Automobile Foresight

The dahlias and peonies in bloom signal that summer is just around the corner!

And frequently when summer arrives, so does increasing time in the vehicle.

Picnics at the park…

Basking on the beach…

Frolicking with the friends…

A few weeks ago, I shared some things I’ve found useful to do around the home to reduce some of the stress of day-to-day living as a family. Today, I’d like to share some things that I’ve found helpful for travelling.  Below I’ve listed items I keep in my vehicle at all times… just in case. Some get used very infrequently and others on a weekly basis. But they are always there if/when I need them!

I call them My Motor Vehicle Must-Haves:

  • A small bag of clothing for those unannounced ‘emergencies’ – the potty accident, the throw-up splatter, or even (in winter) the snow-soaked pants and panties after the sledding adventures. The bag contains for each child: shirt, pants, underwear, socks.
  • Small bowls and cups for times when we need a snack while we’re traveling. This keeps our sanity when errands take longer than intended and/or run too close to meal time, or when an unplanned road trip is embarked upon. I often store a bag of raisins or other such food along with a jug of water in the back. Sometimes we just grab a snack at the store or gas station and pass it out in cups. It doesn’t need to be a large amount to tide them over. (‘This is a SNACK, not a MEAL’ I tell them.) And you don’t need to buy individual serving packages if you’ve got cups to hold the goodies in!
  • A fully stocked diaper bag that stays IN the vehicle. It’s always there when you need it! It is simply impossible to forget!
  • Individual quiet-time bags for the younger kids with items such as a notebook & pen or color book & crayons, and small silent toys or books. These are great resources when waiting for appointments or sitting in church or at weddings/funerals and can be stored under the child’s seat.
  • An umbrella – a large one that we can share if it’s pouring rain and we’re headed out (or if it starts drizzling while already en route).اگر چتری هست برای ما دو نفر، اون خداست
  • Jumper cables… just in case.
  • Kleenex in the front and back of the vehicle (and a small wastebasket too).
  • Personal products for the surprise visit from Aunt Flow (ladies, you know what I mean!) or the times when you know what’s happening but just need a little reinforcement! (Kept in my glove-box, away from curious eyes. The last thing you need is Young One asking you why you have such big “band-aids” or what that “push-up stick” is for!)
  • A puke pail. ALWAYS have one of these on hand (or at least a puke bag!). And a small container of baking soda to sprinkle in the rinsed out pail (see, glad you have that jug of water on hand!) or on the blotted up seat-stain. (Baking soda is a good odor-absorber.)
  • Hand sanitizer or wipes – to use before eating a snack, after going to the store, etc. (Did you read my ‘natural hand cleaner’ post?)
  • An emergency kit that includes band-aids, salve, baking soda (see above!), a zip lock bag with a sponge cut into chunks (bag~great to hold ice / sponge~great to soak up melted ice), and deodorant (in case someone has forgotten to apply it).
  • Old magazines or search-n-find books or other thin reading material that fits easily in the back pocket of the front seat. (Libraries and dentists/doctors offices often throw away old issues. Make a friend and pick up some out-dated copies for free!)

It may look a bit overwhelming to you, this list of mine. I may be a bit over-prepared, in your opinion. That’s okay. You may not need any of these ideas. Because they’re just that… IDEAS. Take what’s helpful for you and use it, then pitch the rest!

Most items fit under seats or take up a small space in the back of the vehicle. My last suggestion is that if/when you use up something from YOUR vehicle must-have list, you replace it right away. That way, you’ll be ready for the next adventure… whenever it happens!

I’ve truly found that if I take the time to plan ahead, I can often avoid the intensity of those potentially stress-filled moments. (Notice, I didn’t say I can AVOID the moments… just the INTENSITY of those moments!) Like I shared previously, “foresight is a parent’s finest weapon.”


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