Long time no see everyone! My family and I took a short road trip to Big Bear, CA from San Diego for Christmas recently. We learned a lot about what we needed and didn’t need for people who have never driven in or experienced the snow before. To save money on such a busy holiday, we ended up booking A Hideaway Private Suite through Airbnb. I heard a lot about Airbnb from my lash clients who were single and going with friends so naturally I was worried there wouldn’t be anything available for small families. Fortunately Airbnb has different filters to help you find the perfect place for you with verified Hosts. What attracted us to the suite we found was that our host had plenty of positive reviews and keypad entry so we didn’t have to worry about loosing keys. It really was a fantastic first experience and I highly recommend checking it out for cool getaways.
Here is my short list of must haves for families with small children when it’s your first time driving up to the snow.Do you have anything you absolutely cannot live without when going to the snow with your family? Let me know in the comments below or feel free to email me!
- Snow chains! Even if you don’t think you will need them, I highly recommend going to the snow prepared for anything! You can find gently used snow chains for less than $100 on resale apps/websites such as LetGo, OfferUp, or Craigslist as we don’t typically like to support Wal-Mart due to their use of child labor and slave labor, but I will go more into that on another post. Most of the roads in Big Bear did not have any snow on them, the mountain ski resort parking lots were very icy and we ended up using our chains there. We highly do not recommend keeping your snow chains on if there is no ice or snow throughout your drive because that can ruin your tires and the asphalt, so as soon as you’re through the snow drift, pull over and remove your chains! We noticed locals doing that as well.
- Hand warmers! We bought a mega pack of Hot Hands that I absolutely loved using over our three day trip. It was not until after the trip that I realized how environmentally unfriendly and non-reusable these were. We did find these reusable ones that can be boiled though, so I think we will invest in a couple of these next time around so we don’t put too unnecessary stuff in landfills. Here is a video on the science behind how the reusable ones work if you’re curious about that.
- Waterproof shoes/quality socks! Dustin found a pair of sturdy waterproof hiking boots that he absolutely loved. We were lucky enough to find some waterproof Keens (literally the most indestructible kids shoes you can ever buy) on sale for Henry in his size. They were still pretty pricey but I justified it by telling myself Harvey could grow into them when Henry outgrows them. I also highly recommend Wool or moisture-wicking socks to keep your toes as dry as possible. My friend Jovi who regularly backpacks recommended Smartwool socks or Darn Tough. Personally I love Darn Tough because they have a pretty cool lifetime warranty for the lifetime of the socks. We switched all of Dustin’s socks to Darn Tough a few years ago and they are most definitely the longest lasting socks he has ever had, considering he is on his feet all day long at work. I already had Drymax ones from Roadrunner, but I got these pair of ladies’ Darn Tough socks specifically for this trip and they are one of my most favorite pairs of socks.
- Layers! These are so important to keep warm during a trip, even if it’s short. Nothing ruins a day trip to the snow faster than kids getting too cold, 5 minutes out of the car. I highly recommend a base layer of long underwear (top & bottom). A thick thermal warming layer (top & bottom), and a waterproof layer on top (top & bottom). We found a really cool reflective hooded waterproof Gap jacket and waterproof snow bib at our local Just Between Friends resale event. This event is so cool because you can price your gently used baby and kids clothing/gear for yourself and sell locally to other families for a small listing fee on the items that get sold. You also have the option of picking up your unsold items or leaving it to get donated to local charities like Birthline. If you like tax write offs, your donated value of items can be written off too.
- Cold weather accessories! If it is particularly windy, something to cover your head, neck or ears is really nice to have, especially for small children. Sometimes they don’t like to keep them on, so it’s a good idea to buy it ahead of time to “practice” wearing the items. Hats, scarves and Waterproof gloves are nice. A warming pair of gloves on the inside is nice. I don’t recommend putting hand warmers in children’s gloves because they can actually get burned by them, so use them with caution!
- Sun protection! Overcast weather can make the worst sunburns as the clouds can amplify the UV rays. One of my favorite brands of Suncare is Babo, as they don’t use nanoparticles in their products. Their Babo Botanicals Clear Zinc Sport Stick Sunscreen, Fragrance Free, SPF 30 stick is rated 1 on Environmental Working Group (EWG) and is so easy to apply on my wiggly toddler. I also like that it isn’t hard to rub on like Green Goddess sunscreen.