Road Trip Tips- Works For Me Wednesday

Traveling With Kids

We love us a road trip in the family. Ever since the hubby and I started dating and had to travel back and forth to our families we have embraced the road trip in all its glory.

One would think that kids might have put a damper in our road tripping ways. But we have just decided that if they want to roll with this family they need to get with the road tripping program. And so far? They seem to be all in.

Now when you drive a car with no discernable entertainment system (outside of books, mom and dad and the open road) you need to become a bit creative. Sure we could buy some portable DVD players, but we prefer to go old school. And with our first summer road trip coming up in a few weeks it is time to dust off our road trip tips.

  1. Embrace the Book: We always make a library run before a trip. our kids love to read and even Silas how is too little to “read” will look at the same book over and over for quite some time. You can have them read to each other. You can read to them. You can even grab a book on tape (or I hear they have CDs in some of the newer fancy cars). My bonus tip is to make sure the library books are all put in the library book bag before exiting the car so none get left behind in a random hotel stop.
  2. Map It!: My kids love looking at a map to see where we are going. It also helps alleviate the constant “Are we there yet?” question. Unfortunately it isn’t a cure all. That will still be asked approximately 284 times. My friend Tricia at Once a Month Mom has a brilliant idea on the map theme that is definitely worth checking out.
  3. Create a Road Trip Bag: Hit the dollar store and buy some little games, crafts, trinkets for the road. Through some snacks in there as well. The point is anything new is awesome. I know crafts seem counterintuitive, but if you make up a little bag of crayons and markers and pack a clipboard I think you will find kids can color and draw for hours. Better yet have them draw what they see out their windows.
  4. Go “Older” School: Our personal fave is the alphabet game. Which Hannah has morphed into the number game and….. color game. Yeah that one is…… interesting. But we also have this awesome License Plate Game by Melissa and Doug. Don’t forget I Spy or the other alphabet game where you have to find objects that start with each letter of the alphabet.
  5. Let Your Kids Be Your Guide: Let them pack their road trip back pack (within reason). Often times my kids pack some weird stuff that I look at and think, “That is ridiculous and unnecessary”. But then they end up making something fun out of it that entertains them for a stretch of time. Also don’t interrupt whatever weird thing they are doing peacefully and quietly to impose your own idea of “awesome road trip” time. Sometimes they come up with crazy fun ideas that waste an hour of time. And sometimes, SOMETIMES, you just need to roll with their insane idea to make up works to songs involving bodily functions and lots of giggles. Sometimes you just need to embrace the crazy.


Purolator wants your family to enjoy a memory making road trip. The Family Road Trip Sweepstakes will award five winners who will receive a family road trip pack including: a $200 gas card, a $25 gift card for healthy snacks, and $75 worth of books and toys from Scholastic. Sweepstakes ends on June 30th so hurry up and enter!!



What is your favorite road trip tip?

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Purolator, maker of an air filter that can be installed in your car to make the cabin air cleaner and safer to breathe. I was compensated for my time in writing this post, but all tips, tricks and general love of road trips are all my own. As is my love of air guitar while taking said road trip. This post is linked up to Works for Me Wednesday at We Are That Family.


  1. Some libraries check out books on MP3 players. Our daughter was an only child till this year, and having that was great. The whole book is on this cute little player, you provide the battery and earphones. We loved that for long trips so Mom and Dad could have some good conversation time.
    Christina Z recently posted…American Girl comes to St. LouisMy Profile

  2. I LOVE road trips! We drove from Michigan to Texas last year with our (then) 2 year old and 4.5 year old and it went well (we didn’t even get the DVD player out until we were 4 hours from our destination the second day). We stopped regularly and focused on getting the kids to run around whenever we were out of the car – which meant we stopped at lots of McDonald’s playlands but instead of eating, we just let them play. And we stockpiled a road trip bag and each time we got in the car, we put a surprise “gift” on their seat which kept them mostly occupied until the next stop.
    ememby recently posted…It’s a jungle out thereMy Profile

  3. Great tips! We ALWAYS road trip – that way I can bring whatever I want with us – and it’s so much easier than flying with little kids. One thing we always pack is whiteboards. The kids have a blast playing hangman, practicing their writing and drawing pictures on them. I save them for trips and it makes them extra special. I’m actually blogging all month about staying healthy while traveling – next week will be all about relationships – so I’ll have some more good “road trip” tips.

    • Come back and comment with your post link if you remember. I would love to see that!!

      • Here is a link to one post – I’ve posted about this topic all month (exercise, eating well and relationships), so there are quite a few more in the month of June. Enjoy – I hope there are some good tips for you!

        Pam@behealthybehappywellness.com recently posted…Eat Healthy at RestaurantsMy Profile

  4. I am so glad to see another family that is able to take a road trip without constant DVDs! A lot of parents today act like that’s impossible–do they not remember their own childhoods??

    Your tips are great! Something that worked well for me when my son was too little for chapter books was separating the picture books (mostly library books that we didn’t read until the trip) into two bags: First day, one bag was in the car available for reading, while the other bag was in the trunk; second day, we swapped them. This helped a lot to keep things fresh on a trip where we traveled 3 days in a row each way.

    Before that trip, I asked advice from my cousin who has 3 kids older than mine and has done lots of road trips. She had two tips I thought were excellent:
    1. Magnetic drawing board instead of paper and crayons/markers. Much less mess and “I dropped the purple and can’t reach it” aggravation!!
    2. Use Google Maps to find a place every 100 miles that would make a good extended rest stop: park, tourist attraction, special restaurant, etc. Don’t mention these to the kids in advance; wait until you see signs of needing some time out of the car and THEN say, “We’re only 10 minutes from Fleebishville where there’s an awesome playground!” We found this worked so much better than planning to stop in one certain place, which generally would result in our kid being sound asleep when we got there but restless and shrieking at some other time of the day.

    Happy traveling!
    ‘Becca recently posted…Get Rid of Ragweed and Grow Your Garden!My Profile

  5. Our family drove from Pittsburgh to Florida last year and it was a great experience, even with the tire blowout early morning of a holiday weekend. We regularly drive from Pittsburgh to Michigan with our four kids under age 6 so road trips are nothing new. It’s simply what we do to stay connected to family & friends. The best tip I ever heard was to break the trip up into 2 hour segments with a “routine” during that time. We start out with read-aloud books, then music or audio books, then craft time, finishing up the last part of that two hour block with DVD’s. That way, kids know what to expect from the time, and DVD use is limited.
    Kaethe recently posted…On Brinnly & PreschoolMy Profile

    • I love that tip. I might have to steal it :)

    • My daughter did that on her own for our current trip – she made a list of what she and her brother would be doing (he is 5, she is 8). It was hilarious – 30 minutes of coloring, 30 minutes of her reading a book to him, 30 minutes of practicing their writing, etc. She came up with it all on her own – I guess my list making has rubbed off!
      Pam@behealthybehappywellness.com recently posted…Eat Healthy at RestaurantsMy Profile

  6. This is a fantastic post! We also go “old school” and have no DVD player (although, we’ve been known to but out the iPad with a Bugs Bunny episode when things get really hairy). We actually love to be able to just talk. About 2 years ago, when the littlest could talk a bit back and forth, we realized that they all wanted to be in on our conversations. (Also makes us be more choosy about our conversation topics with All Ears A’ Listenin’!) Ultimately, we often use this time to dream big dreams together as a family.
    Missy recently posted…Siri-us?My Profile

  7. we love picking up little travel games from Dollar Tree and such to help pass the time. There is one that is a travel bingo game that has all these little window-type “spaces” on it that have pictures of things like a big rig truck, rest stop, etc. — all things you would see on a road trip. Each time you pass one of the items pictured, you slide the “window” closed until all the spaces are full! Very fun and engaging!
    candy @ Mommypalooza recently posted…Disney Pixar | Monsters University movie trailer sneak peeks + previewsMy Profile

  8. We did alot of road trips when I was growing up, and have passed that along with our own kids. Road trips are such fun! We do many of the same games.. License plate and Alphabet, and we even did a scavenger hunt on the road last year.
    Tree recently posted…Refreshing Summer Asparagus SaladMy Profile

  9. We have taken road trips since I was little. It’s a tradition to do a “treat bag” for each kid. They get their own snacks and fun little activities.
    Emily recently posted…#SwitchandSave Baking Soda for Home UseMy Profile

  10. Love this post!! We just took a 5 hr road trip with our kids. Turned into 7 after all the stops. We took a car with a DVD player in it and honestly, I don’t know how much I liked it. I like your idea of a library book run. Heck, you can even check out books thematically about the trip you are taking! For us, that would have been books about camping. Next time, I think we will definitely do that idea.
    Annie @ Mama Dweeb recently posted…How to use Evernote for checklists and moreMy Profile

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