I used to travel so often with my kids (and my husband couldn't always come) that I found a few tricks to make it a more peaceful/interesting journey. I love being spontaneous when it comes to travel, which is a good thing because there is no such thing as long-range plans when you have a child with unpredictable medical issues.
*Firstly, make a visit to your local oil change establishment and top off all fluids, check tire pressure, etc.
*Let your baby nap in the playpen at home, that way when you go to visit grandma your baby will feel right at home.
*Snack bags for each child (absolutely key: write their name on it). They each start out with the same amount and it's funny to see who ends up eating them all first thing and who spreads them out to make them last. Ideas: Pretzel sticks, Bugles, Nibs, fruit roll-ups, Teddy Grahams, grapes, cut-up apples dipped in Sprite.
*DVD players are great - just don't forget the headphone splitters or the car adapter.
*Best thing ever to bring on a trip with littles - Lakeshore Learning Catalog. It is full of colorful pictures of the sorts of things kids love to play with. They will spend minutes, if not hours, thumbing through it, trust me.
*iPod and headphones for mom or teen-aged siblings - perfect for those with sensory issues, that way you can tune out the kids' noises.
*A read-aloud book or novels for the readers. This is a family tradition now that Mr. O can come along, and I'm free to read to them.
*Colored pencils and an activity pad. NO CRAYONS!!! - especially if travelling in the desert - don't believe me? Check out our back seat.
*Cooler packed with food for meals. We pull out the food and try to eat at a park so the kids can run off some of their pent-up energy.
*Pillow and small blanket for each child. When space is limited, and they're not in use you can fold up the blanket for a make-shift booster seat.
*If you're travelling in Spring or Fall make sure to bring at least a lightweight jacket for everyone.
*Melatonin - use only 1/4 tablet for kids (disclaimer: talk to your doctor about this one), but when you're travelling at night it can be a lifesaver. Also make sure to bring Benadryl, Dramamine, Cortisone cream and band-aids as part of your auto first aid kit.
*One bag packed with everyone's PJs, toothbrushes, and fresh undies just in case you need to make an unplanned overnight hotel stay - that way you don't have to haul everything to the room.
*And lastly, the Barf Cup. Bring it and you won't need it, forget it and someone will be puking into their sock.
Go to school (and read more travelling stories/tips)