Are you planning a road trip with kids?
As a former military spouse, I had to road trip with my kids across the country multiple times and this was before every kid had a personal device to distract them. After road tripping well over 35,000 miles with my kids alone, I have some tips to make the drive easier for you and them. Here are my top 10 tips for road trips with kids.
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10 Tips for Road Trips with Kids
1. Movie player!
It will make the entire trip better if the kids can watch movies.
A portable DVD player will let them watch their favorite movies while traveling. For older children, an IPad, or Fire HD Kids Edition with earphones so they can listen to music, or let them check out some books from the library before the trip to read while traveling.
2. Get a new movie to watch during the drive.
Kids will watch a new movie over and over. You can buy a new movie or you can hit a Redbox. It doesn’t matter where you rent the Redbox movie, because you can return it to any other Redbox in the nation.
3. Plan and play road trip games.
Car games are a lot of fun for the entire family. But if you’re looking for things to do to keep the kids occupied during those long trips, there are lots of great games and things to do for all ages.
For children who can recognize letters, there’s the Alphabet car tag game. The object of this game is to find as many car tags as possible that start with different letters of the alphabet. Usually, you start with ” A ” and look for tags from a state that starts with that letter. Once you spot a tag from a state that starts with “A” you move to the next letter, in this game, it would be ” C “, and so forth until you think you’ve spotted tags from all states or until the kids get tired of playing this.
There are other ways to play the Alphabet game too, for instance. Looking out the window for things that start with each letter of the alphabet.
Another great car game is ” I Spy. ” Have the kids take turns describing objects inside or outside the car, then whoever guesses the object first gets to go next.
Doodle Bug is a fun game. See how many Volkswagens you can find and say Doodle Bug, the one who spots the most Volkswagens is the Doodle Bug Champ. You can change this up based on the state. For example, there are a lot of Teslas in California or in Oregon there are a lot of Prius cars.
Another favorite is passing trucks, doing the horn motion, and seeing how many truck drivers will blow the horn.
Singing songs that fit your Child’s age helps pass the time. My four-year-old loves singing “Old McDonald” while passing cows, horses, or goats. School-age children know a lot of songs that they hear on the radio so for that age group singing along with the radio is fun.
For more game ideas, check out these posts:
4. Maximize Stops
Make the most out of a stop. Instead of stopping to eat and again for gas, stop somewhere you can do everything: gas, eat, and restroom.
5. Don’t let the kids gorge themselves on drinks.
I let my kids have drinks, but I make sure to spread it out. This keeps us from making extra stops.
6. Pack meals
Pack a few meals around your schedule. If I’m waking the kids up at 5am to hit the road I feed them breakfast in the car. I will also pack a lunch to keep us from getting stuck in the drive through line during the lunch rush.
Fix a picnic lunch and stop at a rest area to eat, where there’s shade and a nice area the children can run and play a few minutes helps with having to sit for long periods at a time.
7. Bring snacks
I take fruit, chips, crackers, and anything else that’s simple.
- 13 Grab and Go Snacks to Keep Active Children Hydrated and Healthy
- 9 Healthy & Easy Travel Snacks
- 11 Emergency Travel Food Must Haves
8. Move to Music
Listen to an exercise song when everyone’s tired of being in the car. I have the Happy Butts cd. It’s a little silly, but it gets everyone moving and laughing. Best of all it keeps the driver active and awake.
9. Clean out the car at each gas stop.
Don’t wait until you are at your destination, instead of cleaning as you go will help maximize car space.
10. Take toys, for the drive.
I let each kid pack a bag of stuff they want for the journey.
Make sure there’s room for them to hold a coloring book in their lap or a toy that can be played with while sitting in a car. A window view of outside scenery and for you, access to an ice chest to hold bottles, sippy cups, soft drinks, sandwiches, and snacks without having to make frequent stops to get things out of the trunk.
11. Make Sure Kids Are Comfortable
When traveling with children, if they’re too tight in their car seat, booster seat, or if they’re old enough to sit without this safety equipment and don’t have room to move a little they’re not going to be happy travelers.
12. Audible Books
Pass the time quicker by listening to a book together. Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks. Some great audible books for families are:
Road Trip with Kids Packing List
- Personal device
- Wifi Hotspot
Want even more tips? Check out my Road Trip Safety Tips!
Do you road trip with your kids? What is your top tip?