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Road Trip With Kids: The Survival Guide

Updated on September 15, 2016

Family Road Trip!

Family Road Trip!
Family Road Trip! | Source

Planning A Road Trip With Kids

Planning a road trip with kids can be overwhelming!

I recently went on a 2 week long road trip with my 4 and 5 year old children and husband.

I found a few things that worked and a few things that did not during our road trip.

If you plan on traveling with kids anytime soon, read this article to get some tips to make your road trip with kids go smoother!

Road Trip

The best activity for kids while traveling!

The best activity for kids while traveling!
The best activity for kids while traveling! | Source

Games For Kids To Play During A Road Trip

Games can keep kids occupied for hours in the backseat of your car during your road trip.

When the kids are occupied, your road trip will go much smoother.

Here are a few of the games that worked with our kids during our latest road trip:

  1. iPods - We gave our kids our old iPods to play with on our trip. Before we left the house, we downloaded tons of free, educational apps on each iPod. We also loaded a few kid-friendly movies from our DVD collection onto the iPods. They were able to watch separate movies and play their own video games without fighting since they each had an iPod. It was so nice to hear the kids quietly enjoying themselves and learning during the road trip. I downloaded educational apps or their age groups. Some had songs. Some read to them. Others were interactive, educational games. My favorite apps were from ABC Mouse. PBS Kids has an app that allows the children to watch episodes of PBS Kids cartoons. The only problem I ran into was that we had to stream the shows and some videos, so we needed a wi-fi connection. Most of the apps did not need a wi-fi signal, so they were able to use those apps while there was no wi-fi signal. Don't forget the car chargers!
  2. DVD player - Bring a ton of DVD's with you when you bring a portable DVD player and the car charger. Before you go on your road trip, try each of the DVD's in the DVD player to make sure they are compatible. Some portable DVD players do not take Blu-Ray DVD's. This could keep the kids occupied during the road trip. We ran in to two problems with the portable DVD player. 1. The DVD player would slide off the center console while we were driving. Especially when my husband was pulling evasive maneuvers! We had to hold the DVD player down to the center console with a bungee cord. It was a pain in the butt! 2. Sometimes the kids did not want to watch the same movie, so it ended up being even more frustrating.
  3. Coloring books / activity books - We brought our Preschool and Kindergarten activity books with tons of crayons. We kept the crayons in two Ziploc bags (one for each child). They were able to color and do educational puzzles in the back seat. This kept them busy for half an hour at a time. I did notice that a few truck stops had kids road trip coloring & activity books. What a great idea! They were full of games and activities the kids could do from the back seat of your car during a road trip!
  4. Music - I have XM radio in my car. I was able to turn it to the Kids music stations (like Kids Place Live and Radio Disney) when nothing else worked. Even when we had no local radio stations when we were in the middle of nowhere, our XM stations still worked!

Pack these items to make your life easier.

Things to Pack
Kids Activities
Extra sets of clothes
Juice Boxes
Hand Wipes
Sealed Snacks
Portable DVD player
Bag For Garbage

Pack these items to make your life easier.

Road Trip With Kids

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What To Bring On Your Road Trip With Kids?

So you have your luggage packed up in the trunk of your car and your ready to go.

What happens if one of the kids spills chocolate milk all over themselves during the road trip?

Will you have to dig into the trunk to find a new set of clothes?

We've done that before. It's no fun! Instead, fill a Ziploc bag for each child with a new set of clothes, just in case!

You've stopped at a drive-thru to pick up lunch. When you finish your food, you are stuck with tons of wrappers.

Be prepared by stocking up on grocery bags before you leave your house.

Place them in an area of the car that is easily accessible.

These also work great in cases of motion sickness!

Keep wet wipes handy for sticky fingers after having snacks or meals in the car.

Bring your kids favorite, healthy snacks that are not sticky or messy.

Bananas are great because they already have their own wrapper.

Apples are nice and easy. Granola bars are healthy and not too messy.

Dried fruit and fruit leathers make a nice sweet snack too!

Picture Of Grand Haven, Michigan

Picture Of Grand Haven, Michigan (one of our stops)
Picture Of Grand Haven, Michigan (one of our stops) | Source

Ready for a road trip!

The family wagon is packed up and ready to go
The family wagon is packed up and ready to go | Source

Before You Go On A Road Trip With Kids

Before you go on a road trip with kids or with just yourself, you will want to make sure your vehicle is safe and ready for a long trip.

  • Bring your car in for a tune up, oil change and tire rotation if needed.
  • Check your tires for holes, tears or leaks.
  • Fill your tank up with gas.
  • Have an emergency kit in your trunk that includes battery chargers, flares or emergency signs and blankets in case you get stuck in the cold.

Pack What Would Normally Use During A Day At Home

Think about the things you do while you are at home.

What snacks do the kids and you like to eat? Does anyone use medicine? You will need clothes, pajamas, bathroom essentials and outfits for different occasions.

Will you be going swimming? Bring bathing suits, sun block, towels, flip-flops and sunglasses.

Is it cold where you are going? Bring appropriate shoes, a coat, gloves, hat and scarves.

Find out if there will be a laundry room that you can use while you are away. If there is, than you can drastically cut down on the amount of clothes you need to bring.

Picture of Cleveland, OH skyline

Cleveland, OH skyline
Cleveland, OH skyline | Source

Remembering The Good Times!

Don't forget to take tons of pictures during your road trip! Your children may be too young to remember this trip, but you can always look back over the pictures.

If they have not seen family members in a long time.

It's great to be able to look back at pictures with your children and family in it with your kids so they will have an idea of who they are talking to on the phone.

You could always bring out pictures of those family members to remind them what they look like.

If you are not visiting family members, you could take tons of pictures of the places you and your family have gone together and make a fun collage when you get back home to help keep the memories of the fun times you had together!


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