It’s the time of year for getting out on the road with the kids and enjoying the sunshine. Not only does this mean there’s a lot of planning to do, but you’ll also have to find ways to keep the kids entertained while on the move.
Today we are sharing our Top 5 Road Trip Tips for Traveling with Kids.
1. Prep Your Car & Pack Accordingly
This is the first (and most important) task! We compiled a checklist for you to make sure you don’t forget anything! Having your car serviced, getting everything cleaned and organized, tips for packing…. don’t skip this step. DETAILS HERE.
2. Bring Snacks
This is obviously so important- hungry travelers are not fun company to be around, so stock up on your favorite foods! Bring the kids to the store so they can pick their favorite granola bars, fruit snacks, candies, trail mix etc.
- Turn snack time into a fun activity by putting snacks in a tackle box, from Inner Child Crochet.
- I grab a cup for each child before the trip that I keep up front with me. When it is time for a snack, I fill each cup and pass it back. This helps keep the messes at bay.
- Consider making an easy Pulley System, as seen on Kids Activities Blog. An easy way to get snacks and activities from the front to the back of your car.
3. Bring Entertainment
Keep your kids entertained with games and movies that they enjoy!
- Make road trip travel trays that double as a chalkboard and are easy to put away since they slide right under your car seats!
- Download new apps before your trip just in case the internet connections are spotty.
- Make driving through the night more fun with some glow sticks! Your kids (and other drivers) will think there is some raging party going on!
- Make a Portable Activity Kit for Kids with several games and activities. (Via Mama Papa Bubba)
- Get everyone talking and telling stories with a free Road Trip Story Starters Printable.
4. Mark Your Trip
Lessen the amount of times you hear “Are we there yet” with some of these fun ideas:
- Tiny Timeline: Use a felt road with sights your see and some velcro on the bottom of a matchbox car to track your progress. (from Once a Month Mom)
- Roadtrip Printables: Print these free printables from your home with cities you will drive through on your trip and take them off the timeline as you pass through.
- Prize Bags: Give your kids a special treat or prize at various landmarks and locations. (from Get Away Today)
- Map It Out: Laminate your map and use a dry erase marker to show your route, and mark where you are so they can see how much longer you have. (Via Creekside Learning)
5. Document Memories
- When we took our kids to New York a couple years ago, I let my 10, 7, and 5 year old use their own cameras. (We had a couple old ones laying around, but you can also use disposable or consider this a fun investment!) We now do this for every trip we’ve taken because it was SO FUN! The kids had a blast taking pictures of things that didn’t even catch my eye. It was so sweet looking at the trip from the eyes of a child. When you get home, make each of them their own album with their own pictures. PRICELESS!
- Child’s Travel Log: Let the kids draw pictures of the landmarks you’ve seen and display them on a clothes line. (from Housing a Forest)
- Turn a DVD case into a writing tablet or journal, from Stacy Vaughn
- Print a darling travel journal, from Eighteen25
- Collect vacation rocks, from Quarry Orchard
Keep in mind, this is a family road trip, right? So get your kids to help in the planning and preparations as much as you can! Not only will it be more fun for them, it will also teach them how to plan their own with their future families!
This post originally published on Somewhat Simple in July 2013 but was updated in March 2015.