7 Tips for Taking an Enjoyable Road Trip with Kids! #Kidpinions Matter


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 Road trip with kids. Sounds like a good idea. I mean, what could possibly go wrong being cooped up for hours on end driving across the country with your children anyway?! After driving 5,367 miles on an epic family road trip this summer, I’ve found it is possible to have an enjoyable road trip with kids, but it does take some planning. Here are a few things to consider as you plan your epic family road trip!

7 Tips for Taking an Enjoyable Road Trip with Kids!

*This post is sponsored by HomeAway. All opinions are mine.*

7 Tips for Taking an Enjoyable Road Trip with Kids! #Kidpinions Matter

1. Involve  your kids in choosing the location and activities

The According to the 2017 Kidpinion Travel Survey conducted by HomeAway® and FamilyFun magazine, 87% of parents surveyed in the US said their kids play a role in vacation planning. After all of the driving we did with our kids this summer, I know first-hand how important it is to involve kids. While my children did not have the ultimate say on where we went, they did choose many of the activities we participated in on our road trip. We asked our kids their opinions on stops we made on the road trip route by giving them choices. They chose to add a few hours to our day by visiting Devils Tower in the Black Hills of Wyoming, for instance. We would have skipped it, had they wanted, but I’m glad they didn’t. My kids also asked to go back into Badlands National Park on our way home and since we drove right by it anyway, I accommodated. The stop was totally worth it.

2. Take lots of snacks and water bottles

When you’re stuck for hours on end in the car, it’s important to have lots of water and snacks. We pack a huge bag of snacks and try to remember to fill up water bottles each morning when we’re on the road. I don’t know about you, but my kids (even the older ones) get irritable when they’re hungry. We run to the local bent and dent Amish store to grab convenience snack items we wouldn’t normally eat before we head out on a long road trip with kids.

Valuing kidpinions when traveling with kids

3. Activities for the car

Just like you need snacks and water, it’s also important to have fun activities ready to go. We like to play car games when we road trip with kids and even take along prizes sometimes. Electronics, movies, books, and coloring books are must haves when we road trip. If you’re looking for specific road trip games, check out my post here!

4. Play with your kids on breaks

Incorporating active breaks during long road trips with kids is very important. Pack hacky sacks and frisbees for quick breaks at rest areas. My kids really enjoyed playing ultimate frisbee on our trip this summer. If you’re looking for ways to keep active on road trips, read this post!

Tips for Having an Enjoyable Road Trip with Kids! #Kidpinions Matter

5. Plan comfortable places to stay on your road trip with kids

Plan comfortable places to stay on your road trip with kids

Of all the places we stayed on our epic family road trip, the Pine House at Mt. Rainier that we rented from HomeAway was the favorite. A pool or hot tub can make all the difference, at least where my kids are concerned. Also, dedicated beds for each child help make the trip much more comfortable. 

The Pine House that we rented included an awesome loft with six beds, a foosball table, and a hot tub. All of these extras were a big hit with our large group of 12 people! Plus, the cabin was conveniently located near fun outdoor hiking trails. Our family really values comfortable sleeping arrangements when we’re on the road and 2017 Kidpinion Travel Survey shows that we’re not alone. Many families prefer to stay in vacation rental homes because of better sleeping arrangements – beds for all, private rooms for many. 🙂

6. Pack strategically

One thing we did this summer that really helped make our road trip easier and more organized was pack strategically using quart sized storage bags. I had my kids pack one complete outfit per bag and then separated them based on phase of trip. The first phase of our road trip lasted four nights. So, I combined four outfits for each child into one bag and packed the rest elsewhere in a less accessible location. Having the clothes packed like this helped up keep everything organized and streamlined. I will definitely pack this way on future trips. It really helped a ton!

7. When all else fails, eat all the ice cream.

Ice cream must be the magic panacea for our family. Is it the same in yours? When all other options for enjoying smooth travel fail, just top for ice cream. Ice cream improves everyone’s mood is seconds. 🙂

7 Tips for Having an Enjoyable Road Trip with Kids! #Kidpinions Matter

The biggest take away from our 5,000 + mile road trip with kids, was to consider their opinions and be prepared. If you do that when you’re planning your own trip, I bet your family will have a great time even if you spend a lot of time cooped up in the car!

Do you have a planning tip for long family road trips? I’d love to hear!

About Michelle Marine

Michelle Marine is the author of How to Raise Chickens for Meat, a long-time green-living enthusiast, and rural Iowa mom of four. She empowers families to grow and eat seasonal, local foods; to reduce their ecological footprint; and to come together through impactful travel.

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  1. Ben and i always take the kids opinions in. After all it’s their vacation too. We think that’s the key to keeping kids involved and excited to participate and enjoy everything.

    Also, if you don’t include kids opinions on things like vacation do you think they’ll include yours when you’re old? Turn about is fair play. No matter the age we’re valuable and have an opinion. I love how you guys parent and involve all your family. ?❤???

    I’m also headed over for those car games. We will so need them while spreading Ben’s ashes. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Great tips! We are a road trip family as well. My best tips are:
    Eat on the road and play during breaks. Michelle, you said this as well, but as an adult it would be my preference to search out the best restaurants along the way. It has been my experience that kids have NO DESIRE to sit for an hour waiting for food after being in the car. So my adult/food related road trips will have to wait until the littles are on their own. Instead we pack sandwiches, stop at grocery stores, and use apps or online ordering to make our food delays as short as possible. I even purchased a crockpot with a car plug in so we could avoid fast food all together. We take our long stops at parks, interesting attractions or another spot that gets the kids up, moving, and engaged. If you are traveling with two adults a food break is a great time to divide and conquer. One adult can be dropped off with the kiddos at a park and the other adult can pick up the food and get gas. That way you can be on your way sooner.

    Have a Are We There Yet? Ribbon. When the kiddos were little I would make tie ribbon across the minivan. I would attach clothespins to the ribbon. Each pin had the name of a point (a city, a river, a state boarder). The pins were about an hour apart. One clothespin had a minivan on it and I would move the van each time we passed one of the points. I also added clothespins with stop signs to indicate planned stops and clothespins with stars to let them know there was a surprise coming up. Surprises were things like glow sticks, a new coloring book, or other small car friendly trinket. The kids knew each clothespin with a point was about an hour apart so they didn’t ask “How long until we get there?” or “When are we stopping?”