I used to love to travel and get out and go places. However, after having kids this changed.
When the kids were younger it was easier to just stay at home than deal with the headache of getting everyone ready and then dealing with meltdowns in another location.
Now that the boys are getting older, we do try to do a few family road trips per year. However, depending on how long the ride is they can start to get a little antsy and pester each other.
Thankfully, over the years, I’ve learned some hacks to make having stress-free family road trips possible and I’m sharing my best ones with you today.
Everyone needs to wear comfortable clothes
If you’re going on a long road trip, the most important piece of advice I can give you is to make sure that everyone is wearing comfortable clothes.
This will lengthen the amount of time before everyone starts getting irritable.
Typically, the kids wear basketball shorts and a tank top during the warmer months and sweat pants and a hoody during the colder months. For me, I’m definitely in leggings and a tank top.
Double-check that everyone’s devices are fully charged (AND don’t you dare forget the chargers)
The night, or early morning, before you plan to hit the road make sure that everyone’s devices are fully charged AND keep the kids off of them until on the road. Plus, before pulling out of the driveway double check that everyone has their charger (you need to visibly see it whether it’s in your backpack or the kids).
Trust me, the last thing you want is for someone’s device to die and the kids to be forced to have to share a device.
Lastly, if you really want to make sure the trip goes smoothly, have some fully charged portable chargers in your bag just in case you run into traffic or someone loses their device juice before you are nearing your destination.
Take at least one break per hour
Constant stopping will make the trip last longer, but it’ll save you your sanity.
The break allows the kids to go to the restroom, stretch their legs, and for the parents to take a moment to breathe as well.
This keeps everyone in a good mood and you can plan out your rest breaks before leaving the house so you may even be able to make some special memories on your breaks.
Travel when traffic isn’t so bad
Just like traffic stresses out some drivers, it does the same for kids. Therefore, it’s always best to leave when there’s the least amount of traffic.
This can be super early in the morning or very late at night, which also has the added benefit of allowing the kids to sleep for some, if not all, of the commute.
Communicate the rules before arriving at your destination
If your road trip will result in going somewhere such as an aquarium or theme park, it’s important to make sure that your kids are aware of the rules before arriving at your destination. Ideally, these rules will be discussed throughout the week leading up to the trip and they will get additional reminders as you near your destination.
I typically, like to remind the boys of the rules the night before the road trip, once we’re halfway to our destination, and one final reminder before we get out of the car at the destination.
Pack nonmessy snacks
One of the biggest disasters you can encounter is a spilled snack. Sticky seats and juice spills are one way to put a damper on the trip.
When we go on road trips I usually bring items such as:
- Fruit snacks
- Bottled water
- Sunflower Kernels
- Granola bars
This makes it so there are no messes that can be made.
For the adults, I’ll usually bring a few bottled water and a tincture for anxiety. However, due to my anxiety, I try to limit eating and drinking while traveling as I hate using public restrooms and my anxiety tends to trigger me constantly feeling like I need to pee.
Have an emergency kit
Anything can happen on the road.
Even though I can’t recall a road trip where an emergency kit has come in handy it’s always better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.
I recommend having the following items in your emergency kit:
- First aid kit
- Extra set of comfortable clothes for everyone
- Fully charged battery phone case or power bank
You can have a stress free family road trip
Family road trips aren’t easy – especially when you have multiple kids or young kids. However, by following these tips you can keep your kids patient and happy for the majority of the road trip so you can have a good time once you arrive at your destination.
Just don’t forget the device chargers, make regular stops, and make sure that the kids are aware of any rules that need to be followed once you’re at your destination and you’ll be fine.