The Successful Road Trip - Tips for Traveling with Kids

The Successful Road Trip – Tips for Traveling With Kids

The Successful Road Trip | Tips for Traveling With Kids

I grew up in a family that loved traveling. Jumping in the car and driving across country is really no big deal to me. In fact, I think the trip is just as fun as the destination. However, anyone with small children knows that making a road trip successful takes some planning. That is unless you don’t mind quarreling children, a million “are we there yets”, and dozens of drive-through window stops. Here are a few road trip planning ideas that work for our family.

Night travel: My husband did not grow up in a family that did much long distance traveling. Our first few road trips together were difficult because we had different ideas about what a road trip should be.  He wanted to make good time and I wanted to make good memories. After a handful of trips we were able to meet in the middle. If the drive is longer than about 4-5 hours, we do the beginning of the trip either late at night or very early in the morning. We put the kids in the car, either asleep or tired, and we dress them in their pajamas. This allows the children to sleep and hubby to make good time for a little while.  When the kids awake we are well on our way.  Here is my daughter in her pajamas after being on the road for over five hours, four of which she slept through.

Tips for Road Trips with Kids

Games and activities: Any good road trip must include games and activities.  Some good old-fashioned road games are I Spy, Mad Libs and slug bug. Here are some road trip games (and a free printable!). We also have a travel version of the Lite Brite, View Finders with a lot of cartridges, and interesting flash cards. Here is my son checking out some dinosaurs on his View Finder. I also usually pack a lot of car-friendly art supplies like coloring books, crayons and clipboards. Busy kids are happy kids.

Tips for Road Trips with Kids

Sing a song – or two or three: We always sing on our long trips. Sometimes we sing solos (and no, we do not sound good). Other times we sing together or along with CDs. On our last trip we listened to Snazzy by Go Fish.  It is a goofy CD but very fun for a family (and more importantly, not annoying to parents). I especially like The Mom Song while the children prefer Jammies. Dad always prefers to loudly perform Army cadences.

Snazzy - Road Trip Music for Kids

Food: Because I do not like to stop at dozens of convenience stores and drive thru windows, I always pack plenty of snacks and drinks. We usually eat our road trip meals in restaurants of varying caliber, however, I refuse to buy our snacks on the go. That is a real time killer and a big hit to the budget. I try to stick to healthier options but I do allow some sweets to sneak in – I pack everything from fruit to cookies.

No matter how prepared you are, if you do not bring along your sense of adventure and a good attitude, the trip will not be successful. We make quality family time a priority on our trips. As a low media family, we do not bring DVD players, video games, or laptops with us. We also make sure that we all pay attention to the beauty or uniqueness of the scenery around us. Here is my husband’s idea of beautiful scenery…me with no make-up, wearing a smile. He must be crazy.

Tips for Road Trips with Kids

Does your family enjoy road trips?  Feel free to leave a comment. Share and let’s talk about it.

About Janice

I am so glad you stopped by. Kick your shoes off and hang with me a while. I am an Arizona native, wife to a hard-working hubby, mom of two, and daughter of the King. I love sharing recipes, crafts, and family activities that any mom can do. Life is complicated enough, right? When I am not up to my ears in laundry, dishes, and creating for Celebrating Family, you will also find me at East Valley Mom Guide. Come follow me on Google +, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter.


  1. I like to take road trips with my kids all the time. I will usually bring a lot of snacks and drinks so we don't have to make so many stops on the way. I bring a lot of activities for the kids to do such as coloring books, reading books, and some traveling games that they can play together. I do however keep my Ipad with me when we go for the emergencies when the kids are getting too restless. Working and subscribing to DISH Network I have the TV Everywhere app with them. I can access live TV and all our DVR recordings from anywhere we are at. It is a lifesaver for when they are getting bored and restless.

  2. Rose, your trips sound like so much fun. I definitely think making the car ride fun can make or break a trip. 🙂

  3. Road trips are great! I like traveling at night so the kiddos can sleep but then I'm tired later! I remember when we did road trips when I was a kid. I kept myself busy by writing down everyone's license plate numbers! lol Weird kid.. I know..

  4. We recently did a 12 hour road trip with three 15-year olds and a 23 month old. The portable DVD players was critical for us! The boys watched the 3 Stooges (of all things) and my daughter got her Dora time. Between that and playing the name game, the drive wasn’t that bad.

  5. We just got back from Branson and I have been inspired to write a similar post… there are so many ways you can prepare for a great road trip, and so many ways to screw one up!!! LOL

  6. We try our best not to put on DVDs during our trips. The rule in our world is a minimum of 2 hours in the car before a movie. I like your ideas. We will have to try a few on our next trip. Thanks for sharing.

  7. I don’t like car trips as much as I used to. We do try to travel during baby’s naptime though!

  8. My family has worked out a good approach based on each parent’s strengths: I can hit the ground running first thing in the morning, I can read in a moving vehicle, but I dislike driving. He is slow to awaken, gets motion sickness, but is willing to drive for hours and hours. So, we get an early start after the kid and I have a quick breakfast. I drive for 2-3 hours and we listen to music. Then we stop for brunch. After that, he drives most of the day while I sit in back and read aloud.

    We read chapter books now, but when our son was 2 we took a multi-day road trip, and I didn’t want to be reading the same picture books over and over again…so we went to the library and checked out enough to fill TWO tote bags. Each day one bag of books was in the back seat and one was in the trunk, and next day we’d switch them.

    We have a hybrid car, which helps us avoid having to stop for gas when the kid is napping! 🙂

  9. Hiya Janice I really liked your great article on The Successful Road Trip. some really excellent articles on this website, thanks for contribution.

  10. Hiya Janice I liked your great article on The Successful Road Trip. very interesting topic, great post.

  11. Great tips. We are planning a road trip this summer and need all the help I can get. 🙂

  12. Hello fantastic blog! Does running a blog like this take a lot of work?
    I’ve very little expertise in computer programming however I was hoping to start my own blog in the near future.
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  1. […] things and the LeapPad. We also bring along a portable DVD player for movie time. This post from Celebrating Family has some great tips for keeping kids entertained on the […]

  2. […] here you need to be prepared with snacks.  Before we get to the snacks, check out some other great Road Trip Tips for Kids from Janice at Celebrating […]