To many parents, the thought of taking a long road trip with young kids and spending countless hours in a car can feel like an extra summer chore. But with careful planning and a carefree attitude, a road trip can be an amazing family adventure filled with incredible memories, much needed bonding time and a good way to check off multiple boxes on your travel bucket list.
Here are 9 tips to help make your family road trip more kiddo-friendly:
1. Create busy boxes for each kid.
Before leaving on your trip, fill a lunch box or craft box (the box in the photo was purchased at Target) with activities to keep your kids occupied and stimulated. Activity books with word searches, connect-the-dots and mazes, coloring books, drawing paper, colored pencils, stickers and lacing cards are all fun things to consider.
2. Snacks, snacks, snacks.
Think you bought a lot of snacks during your pre-trip shopping haul? Buy triple that amount. Kids love snacks, and hangry kids are no fun. Purchase some of their regular favorites, and also buy some new treats they have never had before, or don’t get to eat very often (a few lollipops and Cheetos can go a long way for morale). Carb heavy snacks or filling, protein rich snacks are always a smart way to go – think pretzels, PB&J sandwiches, apples, cheese sticks and yogurt smoothies.
3. Try to eat your snacks or road trip meals outside or at a fun destination.
Plan your itinerary accordingly and break for meals at an outdoor destination or park so the kids can run around and let off a bit of steam. If you can fit in a quick hike, let your littlest one jump in the Kid Comfort, and work off some energy yourself! Stopping time and fresh air is vital to a successful road trip.
4. Play some family road trip games!
Create a road trip scavenger hunt, play the ABC game (go through the alphabet and try to find a word that starts with each letter in order), play “find that car” (look for a green convertible…) and enjoy endless rounds of I-Spy. Time passes quickly when everyone in the car in having fun.
5. Take turns being the DJ.
Yes – this may mean that you’ll be victim to Baby Shark or Taylor Swift on repeat for an hour, but music diplomacy makes for happy roadtrippers. And look on the bright side – no one can complain when it’s your turn and you play show tunes during your rotation. Add in a game of Name That Tune for extra fun.
6. Take the time to talk.
This may sound like a no-brainer, but instead of idle chit-chat about the next snack break or your next destination, actually try to have some meaningful conversations with your kiddos. You can even look up fun conversation starters on Google. Have moody pre-teens with you? This is the perfect time to chat, especially since kids tend to open up more when they are not facing you directly.
7. Pack your road trip bag separately.
We load up a seperate Deuter Walker backpack with items for the car, so we don't have to rummage through our packed travel bags. Zip Packs are the best for staying organized and packing a change of clothes, some first aid and garbage bags. Consider packing a travel potty for kids in case of a bathroom (or car sickness) emergency.
8. Use electronics.
Maybe not a popular opinion, but definitely a realistic one. Occasional time on a tablet or watching a movie on a portable DVD player will help to break up a long section of your trip.
9. Be flexible.
All parents know that if you have a definite plan... kids will figuratively (and sometimes literally) crap all over it. Be prepared for dozens of bathroom breaks, extra run around stops, and maybe even a few time consuming “I NEED TO GET OUT OF THIS CARRRR!” meltdowns. Keep your cool, go with the flow and keep your eye on the prize...your next amazing road trip destination!
Don't stop the adventure tips there! Check out more from the Rispolis here: