Let’s be real, I can’t promise you an actual STRESS FREE road trip with kids, but I can give you 5 tips to help make it less stressful! I drive A LOT, I am a stay at home mom, and I live in the woods of northern Minnesota. It takes me 30 minutes to get to the grocery store, so basically every time I leave home I am in for an hour long car ride with the kiddos. It’s safe to say I’ve picked up some techniques to make these trips better! I’ve also gone on a few big road trips with the kids, so I’ll be combining tips from Big road trips to everyday things I use to make travel a little less stressful!
- New Toys
This was a piece of advice my husband and I were given before we took a road trip with our 9 month old from Minnesota to Moab, Utah. It proved to be EXCELLENT advice. There is something about new toys that fascinates children. Depending on the distance I recommend a lot of toys! Ha-ha! But really, buy something that has a lot included. For our road trip we bought a basket of toy fruit. So, every time our daughter fussed we just handed her a new piece of fruit! This was great! It amused her for a long time! Another idea would be animal figures! Now that my daughter is a bit older (3) she loves making animals play with each other so they have provided hours and hours of amusement in my car!
Always be prepared with snacks. This is something I have kicked myself for many times. Nowadays I almost always have snacks in the car. While I typically try to feed my kids healthy snacks, sometimes it’s amazing how much quiet time a bag of Cheetos can get you!
- Music, Movie & Books
Variety is key! What works one day; won’t work the next. I find it best to have all types of options for entertainment. Kids are also very different from each other, what works for one won’t always work for the other. For instance, my daughter LOVES movies, my son could care less for an iPad or a movie. My son LOVES music. So needless to say, best to have a lot of options. For music I use the Disney station on Pandora, It’s fun! For movies/games we have an iPad. I also will occasionally download a new game before a longer trip. For books, I like to focus on nature and outdoors. I keep a few books in the car so they are always there as an option.
- Drive During Nap Time
My kids sleep well in the car. I realize this might not be the case for all kids, but it has been the case with both of my kids. I always plan my driving around nap time. On big road trips we have often left shortly before bedtime and driven through much of the night to get some peaceful hours of driving out of the way. It has always worked really well.
- Keep a Flexible Schedule
As much as possible keep your schedule flexible. This way if you want to call it a day earlier than planned you can, or if driving is going great and you want to get a few more hours out of the day, you can as well! Look for hotels with flexible cancelation policy’s, and have a tentative plan. I like to have a goal for each day, but also a “at least we make it here” and a “it would be awesome if we made it here” Ha! This way we have ideas of what is coming but if something comes up it is no big deal to change the plans.
I hope these 5 tips give you some new ideas on stress free road tripping with your kids. I’d love to hear your tips for me! My husband and I are taking our kids on a huge road trip this summer so I am open to all suggestions! Thank you in advance!
Much Love & Happy Travels,