Traveling Mom Tips: 5 Best Tips for Road Tripping with Kids
Summer is quickly approaching, which means that we are in the throes of planning our obligatory “pack all the kids in the car and hope no one barfs” road trip.
It’s one of those things we try to make happen for our family every summer because, um, we have to?
I know, we don’t have to, have to, but we want to? Sorta. Or, like, mostly.
I mean, I could personally do without the barfing and the fighting and the are-we-there-yets that are pretty much inevitable if we ask our children to be strapped to a car for more than 30 minutes at a time.
But, the memories we create when we finally reach the beach, covered in barf and ready to snap, are what make it pretty much all the way totally worth the torture of getting there.
Fortunately, as we travel more I get better at making our trips less like being water boarded and more like being on vacation. A vacation where I don’t get to sleep in or go to the spa or even read more than a sentence of my book without being interrupted, but a vacation still.
Tip #1 – Time your departure strategically
As in, go when you are pretty sure they are going to spend most of the trip sleeping. This works especially well when your children are small and prone to car seat crying. Because there are few things worse than 6 straight hours of listening to your baby scream his face off in a car while you sit in the endless traffic on the way to the shore. And, yes, I speak from experience.
Tip #2 – Bring snacks
The good ones. Sure you want to have some good-for-you items packed too, but you also need to just slip in a couple of bribe-your-kid-to-stop-it-already treats. Something they don’t get to eat often and is guaranteed to make them do your bidding for at least 23 minutes is what I’m talking about. I always bring a bag of Sour Patch Kids for The Dudes. They are strangely in love with them, they take a while to eat, and they never get them at home so they are happy to be sharing a bag while the hubs and I argue with the GPS and each other over the directions.
Tip #3 – Bust out the car games
Old school car games are so money when you’re stuck in a metal box with your whole family (including your dog if you’re
crazy a braver soul than I) for hours. We taught The Dudes 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall when we went to the beach a couple of years ago. I distinctly recall feeling like I was in my own brand of heaven when I actually got to doze off for 20 minutes while they sang off key and counted backwards incorrectly. It sort of back fired on me when we got home and I had to listen to them sing it every time we drove to the grocery store, but it was worth it for a few moments of road trip peace.
Tip #4 – Go electronic
We probably couldn’t make it out of our state (it’s not a big one, so it’s not far) without our iPads. We don’t have a DVD player in our car so, in addition to allowing them to play their favorite apps, they also use them to watch movies. I purchase one feature film they’ve never seen before we go on every trip and download it to all of the devices we have. That way The Dudes can sit in the back and focus on that for a bit before they have to start the I’m-hungry-are-we-there-yet-I-have-to-poop-I-think-I’m-gonna-puke-stop-touching-me marathon.
Tip #5 – Plan fun breaks
Make the getting there part of the trip. We always plan a fun stop or two along the route when we’re going on a long driving vacation. You really can’t rush travel when kids are involved and we just work into the plan for things to take a little longer. We try to stop for a picnic and some interesting sightseeing as we travel. It breaks up the monotony of sitting in the car for kids (and parents) of all ages.
Have any great road trip tips? We’d love to add to these!