It’s true, road tripping is not for the faint of heart. And then you add in kids and it becomes a whole other level! But, there are so many advantages to taking a road trip over flying, especially with kids. I love that we can see and do more along the route and that I can bring along everything we need with no restrictions or limits! Keep reading to learn all of my tried and true tips for how to survive road tripping with your kids!
Tips for Road Tripping with Kids:
Choose Your Destination – If you’re planning your first road trip with kids, I suggest choosing a closer destination first to see how they do. Then you can add more time and farther distances based on how the first trip goes. We started road tripping with our boys when they were really young. Jett was only four months old when we made the nine hour drive to the mountains! Jake was only two months old when we road tripped down to the beach six hours away. So mine don’t know life any other way. If you are able to, start them out young and longer road trips will be easier.
Have a Plan – I recommend having a plan for your route, especially since your kids will be with you! I would love to be someone that could take a spontaneous road trip with no plan or destination in mind, maybe someday! But, I just feel so much better with a plan in place when the kids are road tripping with us. This means, knowing the route you plan to take and pre-booking your accommodations before you leave.
Check Your Vehicle Before the Road Trip – Make sure your vehicle’s tires are in good condition before you head out on a road trip. Get your oil changed if it’s time. Pack the jumper cables and portable battery charger if you have one! Take it from me, it is not fun to have car trouble on a road trip!
Set a Max Drive Time for Each Day – We are not the best at doing this, often times we like to hurry to our destination so that we have more time to explore there. But, we’ve recently started setting a six hour max drive time for each day. We all seem to feel better when we actually go by this rule! This can be tricky, especially if you’re limited on how much time you have for your entire trip. Ultimately, you know your kids best, so you can judge how far and long they’ll be able to make it. Our longest road trip has been a total of fifteen hours in one day and that was on the way home. We decided to power through and just get back to our house and it actually went better than I thought it would. I only suggest this if your kids are used to longer road trips!
Bring Plenty of Snacks and Drinks – There is nothing worse than hangry kids and no stores or restaurants in sight! Trust me, I learned the hard way. We have a basket that fits nicely in the floorboard of the back seat and I fill it with all of our favorite snacks. I recommend bringing less sugary snacks and instead bringing salty snacks and things like beef jerky, nuts, or peanut butter crackers for some protein. We also bring Gatorade bottles of various flavors with us.
Wear Comfy Clothes – If you plan to be in the car for a long period of time, wear comfortable clothes and shoes. This will make the journey a lot more enjoyable for everyone!
Make it Cozy with Pillows and Blankets – My boys like to bring along their own blankets and pillows for the road trip. They also have cute, little neck pillows that are way less bulky than their bed pillows. Mine like to sleep on part of the drive, so we try to make it as cozy as we can for them!
Allow Technology – Technology rules go out the window when we’re road tripping! We pretty much allow them to play games on their devices as long as they’re staying entertained and until they lose their charge! My advice, make sure all the kids have their own devices because sharing never goes well. And charge all devices the night before your trip so they’re fully charged and ready to go!
Stop for Breaks Often – If you or your kiddos are getting restless, it’s time to stop for a break! We either stop at a gas station or at a scenic overlook. Sometimes just getting out of the car to stretch your legs or get fresh air can make a big difference. Make sure you stop somewhere safe, don’t just get out on the side of the highway!
Find Playgrounds or Other Fun Stops – If you’re traveling with kids, stopping for something fun along the drive is a must! I have recently started using the Roadtrippers app and love how easy it is to find stops along the way!
Read Riddles and Random Facts for Kids – This might seem silly, but my boys love for me to read them riddles or weird facts while we’re on the road! Save this activity for when you notice your kids are getting restless. Click here for some of my go to random facts for kids!
Leave Early – We are a family that likes to sleep! We are not early risers and never have been. But, when we are road tripping, we go to bed early the night before and we try to get up earlier than we usually do to start the journey. This almost always ensures that our boys will sleep at some point along the drive!
Bring Medications – Make sure you bring all necessary medications that you or your family might need. I also bring headache medicine, Dramamine for carsickness, Pepto and gas pills for tummy trouble, and Benadryl. Our pediatrician told me that Benadryl is like a cure-all and recommended that I take it along on our cruise for seasickness for the kids. Obviously you should discuss with your doctor first and make sure you have the correct dosage. Ours gave us a sheet for the correct dosage based on age and weight that came in very handy when they were younger. I actually suffer from vertigo and have a prescription that I take, but often I find that Benadryl works faster for me!
Let the Kids Create a Playlist – We love jamming to our favorite songs while we’re driving. And at some point, there’s always a stretch of highway that gets maybe one or two radio stations. So, the boys have created a playlist on my phone that we save just for this! Am I totally sick of their favorite songs on repeat, absolutely! But we will do almost anything to keep the drive sane!
Friendly Competitions – We all love a little competition in our family! I offer an extra $5 on souvenir spending for various tasks, like which kid will have the cleanest area or for who has the best attitude on the drive. This has worked wonders for our boys now that they are older!
Road Tripping Products that We Use and Love!
I am not one to buy things just to buy things. But I do have some items that I truly love for road tripping, mainly because they have made the journey a lot easier!
The following items are affiliate links. I may earn a small commission, at no extra charge to you, if you purchase any items using the links provided. Thank you!
- First Aid Travel Kit
- Cordless Vacuum
- Portable Car Battery Charger & Jump Starter Kit
- Kids Travel Snack and Drink Cup
- Stress Gummies
Most importantly, I hope you have fun along the way! Road trips are some of our favorite adventures and often are a more budget friendly option for us. In this case, the highway is the limit! Just remember to be patient, plan for delays and emergencies, and drive safe. I’d love to hear any of your road tripping tips, so leave a comment. Happy travels, my friends!