Road tripping with children may seem a bit overwhelming, especially if you’ve never taken the leap. It can be done, however, with ease and enjoyment given the right tools and expectations. “Ease” and “enjoyment” may be strong words, but it can be done with success. Depending on your definition for “success”. Ok, it can be done. It is doable. Allegedly.
Read ahead if you are planning a road trip with your kiddos anytime soon!
1. CLEAN + RESTOCK.
Leading up to the trip, give your car a proper scrub-down. Remove everything you won’t be needing for your trip to maximize space for what you will need and vacuum the french fries and ponytail holders off of the floor. Stock the doors and compartments with some essential items, such as wet wipes, tissue, a bag for trash, and sunglasses for everyone.
2. FUN BAG.
Children can help with this one. Give them a small bag of their own to load up with entertainment for the trip. Books, iPad, pen and notebook, earbuds, toys -whatever is age-appropriate for your children’s entertainment.
This one feels obvious, but I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy a forgotten snack bag in a moment of a child’s panicked hunger. (Except maybe for Rachel from third grade who pushed me off the monkey bars.) Whether you’re working with pretzel sticks and clementines or cereal puffs and ABC cookies, pack a small variety of old faithful along with a travel cup of water.
4. FAST FOOD.
Right-off-the-interstate fast food may not be your first choice in every single other scenario of life, but it is the most convenient option when it comes to feeding a family of mouths mid-journey-to-wherever. If you are focused on the destination and willing to compromise on the journey, fast food can’t be beaten. Easy to find, predictable menu items, quick service, and bathrooms on the way out make for inarguable convenience.
5. TRAVEL POTTY.
There is a magical, err cursed, window of time that exists between diaper days and big kid years that you do not want to overlook. Travel potties with little potty bags (can be purchased online) can be a lifesaver for the toddler who doesn’t know they need to use the bathroom until it is happening.
6. PILLOW + BLANKET.
A standard size pillow is how you’ll forget you’re resting against a door. A blanket is how you’ll forget you’re literally sitting upright. Fool yourself and your children with pillows and blankets.
7. CONVERSATION GAMES.
“I spy” is a great game to play in the car with young ones, but if you’re traveling with older children, consider playing “good, bad, funny” wherein everyone shares something good/bad/funny from their week.
Music, audiobooks, and podcasts on rotation is a good way to change up the vibes, and there’s never a wrong time to exercise turn-taking skills with little ones.
9. REST STOP > GAS STATION.
If the weather is nice, it can really boost energy to walk around outside after a bathroom break at a rest stop. It’s like I always say, what a rest stop lacks in cigarettes and booze, they make up for in pamphlets! Check out these popular rest stops
10. LOCKED DOORS.
Bask in the glory of knowing your children are safely contained and harnessed. They can’t escape. Take a deep breath and consider a hydrating sheet mask.
What are your other tips for taking a road trip with children?
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Booking a Flight. When finding cheap flights, we try a combination of search engines to ensure we’re not missing out on the best deals. We use SkyScanner, Expedia, Kiwi.com, Kayak, and Google Flights, then compare them to the prices shown on the airlines’ website.
Booking Accommodation. We prefer staying in hotels. Booking.com is our favorite when it comes to finding the cheapest rate. Again, it won’t hurt to check the hotel’s main website. They usually offer discounts for booking directly with them. For last-minute booking, check out HotelTonight. There are also other types of accommodation like Airbnb, hostel (Hostelworld has the largest inventory), and Couchsurfing.
Sightseeing & Tours. We like DIY tours - it gives you freedom and flexibility. You can take advantage of the CityPass and Sightseeing Pass. But we have joined in several tours that maximized our time and made our trip easier. Feel free to check out Intrepid, and Trusted Tours & Attractions for discounted offers.
Author's Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the company in question before planning your trip.
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