Last updated on January 31st, 2023 at 04:32 pm
Is there a road trip in your future? Hours or days-long road trips take a little planning, and sometimes more than a little patience, even for adults.
And, when you’ve got kids, you really need to be prepared. Check out our best tips for road trips with kids to make sure you’re ready when it’s time to hit the road!
“Are we there yet?”
Children seem to view road trips with an alternate sense of space and time from the rest of us. How else could a two hour road trip feel like 12? We’re here to help anxious parents before you get frazzled at the thought of packing the car and going on a long trip with the kids, and believe it or not, it is possible to take a road trip with kids without going insane. Here are a few tips for getting kids of all ages to sit back and enjoy the ride.
Tips for Road Trips With Kids
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We are a big fan of lists. When it comes to leaving the house for a few days and heading out on the open road, you want to ensure that you have everything. Your younger, carefree, childless self might have survived for a week with a credit card, driver’s license, and a cardigan, but once you have kids, this isn’t going to cut it.
How many have felt the overwhelming dread when you’ve realized that your child’s favorite blanket or stuffed animal was left behind? If you are like us, then you quickly do some mental math to calculate whether it is worth turning around or dealing with the next few days of consistent meltdowns. By making a list prior to your trip, you can make sure that you have everything you need before departure.
An exact packing list depends on your kids’ age, the size of your car, if you travel with pets, and where you’re going. We aren’t going to get into specifics, but we will give you a few ideas about what to consider:
Check the car
- Fill up with fuel in advance
- Check the oil, wiper fluid, and tire pressure
- Get car insurance quotes, and see if you need to make any changes
- Secure all the car seats and boosters
- Change the seat covers for a more comfortable ride if you’re going on a long trip
- Test the horn and emergency flashers, and repair them if needed
- Have your mechanic check your car over to to avoid unexpected issues
A cleanup caddie
- Ziploc bags for wet or soiled clothes
- Wet wipes for just about everything
- Febreeze for saving your car’s upholstery
- Hand sanitizer
- Pack the same snack box for each child
- Prioritize ‘interactive’ snacks like making Froot Loops, pretzel, or Cheerios necklaces
- Put in some healthy treats that they wouldn’t usually get
- Use frozen bottled water as ice packs
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Only you as a parent know how long your child can handle being strapped in place before needing to run a few laps. Rather than planning a route specifically for bathroom breaks or food stops, we recommend arranging for ‘Bolt Breaks’. These are stops where everyone can stretch their legs and bolt around jungle gyms, run on a track, do cartwheels on the beach, or any other activity that will help burn off some steam.
For extra-long road trips, consider wrapping little gifts and treats from the dollar store and labeling them with the different town names. Books, sketch pads, travel games, and magnets with boards can all help pass the time. Between the bribery of unwrapping surprises and counting down to the next Bolt Break, you will be amazed at how much more relaxing your trip will be.
Audiobooks are also fantastic for long car rides, but it can be tricky to find one that is appropriate for multiple ages. However, these are a saving grace for a family with a child that gets sick watching electronics or reading in the car.
Experienced parents, do you have any other tips for road trips with kids to share? Leave us a comment below.
If you liked these tips for road trips wtih kids, also read:
Audiobooks Your Child Will Love
Looking for Road Trip Activities for Kids? Pick up These Free Printable Travel Games
Check Out These Pet-Friendly Hotel Chains Before Your Next Vacation
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