Surviving a Long Road Trip {With Kids}

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My husband’s family lives several states away. Every year we make the long journey north to visit them at least 2 times a year. Traveling with kids can be extremely challenging, especially little ones! I’m going to share some tips that have always worked for me.

Before Take Off! (Little one did NOT sit in that seat!)

Before Take Off!
(Little one did NOT sit in that seat!)

Snacks: Snacks are essential. Besides, what else are you going to do in the car besides eat?? I like to pre-purchase some fun road trip snacks ahead of time to save $ at the costly pit stops! Yes, we do make some small purchases at gas stations (see below) but I buy the majority before we go. I try and get some different snacks too to make it more fun. Some thing we like are pringles, corn nuts, beef jerky, popcorn, chex mix, and some type of candy. Walmart has fun candy that is usually $1 so we stock up! I usually make up road trips bags that have snacks already ready to go for the trip. My daughter can pick and choose what she wants and when. If she wants M and M’s at 8 am so be it. When you have a 12 hour road trip, I choose my battles 🙂

Movies: Movies just go together with eating. It’s going to be a long day, have the movies ready! Probably my most favorite feature of my van is the DVD player. It is a life saver and before had it, we had a portable DVD player that worked great too. You can find cheap movies at garage sales for even ask friends to swap with you. I try and get a few new ones for the trips to keep kids entertained. Now, we do not let our daughter watch 12 hours of movies, but it’s on a lot of the day. Who cares, really? It’s 1 to 2 days of torture for everyone, so watching movies isn’t that bad!

Basket of Toys:  Each kid has a basket of good for the car trip. My daughter will have books to read, coloring things, and any travel things she wants. The 2 year old will have cars, books, his sleeping essentials to keep comfy, and anything else I can find. Baskets are small in size and the kids can do a quick clean up at a rest stop to tidy up.

car trip1

Prepare for an Emergency:   There’s nothing worse than a kid getting car sick. We’ve experienced it way more then I ever imagined. Just be prepared for something to happen. I always keep wipes, sacks for clean up, barf bags, and most importantly- anti nausea stuff! I also keep an extra set of clothes for each kid handy. You never know if they might spill or be wet and you don’t want to be digging in suitcases for clothes.

Make it Fun:  Traveling can be daunting, but try and make it fun!  See if there are any fun stops along your route. If not there are some other fun things you can do. Hit up the $1 store on some fun trinket toys. Wrap up toys individually before the trip. After a certain time in the trip, give kids a present to unwrap. It can be new colors, cards, a new book/movie, gum. Keep it simple but it can be fun! For good behavior {aka: No Whining!} reward kids with a purchase at the next pit stop. Maybe a sucker or gum. Whatever! I’ve given my daughter some $ before a trip, like $4-5, and she can spend it how she wants at pit stops. Play games like the license plate game or any other game you can all play together.  Makes it fun!

Visit us on Facebook to get more ideas for kids and  see my other travel tips visit my previous post HERE!

Happy Traveling 🙂

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Shannon

July 20, 2015
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2 Comments

  • Reply Julie S.

    We make a similar road trip twice a year and this year is the first time we traveled with a baby. I can definitely see us getting a portable dvd player in the future. Those toy bins are a great idea too!

    July 31, 2015 at 6:25 am
  • Reply Brittany

    We’re hitting the road tomorrow morning! Our trip is only 6 hours, but on the way out a few days ago we stopped in a small town to let our 20 month old daughter play on a playground at a local park! It was the perfect way to let her get some energy out!

    July 2, 2016 at 9:04 pm
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