How To Not Go Crazy During a Road Trip With Kids

How To Not Go Crazy During a Road Trip With Kids from @FunAsYouGrow

Is it possible to stay sane on a road trip with kids? The word travel makes me think of one thing; ARE WE THERE YET?

Surprise! Our family is taking an unexpected road trip in less than 36 hours! With little time to prepare, I’m wondering how crazy this road trip with kids will make me! We haven’t had months to plot out every potty along the way or strategic stops at various attractions along our way.

Tomorrow I’ll pack. But tonight, I’m putting the time into how can we make the most of our time together in the car.

Stay %$?&#@! Calm! Stress makes absolutely nothing better. It’s one thing you definitely don’t need to take with you during a road trip with kids. Realistically though, it is likely unavoidable. Have you seen how the Griswolds travel?!?! Don’t let little detours get the better of you.

Don’t neglect your routines! I’m pretty sure the Earth rotates around my toddler’s nap time. It is the one activity that defines when our family does things. Naps are a perfect opportunity to make some distance with few disruptions.


Don’t forget to pack the entertainment! A good book was all I ever needed for a car ride, but my kids have other interests. My 7yo will want a smart device and my toddler will want things to hold and manipulate. I’ve got to make sure his electronics have a full charge and I will have to bring a variety for the toddler. Keep these things easily accessible if you don’t want to make pit stops!

Don’t forget to pack the snacks! Hunger always seems to be an issue when you are confined to a car. Pack a variety of your kids’ favorites and maybe a few special treats for good behavior. And don’t forget YOU! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to share goldfish crackers and juice boxes with my kids because I didn’t bring anything for myself.

Making the most of our time together in the car is just as important as making sure we have enough clean underwear during our road trip with kids.

But don’t pack too much! Airplanes are cramped but your car doesn’t have to be. Keep the essential items handy (see above) and keep everything else out of the way. You always need to pack a little extra for kids, but be strategic. Legos, crayons, and toy cars and trains are my faves for some very open -ended play. Remember to leave a little room to bring back souvenirs. Your kids WILL want them.

You will measure time and miles in between are-we-there-yets! Know your route and be prepared to explain how much longer or further it will be in terms that they will understand. My 7 yo can tell time perfectly but he doesn’t understand what an hour feels like. A half hour is one episode of SpongeBob. An hour is two episodes.

ENJOY! A road trip with kids may not be easy, and sometimes unpleasant. But you’re making memories! Make the most of spending time together without having other rooms or places to retreat to when it gets crazy. Laugh and be positive. Your good attitude can have a big impact on their attitudes.

How do you get through a road trip with kids? What are your tips, tricks, and hacks?

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  1. Great post! I traveled across the continent twice with my daughter, among countless other trips. Without additional entertainment, I wouldn’t have made it.

  2. This is fantastic! So far, we’ve only done mini road trips (3-4 hours) and the kids usually fall asleep for a big chunk of it. I’ve been toying with taking them on a longer trip maybe this summer and I will keep these tips in mind!

  3. These tips are really great! We just took a 3 hour roadtrip with our two kiddos, and they did great! We only had to stop one time to feed our two month old. And our 2 1/2 year-old did great with all his car travel toys!

  4. This is great it is so hard sometimes. I only have little ones and it’s hard for me when they’re crying and you try everything but it’s just a matter of they’re done with being in the car and the car seat. I like to break up the trip too. Make sure we are prepared to take two days to drive ten hours rather then all in one day like we would without the kids.

    1. I agree! It is so hard to tune out all of the ‘are we there yets’ and especially the crying! My husband loves traveling super late and crazy early when we have longer distances to travel so the kids happily sleep through most of our travels.

  5. Lots of great tips! It really is hard to take a road trip with kids, especially younger children. I always make sure to prepare well in advance before we leave, and make sure to pack things to keep them entertained. We seem to have a lot of luck with games we can all play together. For example, some version of I Spy or one of those Car Trip BINGO games you can find online. I’ve also found, like Sarah above mentioned, that breaking up a long trip is the best way to go!

  6. I survived a road trip with kids last summer – hallelujah! LOL I was the only adult, too. I drove 3 kids from the Midwest to Florida. I was really nervous before I left, but it was actually a fun experience for all of us. 🙂

  7. We play a LOT of ‘I spy’ games and bring some surprise movies along. But even then, our road trips are no longer than 6 hours. If you can survive more, power to you!

  8. hahhah this is so true. my kids use to drive me nuts when they were super young always fighting at the worst times. so just making noise. lol
    this is great and wonderful for parents. thanks

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