Tips for Surviving Road Trips with Kids

Moving across country is never easy – many of you know this.

We have done it 3 times now…you’d think I would be a pro by now – so I have a few good traveling tips…

Traveling anywhere with small children is not easy, especially when it’s in a car and you are driving from Florida to Michigan!

Here are a few time, money, and sanity-saving tips for your next trip.

1. Bring a portable DVD player or iPad.  Check that the power chargers work BEFORE you leave (yes, that’s one we forgot to do once!).  And bring a stack of DVD’s; the newer/less viewed, the better!  *If you bring a portable one try this tip: Plug in an iPod connector to your car so the sound goes through the speakers and everyone can hear the movie even if they cannot see it.  My husband and I enjoyed listening to the movies our kids were watching, and we had better control over how quiet/loud the movie was.*

2. Potty chair/seat covers.  We are not fans of public restrooms – especially with a potty-trainer!  By bringing your own potty (use plastic bags as liners for a quick clean-up) it’s more comfortable for your little potty-trainer and you cut out those germs they may be exposed to otherwise.

3. CD’s – for you and your kids.  Just because you have toddlers does not mean you have to listen to  Barney or Hannah Montana the whole drive.  The sooner you get them introduced to your music, the better your chances are they will like it too!  It helps pass the time, put them to sleep and keep you going down the road!

4. Snacks/meals – not too sugary!  The more sugar, food-coloring, and processed foods, the higher your chances are the kids will be hyperactive and grumpy.  All three are big contributors to moodiness.

5. Leave early in the morning (4 or 5 AM).  You’ll get sleep, they will stay sleeping (or like ours, wake up but go back to sleep), and that will give you a few hours of quiet to get some miles down the road without interruptions.

6. Plan your stops – or at least the big ones.  Book hotels before you leave.  This will save you money and give you a goal to reach/look forward to.  By breaking up your day into segments of drive time and breaks, it will make the day pass quickly and will ensure everyone gets the breaks they need.

7. Car games for kids.  Travel bingo is great!  Your whole family can play – even the little ones.  As soon as they can recognize pictures and talk, they can play this game.

8. Cloths and baby wipes for cleaning messes and spills/stains.

9. Sunglasses, window shades, hats – to block the sun.

10. Books/stories on CD to listen to.  We found that even though our boys were too little for the CD’s (we got Adventures in Odyssey), they still tried to follow the story and the talking seemed to soothe them – especially at night.

I hope these tips help!


Elisabeth is the mother of three boys, wife to author A.M. LaMouria, and is passionate about her faith and her family.  She loves to cook, create, and be adventurous.  Visit her blog at The Lean Green Mommy Machine.