We’ve been planning our big family vacation for months, can September get here already? I am more than excited to head out and adventure for NINE WHOLE DAYS. I mean, two of those days are strict driving days, but doesn’t that still count as vacation time? I say yes.
We’ve done our fair share of traveling with kids over the years and while I’ve still got a lot to learn, we’ve definitely mastered a few things- like how to save money, and time, when road tripping with kids. After five years of road time with kiddos, I’m sharing our little tips and tricks with you.
I know that driving isn’t really a time saving hack, but it’s a huge money saver. While I love flying, we have yet to fly to any destination with our kids because of the high costs that follow. We’ve done as much as 14 hours one way on a road trip, so we know what it’s like being stuck in a car for an extended period of time.
Don’t get me wrong, I check the flight prices sometimes up until the day that we leave. But I can’t justify the cost of one plane ticket, times four, for our family when we can drive for half the cost or less. Plus, you get to make stops if you want/need, and there’s always lots of unexpected fun while traveling.
6 Tips for Road Tripping with Kids
When we road trip, preparing the snacks is my first priority. I’m a huge believer that snacks are the answer to many of life’s questions. End up in the middle of nowhere at lunch time? Snacks. Mechanical trouble? Snacks. Kids complaining? Snacks. Husband complaining? Snacks.
One question I get asked all the time is “What sort of snacks do you pack for a great road trip with kids?” The perfect answer? Variety. We have a bag that we have dubbed The Snack Bag. It includes anything from popcorn to chocolate, sunflower seeds to Cheetos, gummies to fruit. Bring your family’s favorites!
2. Drive at night
There are MANY reasons I say to travel at night, but my top two have to be sleeping kids and no traffic. There’s nothing worse than being stuck in traffic and having kids complain about being stuck in traffic. So beat the frustration and be sure to get a good nap in before you leave.
We try to leave a couple hours before bedtime, stop and get some dinner, and the kids fall asleep with full bellies! You’ve always got the snack bag, music, and podcasts to stay awake- plus you can always find a nice rest stop if you need a break!
Kids Play Tray – Perfect Activity Tray or Car Seat TraNido Nest Kids Travel Neck Pillow – Best for Long Flights, Road TripsKids Backseat Organizer Holds Crayons Markers and Tablet. Great for Road Trips and TravelBaby Elephant Ears Head Support Pillow for Car Seat, Stroller, Swing, Bouncer
3. Expect the unexpected
When you’re traveling with kids, expect to not be on time. Expect to have to make stops, even if you just made stops. Expect that something crazy (or not so crazy) may happen, like vomit. When you’re expecting these things, you’re less likely to get irritated when they happen.
On another note, if they don’t happen, the delight in surprise will be well worth the caution. So pack wet wipes, extra diapers, jumper cables, extra snacks, waters, accessible changings. Anything you think you may need if the unexpected happens when you’re road tripping with kids.
The worst thing is not being able to get to what you need when you need it. Those car toys that were left in the luggage, that’s an extra stop when the kids begin to complain that they’re “bored”. The snack bag, you want it in arms length, trust me. Those earphones, be sure to keep them close. Very close.
Even if organization isn’t your forte, you can definitely benefit from being even a slightly bit organized when you’re in tight quarters. Especially when those tight quarters mean that you’re strapped to a seat for hours on end.
5. Pack some fun
Have you seen the AMAZING Road Trip Printables that are all over Pinterest? These people are geniuses. If you’re not traveling at night, don’t skimp on printing and packing some road trip fun for the littles. Don’t forget about the Road Trip Hacks too!
If you’re not up for printing and creating your own road tripping with kids activity pack, Amazon is a mama’s best friend. Look at all these cool activity packs that you can use to keep your kids occupied on that long road trip; Travel Scavenger Hunt, National Geographic Kids Roadmap and Atlas, Bingo, Road Trip Jokes for Kids!
6. Travel Comfortably
When we are road tripping with the kids, I always let them wear something super soft and comfy. That way, they are able to rest, relax, and even sleep. Don’t forget that you should worry about being comfortable, too! You’re already bound to sitting up, at least be able to move in your clothes!
The other thing we really love, everyone has their own small travel pillow and blanket. That way if someone needs to rest, we aren’t fighting over a pillow. If someone’s cold, everyone gets their own blanket and we don’t have to readjust the air. When everyone is comfortable, everyone is happy.