3 tips for a nice road trip with kids

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A nice road trip with kids?  Is it possible?  Today we have 3 road trip tips for a nice (no really, NICE) road trips with kids from editor Lyndsey Payzant Wells, a brave traveler with toddler in tow.

road trip with kids

(the tulip festival in northern Washington)

Road tripping is one of the great American pastimes. Load up your car, gather the family and you’re on your way. But when you’ve got kids in tow, there are a few extra road trip tips you need to take to be prepared — whether you’re driving to the next city or all the way across the country. To save your sanity, I’ve put together my 3 best tips for a family road trip…along with a few photos of fun places we’ve successfully “tripped” to over the years. 

3 tips for a nice road trip with kids:

  • 1. Pack accordingly. I’m always tempted to over-pack for road trips, since it’s not like I have to get all my stuff to fit in one carry-on or something like I would if traveling by plane. This gives you a little extra leeway to be super prepared. In addition to your regular daily sets of clothing, toiletries, etc. make sure you pack clothes for inclement weather (if it’s winter) or outdoor fun (in the spring and summer). My family and I drove from our home in Seattle up to Vancouver, Canada last year — it was warm and nice and sunny when we left, but Vancouver was rainy & windy most of the time we were there. I was so glad I packed an extra jacket & hats for all of us!

travel(beautiful Vancouver, Canada)

  • 2. Car entertainment. I’m not a huge advocate of sticking a screen in front of your kid’s face during a road trip, but an iPad or DVD player can be a good last resort. Or, bring clipboards or travel desks with lots of paper and markers so your kids can draw along the way. Little toys and travel games are fun too, as is a good old-fashioned game of I Spy if your kids are old enough to play. It wasn’t that long ago that none of us dreamed of having a movie or computer in the car with us, and we all survived — we even liked it. Give your kids the chance to experience the same thing. 

travel with kids(Coal Harbour in British Columbia)

  • 3. Stop along the way. No matter how old your kids are, plan to make frequent stops along the way. This one drives me crazy because I LOVE to get to my destination as quickly as possible, but when traveling with children you definitely have to reset your expectations. Find nice rest stops or do a little sight-seeing during the trip. Let the kids (and the adults!) stretch their legs, see new stuff and get the wiggles out. After all, isn’t a road trip just as much about the journey as it is the destination?

// I have all sorts of tips for good family road trips with kids, but I can’t top Lindsey’s tips for a nice road trip with kids! -Allison //

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Allison

Well, hello there! I'm Allison Czarnecki, founder + editor of Petit Elefant, a blog all about style on a budget for every part of your life: style / home / travel / family. We do a lot of how-to beauty + style tutorials, travel posts, easy recipes, crazy home remodel projects, and cool (yes, cool) DIY crafts you'll totally want to try. I'm super happily married (to a hot Polish immigrant) and am the mother of two kids, a daughter and son, all of whom are featured here on the regular. We live in the country but we're a little bit rock + roll. Welcome!

2 Comments

  1. Sheila@Chinaberry :

    Great ideas for road trips! Even though my boys are in their teens I still try to play games and make stops so that they want to go on another road trip.

  2. carol :

    I drove from Chicago to Steamboat Springs Colorado in August for maybe 15 years. We always used books on tape. The advantage over dvds is the kids still look out the windows at the beautiful country. Often the kids would argue against gas stops because I would turn off the book. The best? Paul Newman reading Tom Sawyer!