The Ultimate Guide to Planning Your Perfect Kid-Friendly Road Trip
Throughout the year many families plan their vacations. Whether it be a summer vacation or a holiday break, between low gas prices and weather (or global pandemic!), now may be the perfect time to hop in the car for a long family road trip. While long stints in the car leave many kids asking “are we there yet?” take a look at these tips to have them instead asking about the next road trip.
Make the Journey Part of the Fun
Car travel doesn’t have to be a necessary evil required to reach a destination. Make the drive part of the fun. In addition to classics like the license plate game, many new entertainment options are available that the whole family can enjoy. Younger kids will like simpler games like eye spy while older kids may prefer trivia or other time-tested favorites. Additionally, look for interesting stops along your route. If a billboard offers an interesting detour, take it.
Some posts on this site contain affiliate links, meaning if you book or buy something through one of these links, I may earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you!). Opinions are always my own and I’ll never promote something I don’t use or believe in. Also as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Break Up Long Drives
Most kids don’t like to sit still for hours on end. Take frequent breaks at regular intervals to interrupt long stretches of road. Let the kids stretch their legs and blow off energy at rest stops and other roadside attractions. While taking breaks will add to your overall travel time, the stress reduction likely will pay off ten-fold. By taking regular bathroom breaks, you also reduce the unfortunate chance of being stuck in traffic with a child who needs to use the restroom.
Bring Plenty to Do
While many cars now have rear-seat entertainment systems, consider packing old-fashioned or educational activities for your children. If your family is taking a road trip during the school year, bring homework. If traveling over summer break, bring books or brain games.
One alternate activity that can get the whole family involved is listening to a good audiobook or podcast. With an enormous library of available titles, there’s something for everyone.
Kids Travel Bundle
Get the Kids Travel Journal with Prompts (45 pages) and Kids Road Trip Activity Pack (20 pages) together!
Being that I don't have kids myself, I am not really able to recommend specific toddler car toys, but my friend Kristin has 10 that she recommends!
Discomfort can make any kid irritable. To keep the whole family happy, make sure you have weather-appropriate attire, as well as other comfort accouterments to keep the backseat peaceful. If the weather will turn much hotter or colder at the destination, make sure you bring a change of clothes. If there’s room, consider packing a blanket and pillow for the kids. It may also be a good idea to pack tissues, hand sanitizer, and upset stomach medication, particularly if your child is prone to carsickness.
Plan a Budget and Stick to it
This final tip is for your sake. After all, you can’t have a happy family road trip without happy parents. For your own peace of mind, plan a realistic budget, and stick to it. Consider allocating a small portion of your budget for splurge activities and other unexpected expenses. Adhering to a budget will reduce stress on your part and lead to a happier trip for all.
A road trip can be an awesome bonding experience and a time for the whole family to get closer. While things inevitably come up on any road trip, these simple tips will hopefully reduce stress and make the trip more enjoyable for the whole family.
How about you? Do you have any kid-friendly road trip suggestions to add?
Like it? PIN it!
I love your tips for traveling with kiddos! Last summer, my boyfriend and I drove from KY to CA and back with my 9 year old… some of these tips might have come in handy then!
These are such great tips for vacationing with young ones. The key is to be able to keep them occupied. Thank you so much for sharing
These are great tips – it seems like the key is to keep them engaged!
Having a budget when traveling with kids is a must. Often they want to get more chips, snacks, and lovely things sold outside. Sticking to a planned budget will help save more money.
These are such great tips! I think that breaking up the trip and visiting locations or doing something budget friendly on that “stop” is so important. You totally do not want the kiddos fighting, bickering or getting bored. Kids have such short attention spans already!
Road trips are so much fun, but they are a hassle with kids. I think it’s key to make sure they have lots of snacks and toys to play with to keep them entertained.
What great tips! I remember the years when the kids were little and we would take road trips. They could be stressful at times .. but as long as we had games, snacks, and a good book to read .. all was well! I especially love your tip about making a budget and sticking to it. It’s so easy to want to buy every shiny thing that you see!
I always smile when I read road trip tips from American friends instead of UK ones. We consider long road trips to be about 4 hours or more – and then I have US friends who travel that far EVERY day for things! Brilliant trip tips though – especially the budget one, it’s so easy to get out of control!
These are fantastic tips, Tami 🙂 I can’t wait for the summer this year as we having two trips planned instead of our usual one. We’re quite lucky as well as our two tend to sleep the whole journey, and only wake up if someone mentions stopping off for a McDonalds breakfast!!
So many great tips. I always found successful road trips with my three kids took lots of preparation, but it was totally worth it. We accumulated some wonderful memories during our road trip vacation. Snacks and entertainment were at the top of my list. I miss these days.
These are fabulous tips! I always try to make the journey as fun and as exciting as the destination! I pack little travel packs for the kids. They are always filled with fun activities and snacks!
I believe it is so important to take time to create memories with our children. Taking the time to plan out those adventure sis necessary. I love the idea of travel packs for them as we head out. This will definitely help with our car rides.
I have been on only one road trip with a child, and it was my nephew. We drove 4 hours to NYC and he actually spent a good chunk of it asleep. When he wasn’t sleeping, I had plenty of games up my sleeve to keep him occupied. License plate games and find-a-car-color games really help pass the time.
I always travel with kids and so you suggestions for kid friendly road trip is very useful for me. As I go for long road drives with my children, it would really great to have small break in between. Also stocking up with necessary stuff in our car is the thing I follow always.