Tips for Road Trips with Kids- Top Ten Tuesday

Source: None via Jill on Pinterest



We are a road tripping family. We love to take them. And we take them often. And believe it or not, we do it without a DVD player or other electronic device in sight. This is the part where people typically think we are crazy.

First off if you strongly believe in the DVD method of travel, there is no judgement here. It makes total sense and occasionally my parents will pile us in their tricked out minivan for a trip to Chicago and we pull out a few DVDs to silence the begging for DVDs. But when they don’t have one to use it is amazing that they see no need for one at all.

All that to say these will be tricks of the trade of the non-digital kind. Cause we like to road trip old school.

  1. Play Some Old Fashioned Highway Games: We love the alphabet game and try to involve the whole family. We also love a game of I Spy. And for our most recent road trip I found this awesome Melissa & Doug License Plate Game. Now all we need is some travel bingo.
  2. Pack Snacks: This may seem obvious but sometimes we forget. And then we end up buying overpriced Funions at the gas station. Which is upsetting from a budgetary, nutrition-ary and breath standpoint. So pack some healthy munchies and get some water bottles from the Dollar Store. Your wallet and olfactory sense will thank me.
  3. Leave Early: Every time we try and leave at naptime or bedtime we just end up with over tired kids who are too hyped up to sleep in the car. We have found time and time again that the best time to leave is first thing in the morning when everyone is well rested and least whiny. Then let the sleepy build a little and with any luck a few hours in you will hear snoring from the back seat.
  4. Grab a Map: No not for you! For the kiddos. They love looking at them and finding where you are going. And with any luck it will help cut down on the “are we there yet?” questions.
  5. Allow For a Few Spontaneous Stops: I’m not talking about the bathroom variety although you should do that too. I am talking about when you pass a sign that says “World’s Largest Ball of Twine” and your kids think that would be awesome to see. In other words make time for crappy roadside attractions. That is how memories are made.
  6. Make a Pre-Trip Library Run: We do a lot of reading on road trips but my kids grow bored of their same books. If it is a really long trip I may spring for a few new books from the store, but I would rather borrow than buy. This is a risky tactic because books may get lost but we generally make a rule they aren’t allowed to leave the car. This does nothing to help books that are returned weeks late because you forget to get them out of the car however…….
  7. Let Your Kids Pack Their Car Bags: 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. So within reason I let them pack a little. And then see what creative things they come up with.
  8. Use Your Kid’s Creativity: First of all don’t disturb them unless necessary. Don’t feel like you have to entertain them if they are back there having a grand old time doing their own silly things. But if the choruses of “I’m Bored” begin, see if they can come up with fun games. That is how some of our best travel times have happened.
  9. Pillow Pets: Seriously. Pillow Pets. It’s a pillow (so your head doesn’t flop around). It’s a pet (built in entertainment). It’s a Pillow Pet.
  10. When All Else Fails Embrace the Crazy: Sometimes when all else fails you need to bring out the crazy. Singing crazy lyrics to songs, doing a little car dancing, maybe even a Chinese fire drill here and there. Sometimes you just need to have some silly time to break the monotony and keep the insanity at bay. I can do a mean cabbage patch from the front seat.

This post is linked up to Top Ten Tuesday at Oh Amanda.



  1. Pillow Pets! Oh my mother-loving YES! Pillow Pets are the best creation of the 21st Century!

  2. Snacks are so important! And lol…pillow pets. Sounds cute!

  3. Great ideas! I totally agree about traveling when children are well-rested OR in the middle of the night. When we have had to make long trips, we usually get up around 2 or 3 in the morning when everyone is still sleeping and they sleep nicely until the sun comes up! Thanks for some new suggestions.

  4. Sarah L says:

    I love the picture. That sign cracks me up. Good tips too!

  5. You had me at “And believe it or not, we do it without a DVD player or other electronic device in sight.” I thought we were the only ones!

  6. Mod*mom says:

    Some Great tips

  7. Crappy roadside attractions are the best part of the road trip, aren’t they?

  8. I love this list. I am taking my two daughters up North to my mom’s house in a week by myself so these are some great ideas. I loved the ABC or license plates games when I was young and my girls are starting to get old enough to play these games. The biggest thing that I worry about on trips is the fighting in the backseat!

  9. My mom used to hand me a map routinely on car trips. I was fascinated with looking at them, tracking our progress as we drove, finding the cities we passed. It never dawned on me until I read your tip here that she was totally tricking me into being quiet.

    Great tips. I think you are right about leaving early!

  10. I have to admit I’m in the pro-DVD camp, but I do wait until they’re bored and ask for them. We LOVE the road trips, and especially the quirky roadside attractions!

  11. We have had a van or 18months that had a DVD player. In that time we made 3 5+ hour road trips and never used it. We finally caved when we had a 3hrs each way day trip. We just had to get through and the kids were tired and crabby and fighting.

  12. These are great! We haven’t take our summer trip yet and I will definitely be trying some of these out with the older boys.

  13. We like to put our own family spin on the alphabet game. Pick a topic (animals, cartoon characters, etc.) and stick to it through the whole game. It really keeps things interesting.

    Molly recently posted…Scrapbooking Travel: The Road TripMy Profile

  14. Great tips – I have a 4 yr old – perfect!!!
    Debra @ A Frugal Friend recently posted…My Clubhouse from Step2 (Review & Giveaway – Worth $259.99 )My Profile

Speak Your Mind


CommentLuv badge