We are a family that loves to travel. Whether it’s flying to far off adventures or planning a cross-country road trip to the World of Coke in Atlanta, we make travel a priority in our lives. Today I’ll share with you some helpful tips on how to survive a road trip. Updated for 2020.
It seems like many families are hitting the road right now. Day trips just for a change of scenery or road trips to neighboring states. Regardless of the hours spent in the car, there are always some tips and tricks that can make a road trip with your family fun.
How to Stay Comfortable on a Road Trip
My advice to get comfortable seems exceedingly obvious. If you’re going to be spending hours in the car, you want to be the most comfortable.
You want to definitely wear clothes that are relaxed and easy. If we’re headed somewhere warm, my first inclinations is to wear flip flops. But, if you are the driver, you’ll want to wear a shoe that is more likely to stay put.
To keep kids comfortable during any road trip, I recommend letting them each bring a pillow and their special lovey. Getting the kids cozy in the backseat makes road tripping with children easier.
But, don’t let them bring a millions things. My road trip hack for kids is to be prepared but don’t drown in stuff.
Best Snacks for a Road Trip
There’s no such thing as too many snacks.
While we’ve never had any major issues on a road trip, I’m always mildly afraid that we’ll end up stuck in the middle of nowhere for hours and therefore I’ll be so proud of my selection of snacks to keep us alive. In reality, packing your own snacks solves a variety of much smaller problems.
Small snacks throughout the trip keeps everyone happy and packing your own allows you to avoid spending a fortune on junk food at the gas station. Avoid most items that are sticky or melt easily but try to pack a few treats in addition to things like fruit and granola bars.
A few surprise lollipops have staved off stuck-in-traffic-meltdowns more than once and this is my one exception to the no-sticky-items rule.
My number one tip for road tripping with kids is adopt a schedule. On road trips, I don’t allow my kids to snack during screen time because snacks are an activity in and of themselves. Also, I pre-portion out snacks because my kids have no sense of self-control when presented with a full bag of…anything.
What Can Families Do on a Long Car Ride?
Let’s be honest, screens are your friend. Yes, our parents survived road trips in a world before devices, but now that we don’t have to, why would we? Load up your devices or tablet with apps, movies, audiobooks, podcasts and music.
Related: Reading for Free
Before you go, see if your library offers audiobook downloads. Also, several streaming services – like Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu – allow you to download television shows and movies to your device so you don’t need wifi when you’re on the road.
Games to Play on a Road Trip
Sure, I just sang the praises of devices, but I also like to bring plenty of activities that don’t need to be charged. The advantage is that these same activities also work during down time at our destination. So I’m always glad I have them on hand, even if my kids choose to spend their screen-free time doing nothing by counting down until the minute they can turn their screens back on.
My kids are finally at an age where they’re both old enough to play games together, so we’ll pack playing cards, small magnetic board games, coloring books and sticker books. I don’t pack anything with small pieces that can get lost.
How to Prepare for a Road Trip
Plan your route ahead of time. Try to figure our when you might want or need to stop for meals or bathroom breaks. A good rule of thumb is to take a break every two hours for about 15 minutes and never drive more than 8 hours per day.
Save addresses in your favorite travel app or your car’s navigation system so you’re not searching for them while you’re on the road.
Of course, you’ll also want to make sure you’ve made all of the necessary overnight arrangements ahead of time. Fortunately, hotel reservations can be made from your phone while en route, if necessary.
Family Road Trip Essentials
You’re going to want to have all of the fun stuff on hand, but don’t forget about all of the other little essentials you might need just in case. I highly recommend trash bags, hand sanitizer, hand wipes and a small first-aid kit for road tripping. Definitely bring plenty of clean face masks or disposable masks to help eliminate the spread of Covid-19.
We hope these road trip tips help get you on your way to making incredible family memories on your next road trip adventure!