When my husband talks about going on a road trip, I get very excited. I love road trips! I love the uninterrupted time with my hubby, the places we get to see and the memories we make with our children.
Thankfully, our family as a whole enjoys them. But just like anyone, they can get tedious and boring when your attention span is maxed and you’re constrained to one spot next to others with the same dilemma.
That is why traveling prepared is so essential when you’re traveling with kids. No one wants to hear kids fussing for hours on end due to boredom or hunger. So, I have compiled a list of essentials that help us on our road trips that I hope you will find useful.
1. Food for Road Trips
The number one complaint I hear on a road trip is “I’m hungry.” I know my children are not the only ones with tiny stomachs, so I’m sure any parent can relate.
I always pack a cooler with real food and have a bag of snacks in the front with me. If your kids are older, it might be a good idea to divvy up snacks in individual snack bags and put them in your kids “carry-on”.
That way, when they’re hungry, all they have to do is ask if they can have whatever is in their bag and you don’t have to dig it out of yours and hand it back. I started doing this with our children and we all love it. So much easier.
- hard-boiled eggs
- grapes (if children are old enough)
- cheese cubes
- baby carrots
- shredded meat
- pre-made sandwiches (great for when you don’t want to pay for fast food)
2. Activities for Road Trips
We stopped often to let the kids run around and so we could stretch our legs, but with such a long drive, we knew we needed to keep driving as long as we could.
Thankfully, my mom was traveling with us and she made each of our girls their own travel binders. Inside, she had color sheets, word search puzzles and picture finds. Each binder also came with a pencil pouch that kept crayons and pencils safely stored.
Every hour, mom would have the girls compete against each other in the puzzles for spending money. That was a huge hit!
3. Comfort on Your Road Trips
I don’t know about you, but if I’m not comfortable while traveling, it’s going to be a long ride. More so when the kids aren’t comfortable.
(Tips for traveling comfortably)
- Wear loose-fitting clothes.
- If traveling at night, wear your pajamas.
- Travel with a pillow and blanket.
- If a child has a favorite stuffed animal, bring it.
- Keep their sitting area cramped-free.
- Provide mini fans in case they get extra hot.
4. Entertainment for Road Trips
I know this can be a hot topic among parents as far as whether a child should watch movies/use video games during a trip or enjoy the scenery. Personally, I prefer the scenery. However, when you are on a long road trip, there’s only so much scenery a child can handle.
We usually break it up. We allow one movie than an hour or two of other activities. Once the sun sets, we usually put in a movie before turning everything off and its time to sleep.
As tempting as it is to keep the kids occupied with movies the entire trip, you definitely want them to enjoy what’s outside their window, too. They may never pass that way again and won’t realize what they’re missing.
There are fun games you can play with your kids where they have to find things outside their window, which not only keeps them entertained, it also helps them engage with their surroundings.
5. Stay Organized on Your Road Trip
Nothing puts a damper on a road trip quite like chaos. If you have food, toys and who-knows-what-else, strewn all over your vehicle, no one is going to be happy.
- I mentioned “carry-ons” earlier. Those are just small duffel bags the girls get to fill with what they want on the trip, whether they’re books, travel games, or toys. It helps keep their items in one place, as long as they know they should only get out one or two items at a time.
- Mom, keeping a bag of wipes, napkins, medicine, (basically the essentials) up front with you will keep things running smoothly.
- Emptying the car of trash at every gas fill-up is a must.
- Sometimes you might have to “reset” every hour where everyone cleans up around them.
- Offering prizes to the child who keeps the cleanest seat works great. (Bribery works great in almost every situation!) 🙂
List of Helpful Items
- “Mom, I’m Bored” Children’s Activity Book
- Activity Travel Bags for Kids
- Travel Bingo Roadtrip Game
- Travel Scavenger Hunt Card Game
- Seatbelt Pillow Covers (These were lifesavers on our trips!)
- Kids Travel Pillow and Blanket set
- Mini Handheld Fan
- Kid’s Travel Duffel Bags
- Car Backseat Organizer
- 4 in 1 Car Seat Travel Tray, Storage Organizer, Carry Bag & Tablet Holder for kids
What are some of your go-to tips for traveling with kids? Add them in the comments below!