As we’re about to head out on our first road trip of the summer, I feel fully prepared for a solo journey across the state. After breaking down once on the Turnpike, dealing with major potty issues, and coping with screaming babies for hours, we are finally ready to embark on yet another vacation. The minivan is packed, the DVD’s selections have been made, and the tablets charged. Now all we need is some good old fashioned family fun…minus Aunt Edna and the family truckster.
If you haven’t ventured out on road trips with kids yet, please let me impart just a tiny bit of wisdom. I’m more of a doer since having kids, and have made more than my fair share of mistakes in the car. So here is what not to do on a road trip with kids. Just my opinion of course…so glean what you can!
what not to do on a road trip with kids
- Don’t try to get up and leave early in the morning. We did that a couple times and thought the kids would sleep. Nope. And both girls were cranky as hell! I say get a good breakfast in them, let them run around a bit, and then head out. At least for the smaller kids! Older kids are known to pass out in the car for hours. Lucky them.
- Try to limit liquids prior to your trip. Ours seem to have to potty every 30 minutes on trips, so do your best to keep this to a minimum…if you can.
- Don’t forget to charge all tablets, ipads, etc. Can you imagine having an all day drive with no tablets? How did we survive when we were kids? And if you do forget, bring a back up charger or car charger.
- Don’t leave at nap time expecting babies and toddlers to nap. I always do this and then fret when they don’t fall asleep. Leave at least an hour prior to nap time to give the kids time for the excitement to wear down and get ready to sleep. And if they don’t nap don’t sweat it, they’ll crash at bedtime!
what to do on a road trip with kids
- Make sure your car is OK. Since ours overheated halfway to Disney World, I’m vigilant about running to Jiffy Lube the day before the trip. Tires, fluids, oil change…you can never be too careful in the high summer heat!
- Bring lots of snacks. Seriously think about what you need then double it. Also, lollipops are great for the last 30-45 minutes of hell, as are little treats they typically aren’t allowed to have, like Tic-Tacs.
- Introduce new things. We usually pick up a new DVD, coloring books or water wows, download a new app and new book, and pick up some things from the Dollar Tree for trips. Little things can go a long way in the form of entertainment. Just ditch the silly putty…it will never leave your car.
- Bring a change of clothes. Spills are inevitable, enough said.
- A toddler potty is key for emergencies. Always have one just in case. Even our older daughter sometimes has had to use it. You never know with kids, and you don’t want to be 50 miles to the next exit with a screaming child!
Good luck parents, hope you survive…I mean have an awesome vacation. And remember,
Did you like this post but you’re about to catch a flight? Then check out What NOT to Do On an Airplane with Kids! And you can follow mommy in SPORTS on Facebook for more great tips and parenting stories!
Aubrey @ 53weeks says
GREAT tips! I have yet to venture on a road trip..and I honestly don’t want to…BUT your advice about nap times is SO TRUE! When it comes to potty..I guess that is a good thing mine aren’t 100% yet so we still have the fall back diaper!?!? LOL!! Happy travels.
On our last road trip Annelise had to pee about 8 MILLION times. She’s usually good about knowing when she needs to go, but I think the seat belt makes her think she needs to even if she doesn’t. I finally stuck a diaper on her (she still wears them at night so I wasn’t concerned about regression) and it saved us a lot of headaches!
Janine Huldie says
What great tips and seriously learned my lesson about waking my kids up early, too though!!
All great advice! We’ve never gone the toddler route, but I have had to improvise with a water bottle – but I have three boys. Have fun! Where are you headed? We’re in Yellowstone right now – day 22 of the road trip. Momma’s tired!
Your #1 is so true! Early morning wake-ups do not work for little people! My olders will sleep, but the littles just maintain their grumps the whole trip! We are leaving on a several state visiting/driving family trip next week, wish us luck! The toddler just loves her carseat 🙂
great tips here!! We leave early.. but only because my kids wake up SOOO early anyway haha
Herchel Scruggs says
Great advice! I always make sure to have wipes on hand too. We play a lot of games in the car and you can never go wrong with a “new” snack.
Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom says
These are fabulous tips Kristen!
I always try to head out early but you’re right, crabby kids just aren’t worth it! Plus charging the electronics – yes!
Definitely pinning this one. Thanks for sharing.
I so agree with the first tip. I generally feed them a good breakfast and tire Des out so he’ll nap when we drive. Bonus if Scarlet naps too.
Same with #4, of course!
I am the evil dad who made the kids give me their phones and tablets so that they would have to look out the window and see what was going on in the world around them.
Or as one kid said, “dad is forcing us to live like the caveman he was.”
All so true! I can’t imagine getting my kids up super early to leave for a road trip. It would be miserable for everyone! (And you’re right, there would be no sleeping, just whining for more breakfast) Though I must confess that I don’t deal with travel potties. Though my oldest is old enough to hold it for a bit and my youngest seems to be a bit of a dromedary – she can wait for hours between breaks!