We love going on drives. Traveling with kids is a lot of fun, and it’s something the whole family enjoys. Over the years we’ve picked up several tips for ensuring the trips go smoothly.
13 Tips for Traveling with Kids
1. Make Sure Everyone Has Space
Since upgrading to our family bus, trips are a lot more enjoyable for everyone. Before, we were packed into the Suburban. Everyone was a little squished.
On the bus, everyone has space. Even when they’re sharing a seat, there’s room to stretch and not feel like a sardine.
If your family is cramped in your current vehicle, consider renting a larger one for your trip. Space helps keep fighting down, and you won’t have to hear, “He’s in my space!” nearly as often.
2. Bring Snacks
There’s nothing like snacks to relieve the tension and keep the whining down. I love packing each kid their own snack bag. That way they can control when they eat.
I usually include several easy to eat options including:
A granola bar
A baggie of grapes
A couple of cookies
A juice box
A bottle of water
Of course if it’s a short trip, they don’t get all of that! But the food helps the miles pass.
3. Find a Park
We make it a point to let the kids run around every couple of hours. Otherwise all of that built up energy often leads to no good.
Most small towns have parks. We use Siri on our phones to lead the way. Yes, she’s gotten us lost a few times. But that’s part of the adventure.
We’ve seen beautiful parks and we all enjoy the fresh air. We don’t stay long, usually half-an-hour, but it refreshes everyone’s spirits and prepares us for the next leg of the journey.
4. Play Games
Games are one of our favorite parts of traveling together! I especially appreciate games that don’t require lots of stuff, because the bus gets messy enough all on its own.
Here’s a post with some of our favorite math based car games.
Here’s a post with some of our favorite word/language based car games.
5. Sing Songs
Since the radio on the bus doesn’t work, we make our own music. We take turns picking a favorite song, and then we all sing together.
We’ve sung hymns we’ve memorized, theme songs from our favorite shows, and a ton of other songs. Sometimes I sit by Jayme and we look up lyrics to Disney songs. Then we’re good for a long time!
6. Do an Activity
On our way to the coast a couple years ago, we brought baggies of Fruit Loops and string for each of the kids. They had a great time making their own necklaces. After they were done, we tied them up and they slowly ate them.
We’ve also brought coloring pages and pencil boxes with colored pencils (because those don’t melt like crayons do!). Having something to work on is always a good way to pass the time.
7. Talk Through Your Trip
Our kids always appreciate being kept in the loop. We have them help watch for the appropriate signs, check out the map, and look for places they’d like to stop.
We also tell them a bit about what they can expect–we’re going into two states, and it’ll take several hours. This helps them prepare mentally for the trip. I don’t like the unknown, and many of them take after me in that area!
8. Bring a Change of Clothes
Even if you aren’t planning an overnight adventure, bring a spare set of clothes for everyone. We’ve dealt with puke, spilled drinks, and accidents when the park’s bathroom was closed. You never know who will need fresh clothes, so just stick them in a bag and be prepared!
9. Use Glow Sticks
Will you be traveling after dark? Bring along a pack of glow sticks or glow bracelets. I picked up a container of 65 glow bracelets at Wal-Mart for $5 before our last trip. It made the return trip much more enjoyable. With that many bracelets, everyone could have several. It was fun!
10. Change Seats
We try to change seats almost every stop. We have the room to do it, and it makes the kids rotate who they sit by. It also ensures everyone gets a chance at the window seats for a better view, and a chance to sit with me.
11. Don’t Expect too Much Sitting
Kids can’t sit still for as long as you probably can. Don’t make them sit for hours without a break. Take potty stops. Stop and explore a new area.
We try to get out of the bus every couple of hours. It helps!
12. Take Pictures
Take pictures throughout the day, and at your stops. They’re a great way to document your memories! Also, let your kids take some pictures. I always love seeing the world through their eyes.
13. Stop at Historical Sites
We love stopping at historical sites as we travel. Keep your eyes peeled for those brown highway signs. Recently we explored a historic ranger station in Montana. Here’s a pic that Bryan captured of the kids and me there.
What Are Your Favorite Tips for Traveling with Kids?
I’d love for you to share them in the comments section below. Do you have any travel plans for this summer?