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Tips for Making Road Trips With Kids Easier

Updated on February 12, 2020
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Melissa is a mom to seven and a practicing clinical psychologist in Indiana. She has focused her career on making life easier for others!


Roadtrips are a great way to spend quality family time together. However, they can also become very stressful if everyone becomes grouchy. The following article offers a few tips on how to make traveling with children (really with anyone) less stressful and more enjoyable!

Five Tips for Less Stressful Roadtrips

1. Snacks

2. Entertainment

3. Comfortable clothes, etc

4. Take breaks to get out of the car

5. Plan extra time to get where you are going

1. Snacks

No one is happy if they are hungry because hungry turns into hangry! It's always good to pack some sort of snacks and drinks for the car, especially if you have little ones. Packing snacks ahead of time keeps you from having to stop whenever one person is hungry. They are available whenever they are needed and no stop is necessary. However, it's always good to watch the drink don't want to add 10 extra potty breaks because someone had too many juice boxes!

2. Entertainment

You will be thankful you packed some sort of entertainment with you for those long car rides. You can download music to play in the car, bring books to read, watch videos on your phone, and bring toys for the children to play with while staying in their seats. It's also good to bring a variety of entertainment options so that no one becomes bored with the available options. Keeping everyone entertained keeps them from complaining about being bored and arguing and pestering each other. It also makes parenting much easier and more relaxing, especially in a small space like your car!

3. Comfortable Clothes

Comfort is more important than you can imagine, especially if the road trip will take several hours. Wear clothes that can stretch and move, rather than something that will be too tight or itchy after wearing them for a short time. Dress in layers so you can add or take off clothes as you become hot or cold in the vehicle, especially since everyone had a different idea of what too hot or too cold is in the vehicle! Layers will also allow you to be prepared for the temperature when you to get to where you are going. You can also pack comfort items, such as a stuffed toy, blanket, and/or pillow to make the car ride more comfy and cozy. Being comfortable will also keep people from being grouchy and irritable!

4. Take breaks to get out of the car

You will also need to take periodic breaks from driving, especially if you are driving more than a couple of hours with children. Everyone will benefit from stretching and using the bathroom. You will also need to get gas and, possibly, switch drivers from time to time. It often works best if you can do several or all of these tasks every time you stop. For example, you can choose an exit that allows you to get gas and move around a bit before you get back on the road. The fewer times you have to stop, the quicker you get where you are going.

In addition to stopping for necessities, you can always try to find fun places to stop! The picture above shows one of our favorite stops while going to Florida. We always stop at the Florida Welcome Center when we cross over from Georgia to Florida and get pictures with the signs they have! One year my son even got picked to help the workers serve orange juice samples at the Welcome Center and he got to bring the apron home for a souvenir (picture below)!

5. Plan extra time to get where you are going

Often the most important task and probably the easiest of all the ideas we've talked about is planning for more travel time! Always plan on it taking longer to get where you are going than what you think it will! This allows you to have a nice surprise if you get there before you planned. Planning for extra travel time also keeps you from being frustrated, anxious, and/or annoyed because the trip is taking longer than you thought or cause you to miss reservations you have. There are so many things that can put you behind, you simply can't plan for all of them. Maybe you will need more bathroom breaks than you think? Maybe you get stuck in a traffic jam or get a flat tire? You just never know what will occur when you go on your travel adventure!

Most Importantly....

Remember to have fun!

Kids are only young once. Enjoy your family time! Make memories! Take pictures! Experience new things together! Then plan more trips to experience even more!


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