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Everything you need to know about road tripping with kids

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Everything you need to know about road tripping with kids

I've mentioned this before, we are road trip people. We are not opposed to loading everyone and everything in the car and heading out for a long drive. So far this year we've already done two 11 hour (each way!) road trips...and it's only March. Because I'm a researcher, I scoured the internet for tips on this topic and I'd love to share a few resources that I found especially helpful. And of course because we like road trips and because we've done quite a few I also have some tips of my own at the bottom!

How to prepare/What to pack:
Road Tripping with Baby: Tips for an Enjoyable Ride (I agree with the tip on here about fostering familiarity)
How to Survive Road Trips with Babies and Toddlers (Plan a shoe spot in the car)
Road Trippin' It With a Baby: Tips and Tricks (Think about switching spots with your spouse if you need too)
Weekend Road Trip Essentials (Bag of bags, great idea!)
6 Tips for Road-Tripping It With a Baby (To save space, call ahead to see if there is already a pack'n'play at your destination)
Essentials to Survive Your Next Long Road Trip with Baby (could almost use as a packing list)
Lastly, not specifically for road trips but I love this idea with zippered bags

Road trip entertainment:
25 Drivetastic Busy Bag Ideas for Road Trips (I had never really heard of a busy bag, but I like them!)
10 Tried & True Ways to Entertain a Toddler in the Car (These are AMAZING entertainment ideas especially the wallet one!)
40+ Tips for Road Trips with Toddlers & Preschoolers (Love all of these tips but especially the road trip art projects)
11 Great Games to Play on a Road Trip (Great resource, some of these sound really fun!)

Road trip snacks and food:
44 healthy road trip snack ideas (separated into fruits and veggies, protein, sweet treats, and drinks)
Vacation food prep (LOVE these, I get SO tired of fast food)
Tackle box snacks #9 (not for toddlers, BIG MESS, but for older kids and I would even love this)

How to survive the ride:
How to Survive a Road Trip with Toddlers (I agree with this smart woman! Bring on all the electronics!)
3 Tips for Organized Travel (Sticky Note time tabs, genius idea for the "Are we there yet?" kids)
20 best ideas, activities, and resources for road trips with kids (#11 Great idea for avoiding messes)
Not necessarily for kids but some fun road trip hacks

Everything you need to know about road tripping with kids Everything you need to know about road tripping with kids Everything you need to know about road tripping with kids

My tips for road tripping with kids:
1. Within an hour of bedtime we try to stop and put jammies on the girls. We also try to mimic our bedtime routine the best we can. Sleeping children makes the car ride MUCH more pleasant (obviously!).

2. Skip the drive-thru. Stop for at least 1 meal (either pack a lunch/dinner or stop at a fast casual place) and let the kids get out for 15-20 minutes. Change their diapers and let them stretch their legs. You can wiggle around in your chair and get comfy but they really can't.

3. If you're reading this, you probably already have kids and know that everything in life with children takes longer than usual. It is obviously the same with a road trip. It's almost like you can add 5 minutes (maybe 5 minutes per kid) per hour of your trip.

4. I like to pack separate bags for each girl. (These are my favorite bags. I bought them at IKEA but I'm not sure if they're still available there). This helps us find what we need when we need it. If Naomi has a blow out, I can quickly grab her a new outfit. When it's time for jammies, we can quickly grab them without any digging or frustration.

5. If you're tight on space this tip isn't for you. We usually have lots of extra room though so I like to leave a spot empty in the back for changing diapers (in the third row in our van we can lay down just one single seat, while leaving up the other two. It creates the perfect little changing table). The bathrooms aren't usually very clean at those rest stop/gas stations so I don't even like to think about how nasty those changing tables probably are. I usually try to change them in the car when we stop for gas, or we can stop in the middle of nowhere and change them without any problems.

6. This one goes with the last tip. In the back of our van there's a little pocket (see picture above) that I always keep extra diapers and wipes in. They're very accessible and convenient. I also make sure to have some of these bags in there, just in case there isn't a trash can available.

7. And while we're on the topic of diapers, it's worth noting that there are good road trip diapers and there are bad road trip diapers. Some diapers just aren't very absorbent. We always trust Huggies Snug & Dry and know that they will get the job done on those long car rides. Huggies Snug & Dry diapers offer up to 12 hours of protection and dryness.

8. Some people don't like to do it this way, but we like to bring a whole sleeve of diapers for each girl on our trips. It's usually a bit more than we need but I don't want worry about buying new diapers while I'm on my vacation. I like to make sure I'm getting a good deal on diapers and if I buy them at Sam's Club I know I am. I am a huge Sam's Club shopper and diapers are one of the things I love to buy there. Members save over $10 on Huggies Snug & Dry diapers! (P.S. There's a $7 Ibotta coupon for Snug & Dry diapers right now).

Everything you need to know about road tripping with kids

9. There are a few other tips that are worth noting very quickly (I'm sure you've seen these on other blogs or thought of them your self!):
-time your drive so the kids can sleep
-bring extras of everything
-bring a few new toys or movies that will be exciting
-make sure you have snacks and wipes

10. And lastly, lots of these airplane tips are applicable for car trips too. Personally, I think road trips are much less stressful than plane rides with kids because if you forget something while traveling you can most likely stop and buy it (unlike flying) and there are way less strangers all around who are grumpy about the noise your children are making. So even though drives are usually longer than flights, sometimes it's better to not be stressed.

Are you guys road trippers too? What are your best tips? Are there any that I have missed? I'd love to hear them!


  1. This is perfect timing because I've been "craving" a road trip west to Portland or Seattle recently, thank you! Great tips!

    1. You're welcome! Those sound like great road trip destinations!

  2. What great trips from a seasoned traveler! I will definitely be passing these along to my family with little kids! #client

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