How to Have An Awesome Road Trip with Kids

Our family has always made road trips. From the time our first three girls were toddlers, we have made 1-4 trips a year that are over 12 hours one way. Plus, all the 2-4 hours trips scattered throughout the year. I’ve learned a thing or two about traveling with littles. Here’s my top five tricks to having an awesome road trip with the littles.

Don’t be in a hurry. Yes, it can suck turning a 12 hour road trip into a 14+ hour one. But if you will go ahead and plan on a trip taking an hour {or a few} longer than your Apple Maps app says, you will reduce your stress level immensely.

Have a plan for snacks. We have traveled A LOT with our family of 6 and have sometimes added a couple extras in the vehicle as well. Have a plan and let the kiddos know the plan for what will happen when you stop to gas up or to go potty. Will you be letting them chose a snack every time you stop? Did you bring snacks? Let the kids know what to expect. It may not completely eliminate whining but it should at least give you the luxury of reminding the kids there was plan set already.

And don’t forget the meal plans. It can get expensive eating out on a long road trip. Sometimes we pack snacks and easy lunches but more often I’m too stressed getting everything else ready, that food is the brick to break me. But if I can at least throw some snacks in and a case of water bottles, we can bring our eating out down to just 2 meals a day. A brunch or early lunch, and only snacking until dinner. And we do cheap one meal and maybe something a little more expensive for the other – because, face it, sometimes we need a little more time and space than Taco Bell has to offer.

Don’t be afraid of screen time in the car. You can put all the phones, iPads and Kindles away when you arrive at your destination. When your kiddos are relegated to the confines of the car for hours and hours, do them {and yourself} a favor and let them watch movies, listen to music and play their games. It’s not the time to get all 18th century on them. Seriously.

Take a deep breath and RELAX. So often family vacation is anything but a vacation for mama (and maybe dad too). Rebel against that. Yes, there’s organization that’s required but let go of anal schedules and expectations. Don’t freak out when things don’t go as planned. Snap a few pics of the ugly so, in 20 years at family Christmas, you’ll have something to remind you of the crazy road tripping adventures you had!

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