Ahh, family road trips. I’ve always envisioned family road trips as being these amazingly fun journeys filled with games and music and lots of laughter. You know, those road trips you see on tv where the kids are all happily singing along to their favorite songs while mom and dad happily y’all as one of them is driving. They all just look so relaxed and carefree.
The reality of the situation is that we can end up looking more like we are traveling with the Griswolds real fast.
We’ve got 3 kids fighting, 2 crying, dads stressed out, a dead grandma in the back seat, and a dog tied to the top of the car. Okay, it may not be that bad… but traveling with a bunch of kids can be pretty hard.
Luckily, over the past couple of years, we’ve learned a few tricks to cut down on the chaos and make our family road trips a little less like the Griswolds and a little more pleasant.
If your kids are anything like mine, they turn into moody little demons when they get hungry making traveling really difficult. So feed them before you get in the car and make sure to have plenty of snacks and easy to eat foods readily available. We like to keep a bag filled with crackers, uncrustables, waters, and bananas in the middle of the car that we can easily distribute as we are driving. This cuts down on some of the low blood sugar fighting and requests for Mcdonalds. Although, if we are traveling for long distances, we will sometimes stop for dinner at places like chili’s or Steak and Shake.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make, is thinking you can just drive through without stops. Sometimes in even short 2 to 3 hour trips sitting for that long can just be too much for little ones to handle. I recommend mapping out stops at places like grocery stores and gas stations where you can get out of the car for a minute, walk around and stretch your legs, go to the bathroom, and restock on drinks and snacks as needed. It’s amazing how much better you and the kids feel just by getting out of the car to go to the bathroom and walk around a gas station store for 5 to 10 minutes. Plus, that can prevent issues like swelling in the legs, back and leg pain, and even blood clots that can be caused by sitting for long periods of time.
I know we’ve all played punch buggy and I spy in the car at some point in our lives. Those games are fun but they can get kind of old… fast. So, I recommend letting the kids bring some kind of game or coloring books to keep them entertained in the car. It’s also fun to make a trip to the Library before a big trip and fill up a basket with books the kids can pick from to look at when they need something to do.
Music and Audiobooks
Another great option to pass the time is to have lots of music and audiobooks ready to go. We love having Spotify on our phones so that we can build a playlist of all of the kids favorite songs and books and let that play while we are driving. It’s also a great way to do some homeschooling while you are on the road as well.
Don’t fear devices
I know a lot of parents don’t like letting their kids use devices like smart phones and tablets but these can be great tools to distract a fussy kid or to just give mom and dad some quiet time while you are in the car. Download books, movies, games, and puzzles to the devices and let your little ones have some alone time while you talk. We like to charge up the Nintendo Switch and our tablets to pass out for a little peace and quiet.
Hopefully these tips will make your next road trip with the littles a little more enjoyable for everyone. For more travel and large family tips, make sure to hit that subscribe button.