This post contains affiliate links, which means I make a small commission (at no extra cost to you) if you make a purchase using one of the links.Road trips are a great way to take your children to see the world but at times they can test even the most sane mother’s patience. You can only hear “Are we there yet” or “I’m hungry” so many times before you lose it. The vacation could be a nightmare before you even get there.
Kids do not fare well when they have been cooped up for hours on end. Top that with hunger and boredom; and you have one cranky child (or more in my case). With a little patience and planning, road trips can actually be quite enjoyable and fun. Will they be perfect? Probably not, but at least you will get there in one piece and have some of your sanity left!
Try These Tips for a Smoother Road Trip
1. Bring Quite A Few Snacks
One great way to keep kids occupied and quiet is to feed them. But stopping every time they are hungry can not only add hours to your time but also get expensive. Some great snacks to bring are: cheese sticks, granola bars, fruit, gummy snacks, and pretzels.
2. New Toys
Go to the Dollar Store or the Target Dollar Days section, and buy some cheap toys and games. Keep these just for the road trip. The kids will be excited about something new to play with and you will get a little peace and quiet. Make sure to keep them up front with you so you can hand them out when you want. That keeps your kids from going through them in an hour.
3. Play Games
If you don’t want to buy toys another great way to survive a road trip is to play games. I-spy, Who Am I, and License Plate Bingo can be fun games for your child and you! It will pass the time and you will have some great memories.
4. Bring Art Supplies
I am not talking about paints and canvas, they can get really messy. Crayons and coloring books are a great way to pass the time. Color Wonder works great for little ones who might not be able to manage staying on the paper. Also, a sketch pad, pencils, and colored pencils are great for older children. You can have them draw the horizon, different cars, or even a family portrait of the vacation! When they are done, hang them in the car so you can admire their handy work on the trip! Don't want to deal with all of that? We keep Boogie Boards for each child in the car so they can doodle, erase, and start over without wasting paper.
5. Emergency Kit
Traveling with kids can be unpredictable to say the least. Make a kit before you leave with emergency supplies. Add a change of clothes, hand sanitizer, band-aids, antibiotic cream, diapers, wipes, moist towelettes, blanket, and a pillow.
6. Bring a Portable DVD Player
Depending on how long the ride is, you probably don't want to entertain your kids with electronics the entire trip; but if nothing else is working bring out the DVD player. They can watch some kid friendly flicks and you can go to your happy place for a bit. Don’t forget to bring the headphones! We especially like LeapFrog Videos for younger kids because they are educational and entertaining.
7. Stop For Breaks
Before leaving, map out some family friendly spots to take a break at. It is a good way to stretch your legs and let the kids run off some of their energy. A lot of rest stops have picnic tables, so pack a cooler with food and have a picnic. Not only is it fun, but it is a great way to save some money and keep from eating too much fast food!
8. Bring Books
Books are a great way to pass the time and keep the kids occupied. Bring some favorites along so they can enjoy some quiet time and visit a new place. If your child is too young to read or gets car sick like mine do, find some audio books they can listen to. Or better yet, pick some audiobooks that the whole family can enjoy! We are currently making our way through the Harry Potter Series.
9. Write Their Own Story
I left this until the end because it is our favorite car activity on a road trip. It is super easy to do! Someone will start the story and then each person will add a little bit to it. Take turns and give a sentence limit (or just ask for a word or two from smaller children). If you have enough people in the car to help, for extra fun, make a video or record the story. Then you can bring them home, type them up on the computer, print them out, and keep them in a box. It is a really nice memory to bring out every once in awhile.Hopefully these tips will help reduce the anxiety that can come from a road trip with kids. I would love to hear some of your tips for surviving a road trip! Please leave them below in the comment section.