced the ride up with the kids’ usual nap time. Both Yuli and Ori aren't napping anymore but the car ride works like magic, so we only had to make sure that Romi would sleep too because 3 sleeping kids in the car is like winning the lottery right? Noam and I kicked back and played our favorite old tunes in peace.
* Snacks. I always make sandwiches before we leave and sliced apples for snacks. It's easy to fall into junk food on long rides but I plan ahead so we can travel healthier.
* Downloaded audiobooks and movies for the iPads – never rely on WiFi!
Six long hours after our car ride, we arrived at the Grace Vanderbilt hotel. Let me say, all of the driving was worth it! We were super exhausted at the end of our journey but the hotel made our arrival so sweet. The kids’ room was decorated and had a dessert plate waiting with cookies. They each got their own “Welcome Pack” with a Teddy bear, book of stickers, coloring book and a teepee next to their beds. Also, every night they received a bedtime snack cart with cookies, popcorn and fruit.
The amenities were awesome. The next day we checked out the indoor pool, roasted s’mores by the fireplace and had a tea party on the beautiful grounds overlooking the water. The scenery was what I consider quintessential New England style – stylish and charming. The Narragansett Bay is beautiful and there is so much to do in the nearby town. Amazingly cute shops, cafes and restaurants with a similar local aesthetic and charm.
I highly recommend the Grace Vanderbilt for anyone looking for a fun weekend getaway. Once the road-trip is over, your entire vacation is effortless with the help of the amazing hotel staff. They even packed us a picnic to take outside one day! Super kid-friendly and fun.