A road trip with the kids can be an enjoyable way to spend the day, or it can be a nightmare. The key is following a few tips that will keep everyone happy. Whether it’s bringing snacks and drinks or making your kids comfortable, you need to follow these traveling tips for road trips with kids if you want everyone to have a great time.
1. Bring Snacks and Drinks
The amount of money you’ll spend buying snacks and drinks at gas stations along the way is insane. Before your road trip, purchase everyone’s favorite snacks and drinks. The morning of the trip, load the cooler down with ice and pack it with your cold drinks. You won’t believe how much money this can save. Best of all, you’ll have better control over what everyone is eating and drinking, so don’t forget to pack some healthy treats, too!
2. Plan for Pit Stops
It pays to know where all the rest stops are along the way so that everyone can get out and run off some energy or to take that much-needed potty break. If you’re not comfortable with stopping at rest stops, you can also stop at gas stations. Just be prepared to have to say no to several impulse purchases your kids have to have. For our longer road trips, we usually plan an hour or two for a break. I research to find a bigger town with a playground or attraction to visit about halfway to our destination. We then stop to have a picnic lunch, go to the bathroom and let the kids run around a bit. It makes your trip longer, but everyone is much happier overall!
3. Build an Activity Box
If you’re going a long distance, you will want to make sure to build an activity box. You can include crayons and coloring books, puzzle books, travel games, and other activities that are car-friendly. I have a medium-sized storage bin that fits in between the kids’ car seats, and I fill it with books, interesting toys, or travel games. The kids can go through the box and find something to keep them entertained during the trip. This is where a trip to Dollar Tree before you leave really pays off! Kids will enjoy sifting through the box, looking for something new to try out. Ideally, if you want to keep them entertained, give them a new craft or activity for the bin every half hour to hour. Some of my favorite items are no mess coloring books and scratch art activity books like these:
4. Play Games
Travel games or old-school games like I Spy are always a good choice to provide when traveling by car. You can play car bingo and allow kids to mark off things they see along the way until they get a bingo. You could also do something as simple as giving each kid something to count until they hit a certain number. For example, you might ask them to count ten red cars. Our favorite game is looking for different license plates from around the country. We even used the included license plate stickers to keep track! Another fun travel game my family likes to play is mad libs. The words are entertaining to pick out, then reading the crazy stories aloud makes us all laugh so hard our bellies hurt!
5. Make the Kids Comfortable
Sometime during the road trip, the kids are going to need a nap. Be sure to bring along pillows and soft blankets for them to cozy up with. The more comfortable they are, the more likely they are to sleep. This will help prevent those over-tired tantrums.
6. Take the Scenic Route
Last but not least, choose a scenic route if time allows because if you want your kids to stay entertained as long as possible, skip the boring interstate routes. Your kids will love looking out the window and seeing wildlife, beautiful fields, and other gorgeous scenery.
Road trips are a great way to get out of the house without spending a lot of money. However, you want to make sure you plan properly so that your kids don’t get bored and you don’t overspend on snacks.
If you are from the Buffalo area, be sure to check out my Road Trip Ideas from Buffalo, NY!