Road Trip Tips for Families
As a Midwesterner with three Disney-obsessed kids, we have made the vast trek to Florida on multiple occasions. We have learned road trip tips for families through trial and error. I’ve created a list of the best tips I have learned to improve long car rides with kids.
Prepare for the Chance of a Lifetime
Safety First– First of all, pack water, durable snacks, a first aid kit, a travel charger for your cell phone, blankets, a flashlight with spare battery, and jumper cables.
Are your children in car seats? Especially relevant to road trip tips for families is to make sure that you comply with all car seat laws. Ensure that all car seats are properly installed by visiting a Child Passenger Safety Technician (CPST)
Beauty Sleep– Sleep deprivation can cause a number of issues. All drivers should be well-rested before embarking on this drive.
Shop for that “New”: Do your children have toys that are hiding under their dusty bed or slid to the floor of their closet? Peruse your children’s closets for those goodies that haven’t been seen in ages.
Are you a super organized mama who donates or sells every item as it loses usefulness? Hit a dollar store to find toys, books, and coloring equipment to bring out every couple of hours on the road trip. New toys will entertain the kids and you can reward them for good behavior. It’s a win-win for parents!
While all recommendations are truly my own, this post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission if you make a purchase using this link.
To infinity, and Beyond
Embrace electronics: Limiting screen time is an important buzzword in our tech savvy world. Seems like a long road trip is not the time. Therefore, iPads and car TVs will limit boredom but “mommy guilt” always makes me try to avoid turning our children into little techno-boppers. I find that some decent math, science, spelling, reading, and writing apps assuaged my tremendous mom guilt!
Map out your stops: Plan a picnic at a wooded rest stop, or find a Chipotle near a playground, or find a Panera next to a local park. Is your trip in the middle of winter? Let them loose in a mall indoor playground or a McDonald’s play place (just make sure you have lots of hand sanitizer). Encourage your kids to use the restroom, run themselves silly, eating, and have another adult fetch gas and trip necessities. This minimizes stop time and maximizes energy expenditure!
Snack Attack: Pack spill proof snack canisters for your little ones. Consequently, I prefer spill-resistant cups to juice boxes to reduce sticky messes. As a result, we bring apples, water bottles, and assorted nuts. I order nut and fruit packed Lara Bars, organic Turkey Pepperoni sticks, prepackaged olives, Veggie Straws, and the fluffy cheddar deliciousness known as Pirate’s Booty.
Ziploc bags: Ziploc bags are magical. They can allow you to divvy up that highly coveted snack, hide the most disgusting of diaper, or even double as a puke bucket.
Breastfeeding mom? Another thing to consider pumping in the car to allow another parent to feed baby at rest stops if you have other things to do at the rest stops. Also, if I am pumping en route, I always wear a strapless pumping bra and use a nursing cover for my personal comfort and ease of pumping.
Furthermore, enjoy your snuggling and breastfeeding time during rest stops. Try to stick to your usual nursing routine as closely as possible. Make sure that you’re drinking lots of fluid. Finally, ensure that you are stretching your legs to keep your circulation moving on your frequent breaks.
Be patient with yourself and your children
– In conclusion, flexibility matters! You may have a plan, but try not to become too rigidly attached to it. Potty training children, juice spills, and emergency stops may extend the length of an already long journey. Finally, remember that you’re on vacation. Try to have a good time and relax!
What are your favorite cross country road trip tips for families? Share your comments below!