Road trips with kids can be fun! Road trips with kids can be exciting! Road trips with kids can also be nerve-wracking, anxiety-producing and downright scary. However, they do not have to be. Traveling by car can be financially advantageous, especially with a big family. You can save hundreds or thousands of dollars per trip, so it might behoove you to get over the fear and get on the road. With a little preparation and a lot of patience, you can survive a family road trip and make some great memories along the way.
1. Bring Food
You can never have too much food. Like NEVER. I like to pack a full meal for everyone (including mom and dad) so we can be sure to have a healthy, satisfying meal we all like without stopping for an hour. Plus, it will save you money! Things that work well in a car are: cut up fruit, vegetables and cheese, sandwiches, and granola bars.
This may seem odd, but we have found that it works well to start driving in the late afternoon after making sure the kids got in an active morning. They may sleep, or at least want to relax and watch a movie. Then after a dinner stop, the kids will hopefully fall asleep for the night. Take turns driving with another adult and you can take most of your trip in peaceful silence.
3. Prepare your car.
Of course you should get an oil change, top off fluids, and fix any other little problems before a road trip with kids.
However, I say you should also take the time to clean the inside of the car and remove all the toys and garbage that’s piled up. (Or maybe that’s just my car.)
Adding some new books or small toys into the seat back pockets might be helpful if the two hour tour suddenly becomes four. Also, starting with a clean car just helps everyone, including Mom, start on a fresher note.
Remembering food and technology is important but make sure they have something fun too.
I let each of my four children select a special small blanket and stuffed animal to bring in the car. Blankets help them if they get cold or just as something familiar to soothe them to sleep. Stopping for an ice cream cone or a shake during a road trip with kids can help break up a trip and can go a long with with keeping the kids in line.
5. Pack your patience.
Road trips with kids can be as tough on the parents as they are on the kids. Everyone will do better if you concentrate on being patient and having a good attitude about the road trip from the beginning. You may run into traffic. You may have to stop twice in one hour because your 5-year-old has a bladder the size of a pea. You may dump a can of Coke Zero on your new shirt. But be like Elsa and let it go. Concentrate on having fun and making memories instead!