Ready to hit the wide open road? While there was a time when you might have thought of road trips as the ultimate freedom, things are different once you have a family. When you are traveling with kids in the car, it’s crucial to have everything planned out. But you can do it! Following a few essential tips for taking a road trip with kids can transform your trip.
Ready for the trip of a lifetime? Here’s what you need to know before you hit the road as a family.
Get Tech Savvy
We all want to limit our kids’ screen time, but road trips aren’t the time to worry about it. When you’re taking a road trip with kids, it is all about filling the car with as much entertainment as possible.
Bring a tablet or DVD player for your kids. If each child can have their own screen, that’s even better. Load it up with downloaded content. Remember that you can view movies and TV shows offline with the Netflix app so plan ahead (it can take time to get everything downloaded, so you don’t want to do it as you’re walking out the door). Bring a diverse selection to cover different moods.
Audiobooks or podcasts can be great for older kids. It is especially fun if you are able to find something the whole family can get into while you listen on the car speakers. And, of course, there is always the good old fashioned singalong! Bring plenty of music and give everyone a turn at being the official DJ of the car. You might get some eye-rolling, but you might also create a fun memory of everyone belting out their fave tunes.
Tip – Also check out our Stress-Free Guide how to Travel with Toddlers.
Tech Packing List Essentials
Ready to load up the car? Make sure you’ve got the following-
- Smartphone (an old phone can be great for kids in the car)
- Battery pack (the more, the merrier, and keep them charging at all times)
- Tablet or DVD player
- GPS (download your maps before you go! Google Maps offline can be a lifesaver)
- Camera (see the best digital cameras for kids)
- Camera gear (grab the tripod and extra batteries and memory cards)
Tip – Here is our list of 10 Essential Travel Gadgets for Families.
Create Comfort for a Road Trip with Kids
Create as much comfortable space as you can in the car. Bring small blankets, pillows, and extra socks so kids can adjust and stay comfortable. Of course, snacks are a must-have and will save you from having to buy unhealthy, overpriced snacks on the road. Go for a diverse selection of your kids’ favorites, so they have whatever they’re in the mood to eat.
For clean up before and after eating, pack as many napkins, wipes, and sanitizer bottles as you possibly can. Trust me, you can’t have too many! While you are at it, get some motion sickness bags and an easy to grab a change of clothes for bigger messes.
As you are packing, put everything in an organizer. A behind the seat organizer can save you a lot of time and hassle. Keep everything visible and within easy reach. When you are on a road trip with kids, you don’t want to pull over every time they need something!
Old School Fun
Modern kids don’t always need a screen! Bring some classic fun like activity books and coloring books. There are some fabulous activities books full of road trip games that are perfect for family fun. Simply having crayons, markers, pencils, and pens can go a long way as well.
Trip Savvy has a cool printable road trip for kids games. You can find a massive selection of game inspiration for apps and websites too. The only limit is your creativity (and maybe your Googling skills!).
Safety Essentials for Road Trip with Kids
Be sure to have a fully stocked first aid kit ready to go for your trip as well. You will want to be sure to have plenty of bandages, disinfectant, pain medication, mosquito repellent, and sunscreen lotion. If your kids are on any regular medication, make sure it is easily accessible.
Tip- Keep in mind that kids and adults both need SPF every two hours. When you are out of the car on excursions, keep it ready to go. Even SPF 100 will wear within two hours.
Don’t Go Overboard
While it’s crucial to have everything on hand, don’t go crazy with it! Unless you are really getting out into the wilderness, you will have easy access to most supplies. If it is not something you use daily and not a health essential, skip it.
When you are on a road trip with kids, having a comfortable car is also important. You don’t want them jammed between suitcases! Keep it simple.
Be sure to also keep a couple of stocked bags handy so that you can grab and go. If you are doing diaper changes, clean-ups, or just changing shoes, you want everything to be accessible and easy to find.