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!
*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.
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!
5. 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. 🙂
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!