You’re in the right place if you’re wondering how to survive a long car ride with kids. We have some long road trips with kids’ hacks and tips to ensure your vacation starts correctly.
A happy kid on a long car ride equals happy parents, so plan activities to keep them entertained.
We have compiled a list of road trip activities for kids and what you may need while you travel.
9 Best Tips for Road Tripping with Kids: Surviving Long Car Rides
#1 Check Out Early
It’s tough to get up at dawn, especially for kids. But leaving at 5 a.m. has many benefits. By the last morning, you’ll be closer to your destination.
Kids can sleep during the first part of the trip, and it helps avoid traffic spots. For instance, we time our Boston to Pittsburgh drive to swerve through significant cities like New York during rush hour.
A journey with fewer traffic holdups is much better.
#2 Plan A Way To Address Family Fights
In a family of 3 girls, bickering is inevitable. Keep calm and help kids do the same. You can’t solve fights hurling down the freeway at 65 mph with the next rest stop still an hour away.
Time to declare quiet time, turn up music, and offer special snacks. Plan a solution that allows everyone to take a break from the situation, even in the car.
#3 Bring Backup Entertainment.
Kids, particularly toddlers, have limited attention spans. Therefore, it’s ideal to have backup entertainment for long family road trips.
If kids don’t get motion sickness, bring along road trip activities. I made a game pack with 45 printable pages, including bingo, word search, crossword puzzles, mazes, brainteasers, and games my kids loved on our 2.5-day drive from New England to Florida. Check it out!
#4 Plan Flexibility
Parents know Sod’s Law (or Murphy’s Law) is always in effect: if something can go wrong, it will.
Relax and appreciate every moment of a road trip with kids—adding a stop, arriving late, or extending a trip is something to enjoy.
My husband and I are extreme organizers and get stressed before a road trip. On the morning of our trip, one of us will sarcastically remind the other that we’re “on a tight schedule.” It’s a reminder that freedom is the best part of a road trip!
A simple and effective backup plan is to turn on the music. The kids will enjoy the music and let you concentrate on the road for a while.
But preparation is also needed here if you want to avoid seeing the message that an Apple Music song is not available in the region or the like.
The fact is that many songs are not available in your region’s iTunes due to copyright. You will still enjoy the music if you use VeePN.
Just change the region, and you will see those songs that have been blocked.
#5 Road Trip Games
They are wondering how to entertain a child on a long car ride. Games can help. Car travel with kids offers a chance for them to play some car ride games.
Our kids enjoy games with involvement from us in front. Favorites include Travel Bingo, I Spy, License Plate, and Alphabet Game.
This game book helps with long car rides. Make drives with kids more fun with games and ideas. Consider games that children can play on their own.
#6 Don’t Be Afraid To Make The Journey Special
My parents always spoiled us a little during trips. For a morale boost on the last miles, my Dad would subtly click the turn signal and get us some McDonald’s.
We never asked for it, but cheers would erupt once we heard the “click-click-click.” Lunchables and squeeze-its were our lunch (am I dating myself?), and surprises were given at the start of the journey.
#7 Use The Time To Have Some Genuine Family Conversations
Long car rides offer a captive audience, a perfect opportunity to bond with your kids by sharing childhood experiences.
My sisters and I always enjoyed my Dad’s tales of adventure with his childhood pals, the Nelsons.
We could tell when a good one was coming as he would start with, “This one time, me and the Nelson boys…”.
To connect with your children, find out about their favorite games, shows, and books, and engage them in a genuine conversation.
#8 Schedule Breaks
It’s wise to plan breaks into your itinerary. Many people stop every two hours to switch drivers, rest, and grab a coffee.
Driving long distances can be tiring. Take breaks to stretch your legs, use the bathroom, or have a coffee. Kids are more patient when they know when breaks will happen.
We give them general times for breaks, but just stopping for the bathroom and gas isn’t fun and will prompt “Are we there yet” complaints.
#9 Have Surprises In Your Back Pocket
As a child, our parents had a surprise goody bag each time we crossed a state line or reached a preset mileage.
The bag contained activity books, candy, DVDs, games, etc. Bringing new items for the journey will keep the children engaged and excited—another road trip gem.
These are a few tips for surviving long car rides with kids. Always remember to set realistic expectations and plan flexible activities so you can adjust accordingly on your road trips.
Keep snacks, games, and surprises in the glove box to keep everyone entertained during the journey. The key to an enjoyable road trip is keeping things fresh and exciting while minimizing stress.