I have always loved a good road trip! I used to do them with family growing up, as I got older I took them with friends, my husband and I also loved to road trip together. THEN, we had kids. We still frequently road tripped, and honestly the military lifestyle left a lot of road trips being the kids and me. It definitely changed the dynamics of road trips. I still look forward to spontaneous stops, but they aren’t as quick as they once were. After traveling all over the world with them, I thought I should share a few tips and tricks, while on the road with my 4 kids. And don’t worry I will be sharing about tips on planes too. So be on the lookout.
Tip 1: Redbox is your best friend if you are traveling within the states. We have built in screens in our car, but before that we had the attachable ones on our headrests. You can rent and return Redbox DVD’s in different states. So, we would plan stops where there were Redbox machines. The kids loved being able to choose a new movie that they probably didn’t have. It was also a great incentive for good behavior in the car. They wanted to be the one who got to choose the next movie.
Tip 2: Clothes line clips. Let your kids decorate them and put their names on them. You can give them 1-3 each. Put them on your car visor and let the kids know that if their clip is still on the visor then they can have a treat at the next stop. If bickering occurs, you can just remove the clip and they know that they should not be doing that. It also gives the opportunity to show grace and have a fresh start after a stop. You truly can mold this in a way to work for you and your family.
Tip 3: Binders. I create binders for each child at their level. I print out free coloring pages, word puzzles, math problems, Bingo games, I-spy ideas, and more. There are great Road Trip Bingo printables. Check out these Printables From That's what Che said.
Tip 4: Purchase or bring items they don’t normally have or get to play with. I tend to go to Target’s $5 and under bins or the Dollar Store. I purchase different items and whip those out when they are getting restless or as a reward when they have been great in the car. It buys you a bit of time to your destination.
Tip 5: Look up possible places to stop where a park is. It’s always a nice break when they get to stretch their legs and be loud outside. It also gives you a break. If there is no park, come up with fun dance stretches or races if they are older, to exert some energy and get them laughing. We have also stopped at local pools or water parks along the way. If we know we will be in the car for a couple days, we then plan out a longer stop to a water park.
Tip 6: When traveling with older kids or adults, bring a game that can be played in the car. My husband and I are currently playing the “Over Under game”. You can play “Name that Tune” or take guesses when you will arrive to the next rest stop or destination. Just yesterday, my husband and I took guesses at how many miles we were to the top of the mountain. With younger kids, you can play the license plate game or spelling games. My Dad would make a game out of how to spell funny or crazy sounding words. Sometimes he would have us spell the state name and cities in the state we were driving through.
Tip 7: Silly kid songs. My kids love “Silly Songs” by Veggie Tales. My husband and I totally enjoy singing these with the kids and blasting them. Find what they love. We have also done their name songs too. We have educational ones that they love as well. We do Spanish songs and sign language videos too (Signing Time). The Dollar Store is a great place to get random $1 kid movies and CD’s. One of my kids’ favorite moves is from the Dollar Store.
Tip 8: If you have space, pack a cooler. We pack drinks and snacks in ours. We have one seat down where the cooler sits and holds all the goodies. We will bring bread and sandwich stuff. We enjoy saving money, but also just having our kids eat things we know they’ll eat, is always nice.
BONUS: We look up places to eat off of Diners, Drive-ins and Dives or Man vs. Food or even Restaurant: Impossible. We love to try out new foods.
-As I remember more tips, I will add them. I would love to showcase your amazing tips and tricks, just comment below!