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Tips For Parents When Going On Long Drives With Kids

Updated on October 4, 2015
jpcmc profile image

I'm a dad, husband, and Christian first. The rest is just life's add-ons: an educator, administrator, learning & development professional.

Children can get easily bored.
Children can get easily bored. | Source

Fight boredom during long drives

My daughter Yna recently had her first long trip. The drive from Manila to Baguio is around 270 Kilometers (one way). Even with the new road the non-stop drive will take around 7 hours. To complicate matters, we were cramped in a Toyota Innova with 4 children ages 9 months to 8 years old. Before you take on an audacious task, allow me to share some tips to make the trip less toxic.

Traffic along EDSA, Manila
Traffic along EDSA, Manila | Source

Adjust your travel time

Traveling with children will lengthen your travel time. Not that they can bend the time-space continuum but because frequent stops are inevitable. Whether it’s a diaper change or a food break, there is always a reason to stop. If you have hotel reservations, make sure you adjust your travel time. In the past, I prefer travelling at night while the kids are asleep. This lessens the stops needed. Moreover, I don’t have to contend with the traffic. Just remember that the sooner you get to your destination the better - preferably alive and without incident.

Travel ideas:

  • Choose the fastest route
  • Consider the best departure time
  • Incorporate traffic patterns in your route
  • Watch out for traffic advisories

Expect lots of restroom breaks
Expect lots of restroom breaks | Source

Make frequent stops

You’ve learned about the longer travel time above. This second tip contributes to that! Unlike adults, children get bored easily. Also, bodily functions can be a huge factor for stopping. So during long vacation trips with children stop as often as you can. This will prevent tantrums from happening. Also, it breaks the monotony of being confined in the car. Here are some ideas you can consider:

Travel ideas:

  • Stop and take pictures
  • Stop for a quick stretch
  • Stop for bathroom breaks
  • Food stops to recharge
  • Stop just to make them run around – of course not along the highway

Prepare activities for your children during road trips.
Prepare activities for your children during road trips. | Source

Prepare activities for the trip

One sure way to keep the little ones from getting bored is to provide them with games. Depending on the age of the children, there are activities for each age group. It can be as simple as naming of colors. The secret is to keep it interesting. This means having new games and activities ready when they grow tired of one.

Travel ideas:

  • Pack crayons, paper, pens and other art activities that won’t make a mess in the car
  • Bring their favorite toy
  • Have a DVD/CD of their favorite music and movie
  • Have a kit or bag for all the kid’s paraphernalia and make sure it’s accessible
  • Hand-held games will come in handy. Your iPad or iPhone can do the trick as well

Bring healthy snacks.  Fruits are great options.
Bring healthy snacks. Fruits are great options. | Source

Bring food

During road trips, I have noticed that food keeps children occupied (and adults sane). Packing a few munchies can make the difference between a pleasant trip and chaos. Of course you must pack foods that are easy to eat and easy to prepare.

Travel Ideas:

  • Instead of junk food, bring fruits, nuts and other healthy snacks
  • Have extra clothes available since making a mess can be expected
  • A small cooler can keep your food fresh

Take turns in entertaining the kids

If you are travelling with several children and several adults, it is a good idea to take turns entertaining the children. This way everyone gets to rest and recharge. You'll be surprised at the energy level of kids especially when you confine them in a car for long hours.

Travel Ideas:

  • Assign who goes first
  • Ask every person to prepare something for the kids
  • An alternative is to assign who takes care of food, games etc.

Many adults are afraid to go on road trips especially long drives when there are kids. But trips can be fun with kids. Just don’t let them get bored!


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    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 5 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      Hello John-Rose,

      Nice to see you again. Oh my friend I know the horrors of going on a road trip with kids. Survival is basic and I'm sure there will be similarities. The more tips that we can come p with the better.

      Good luck with the hub. Let's show the world that going on trips with kids is easy. :)

    • John-Rose profile image

      John-Rose 5 years ago from USA

      Love it. After numerous road trips with the kids I have been working on a Road Trip Survival hub as well. I'll have to do some editing and link up to yours whenever I'm done with it, because you have come up with some of the same survival strategies.

    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 5 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      Hello Ryan,

      I'm glad you found it useful. I hope you have safe and fun trips with your children.

    • profile image

      Ryan 5 years ago

      Hey this is a nice article. Very useful!

    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 5 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      Thanks for the comments Danette. Being creative and having a lot of patience when traveling with children is a must. I guess it takes practice. :)

    • Danette Watt profile image

      Danette Watt 5 years ago from Illinois

      When our kids were younger, my husband and I always traveled at night - less traffic, kids quiet, etc. If we had to travel during the day or for those long multi-hour trips, my husband did the majority of the driving and I kept the kids entertained with stories, games, etc. and fed. It's not hard and can be done without relying on a DVD player, which I see in so many vehicles now. There's also good old fashioned talking to your kids about what's outside the car window and sometimes just letting them be a little bored and allowing them to daydream.

      Nice hub with lots of good tips.

    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 5 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      Hello Ruby H Rose. Releasing the energy of toddlers during trips helps keep everyone sane. Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 5 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      Hello there thumbi7. having meds and a first aid kit is really important. Our last trip had several vomit breaks as well. So it really pays to stop for a while and get some fresh air. Thanks for reading and commenting. Have a great day.

    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 5 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      Hi Stella44. I sometimes get annoyed at the "are we there yet" question of kids. But, it's part of the challenge of traveling with children. thanks for reading and commenting.

    • Ruby H Rose profile image

      Maree Michael Martin 5 years ago from Northwest Washington on an Island

      Wonderful ideas for traveling, yes we all get bored. Thanks for a great hub. Yes, it is amazing the energy of a toddler.

    • thumbi7 profile image

      JR Krishna 5 years ago from India

      Great tips!

      We carried some medicines for travel sickness also.

      It is a good idea if the children vomit during long travel.

    • Stella44 profile image

      Stella44 5 years ago from Ohio

      Choosing the best departure time is key to getting a head start on "are we there yet?". When we traveled with our children, who were still in car seats, we would leave around 4 or 5 am because they would sleep for the first 4 hours or so of the trip. It made a big difference on arrival time when doing a 12 hour road trip.

    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 5 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      Thanks for reading and commenting RochelleBr. I hope this hub gave you useful info.

    • profile image

      RochelleBr 5 years ago

      Ha,Awesome I think it's great