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I LOVE this time of year! Granted, whoever coined the phrase “the slow pace of summer”, was wrong! Summer is anything but slow for us! We go harder. We travel more, we work more, we go road tripping with kids, we are crazy busy…and we love it! It always fuels me for my next adventure.
The kids are out of school, and I love that we can travel so much more with them. I already took Grayson to Nashville Shores a couple of weeks ago. I am taking both the girls to the lake next week. And we have a beach trip to 30a in Florida planned for next month and then the lake again the next month. They are having a blast!
With road trips and fun can come some stress too…and lots of planning and lots of long packing lists. But there are some things you can do up front to make your road trips a little smoother. Trust me, every little bit helps! I am sharing my 10 best tips below on road tripping with kids. We have been traveling with all the kids since day 1, and they are now 7, 4, and 1. So…I’ve learned a thing (or 10) about how to make it as stressful and easy as you can.
Best Tips for Road Tripping with Kids
1.) Set expectations (to your spouse and your kids up front!) Let them know how long of a drive it is, how often you plan to stop and when your next bathroom or food break is, and what you will do when you arrive to your destination. It can’t change the outcome of the trip, but it can change their outlook on how they approach a long drive. = )
2.) Pack fun (but easy and not messy) snacks they don’t get often. Think exciting! Nothing is better than a fun, exciting snack on a road trip that is a treat to them!
3.) Pack fun and engaging toys that are new to them (pack enough for all the kids so they don’t fight over them!) Let the kids have a say in what toys you pack too!
4.) Pack pillows and blankets (for napping or chilly car rides.) This will help during nap time in the car too! They may not get in all their nap (or one at all), but it certainly does help! You can even get the little window shades to help some with a sunny car ride.
5.) Map out your route and proposed bathroom and food breaks in advance. And make sure you fill in everyone on your plan. Also, know that your plan may not go as planned. = )
6.) Make a playlist in advance with kids’ songs and kid-friendly adult songs, that way you all have something you love and it alternates. For the older kids, headphones with their own music is a great way for them to get their music while you can get your own or a podcast. It’s better than 7 hours of Cocomelon. = )
7.) Pack wipes, ziplock bags, and trash bags on hand. These are things we don’t always think of keeping in our vehicle, but they always come in handy on road trips, especially with kids. And if you’re going to a place that has a kitchen where you can cook, we always love having ziplock bags for leftovers.
8.) Keep these important items in a bag close by. Lip balm, Kleenex, snacks, hand sanitizer. Keep them by you or behind the console so you can reach them quickly and easily. Cleanups will be needed usually!
9.) Keep a cooler with plenty of drinks on hand. No one wants to get dehydrated and get a headache on a car ride. Pack plenty of drinks (I prefer ones that won’t stain if spilled, and spill-proof cups. Also, pack a travel potty for the vehicle too just in case! It can be a lifesaver if stuck in traffic.
10.) Keep an emergency kit with items like band-aids, Neosporin, and Motrin in it. You never know when accidents will happen. Also, you should always have a great emergency car kit in case you have car trouble too!
Where is your next road trip? What are your best practices for road tripping with kids?