Traveling is easy… until you have kids!
Whether you’re taking your kids out for a picnic, a city tour, or a weekend visit to their grandpa/ma, the entire journey can either be a bad decision or a fun-filled adventure.
For sure, you want the latter.
So we asked family travelers within the FlyingKids Instagram and Facebook community about their best tips and advice on how we -- parents -- can stay sane while our children stay happy and content during road trips.
And we’ve got some really interesting responses!
If you want a successful road trip with your little ones, keep scrolling. :)
Keeping your little ones entertained
Are your kids always complaining about how bored they are the entire trip?
Boredom is a real issue, especially for very young kids. Even a two-hour drive can cause them to whine. Keeping your children busy and entertained throughout the trip should be one of your top priorities. And if you’re running out of ideas on how to keep them entertained, check out these tips:
- “Well definitely an iPad and lots of games, but we are lucky our daughter is an easy traveler!” -- @ourtravelsoup
“We don’t do many road trips since I get car sick, so we stick to places that can be done in 2-hour segments if possible. Everyone gets a break after 2 hours for food, fresh air, walking around, and potty break!” -- globetrotting.family
- “I research rest stops that have playgrounds OR find a nice playground on a route that has bathrooms/picnic tables/etc. It gives the kids a chance to burn off some energy. For example, the Southern Tier Welcome Center in New York of I-81 has a great playground!” -- wildkidswander
- “I like to pack a picnic blanket and lunch for rest stops and just let the kids run around and play for a break! You have to watch the weather for this though, sometimes it just doesn't work out!”
When you get to the hotel, let the kiddos go swimming for a while so they can burn off energy stored up from sitting in the car all day!
Pack a separate (small) bag for those quick overnight hotel stays with the essentials and pjs/outfits. Make it easily accessible so you don't have to unload the entire car.
Our favorite car ride game is the alphabet game! Everyone is on a race to find words outside the car (billboards, other cars, restaurants) that start with each letter of the alphabet. First one to complete a z word wins!” -- theflyinghens
- “Aside from a tablet with movies, we often times make up silly games. Cars, colors, license plates could all be subjects. We have also played I Spy a lot. We talk about the local surroundings and differences from home if there are any.
- one of the funnier ones in the car is describing an object and making her guess. Like describing a plane by using wings, tail, nose, etc. at times the answers can get entertaining. Oh, knock knock jokes are also funny in the car because she so literal she’s horrible at them. Not sure if it’s bad parenting or free entertainment for us.” -- travelwiththebutlers
- “Non messy snacks, iPad with learning apps, games like “I spy” and time to hit the road around nap time!” -- familybeachtravel
- Eye spy, spot the coloured cars, search And fund books (similar to Where's Wally( and Disney songs sing-a-longs!” -- eatprayloveplay
- “Use the Groupon app with location settings on and search "kids activities" to find cool places to stop along the way. We found this awesome safari park in the middle of Oregon on our drive from Seattle to Disneyland. We also found a few awesome children's museums that we never would have known about!” -- wander7wonders
Ensuring their wellness and safety
On top of everything, you want your kids to feel comfortable, safe, and well the entire trip. From planning some pit stops to arranging nap time, here are some really helpful tips for parents, especially those traveling with their kids for the first time.
- “Ginger gummies and a sick bag if you have kids that get motion sickness. Lots of snacks, music they like, and we find if we leave early they usually take a nap about an hour or two in.” -- Christingc
- “Plan the trip much ahead. We usually make sure we don’t drive longer than 2H in one go and plan appropriate for some cool stop or attraction. Snacks, games, books packed. iPad recharged. We have a CD with some children songs too just in case they get bored with everything else. If the drive is longer than 3h we make sure to drive in the evening ❤️ so they can sleep” -- herewegoagain.blog
- “I did a whole blog post of tips ... but my number 1 tip is to pack a small bag just for everyone’s chargers & cables all on one multiple extension lead so when you stop you can all charge everything ready for the next day.” -- momoftwolittlegirls
- “We try to drive in the evening or early, early mornings...if it’s a long trip we like to find something really fun to break at the end or to break the journey, like a hotel with pool and slides, etc. (it becomes a reward they can look forward too - if they are really, really good - yea, bribery works!) We also recommend having lap pads/desks that they can use for coloring books, playing with legos or play doh, etc” -- shazfamilytravels
- “Try to start the trip around the kids nap/bed time and plan accordingly on how long they can sit. Arya starts to cry and wants to get out every 1.45-2 hours so we have to find a great place to stretch, eat (vegetarian), play (play place or park) etc. No matter how small the stop even a bathroom break usually ends up at least an hour with two small kids under 5. We bring lots of coloring and drawing things, playdough etc, to avoid cell phone use as much as possible.” -- sharma_adventures
More, more tips!
The thought of being stuck in the car with kids can cause you a little anxiety. Well, not unless you are prepared. Here are more tips that will definitely make the experience more enjoyable than stressful.
- “We LOVE listening to podcasts for kids! My kids are absolutely enthralled and silent. Our favorites are Smash Boom Best, Brains On, and Forever Ago.” -- oursaltytribes
- “We also like to stock up on little toys and activities from the dollar store before we go. Sometimes we wrap them up and give them to the kids periodically through the drive. It keeps them busy and they think it’s like Christmas!” -- oursaltytribes
- “Our little one has a kindle with episodes of Paw Patrol and Peppa Pig on it” -- luka_adventurer
- “Have lots of snacks easy at hand!!!!” -- kidsgoplaces
- “Love these tips! Sometimes I pack up and hide small toys a few weeks before the trip - then give them out as we go! Also, books on tape, rolls of masking tape, and small sewing crafts are big hits with our crew!” -- rossesontheroad
- “Games... Word building, Atlas, Story building.. even throw in some sums in the middle.. Lewis them thinking.. and basically no time for being bored.. and music” -- skyelover
- “We love traveling, abroad and locally. Road trips are so much fun and I always make sure our trips have a few fun stops lined up. We’ve done this since the kids were very small so they love it too. We sing, have stretches of silence and moments where we fight but it’s always good.” -- momjustsaying
- “For our eldest daughter, we like to get some fun information about the place/country we are visiting. If there's a language to learn, it could include a small phrase book” - bigdreams.littleus
- “We try to stop as little as possible!! So much harder to get them all back in once they’ve gotten out.” -- oursquadabroad
- “We play car cricket with the kids. They're still a bit young to add up the numbers but they love it” -- graceinthemundane
To you dear parent who’s reading this, we want you to know that you got this! Traveling with kids can really be stressful sometimes. But being able to create memories with your little ones -- inside and outside your car -- is definitely one of the best things in the world! Hope these tips from experienced family travelers can help make your next road trip an unforgettable one.
We’ve recently launched an awesome family travel community called the FlyingKids Tribe. This means that anyone can submit blogs, videos or photos to us regarding family travel. If you want to join, just click the link below.