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3 Tips for Easy Road Trips with Small Kids

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October 26, 2015 · 2.2k Views

(Kristin & Del are guest bloggers from Our Ordinary Life.)

We love to take family trips together for many reasons. From flying to somewhere or driving a distance, just getting out of the house or away for some days is relaxing and exhilarating in my view. As a family, traveling and getting away from the daily home life is a great way for us to bond and enjoy each other’s company without the distractions. With the holidays coming up visiting family is sometimes only possible with a road trip.

We just got back from a fun weekend getaway here in Southern California. Its was not too far, but far enough to remind us we are not near home. While it was a shorter road trip of 2 and a half hours, it is still a journey for a family with small kids. While we have taken many road trips, we have also taken trips that have been more than 1000 miles just one way. One may think “why don’t you fly?” To be honest I love the freedom of the open road. We can stop to see things that many people don’t even know exist.

With short trips that are only a couple of hours to ones that can equate to 20 hours of driving, its best to be prepared for anything and everything. Making sure your car is maintained is important. But next is making sure your kids will be sound and their boredom maintained.

We usually plan for extended road trips by keeping 3 ideas in mind: food, entertainment, and comfort.


  1. Food is super important to think about, unless you want to add onto your trip time. To simple stop and maybe get gas and a snack off a highway can add 15-40 minutes to travel time. While we try to keep eating and drinking (except water) in the car to minimum, sometimes having things for them to eat will save time and keep my kids from saying “I’m hungry.” One thing I know my kids have no problem doing is letting me know when they’re hungry. Water us best in my view, can’t make a mess and healthy for all the sitting in a car, water is easy on the digestive system. We make the stops for rest room breaks and major meals when necessary, but getting to our destination is the best part of all.
  2. Entertainment is up to each family. We keep some kind of drawing paper and crayons or pencils. Toys are okay, but when they drop them they can become a distraction, and they are not as fun in a car. Books are easy and talking about things is even better. With the kids all learning so many different things road trips have a lot to offer. Stop and visit learning areas, monuments, parks, etc. Great for the kids to learn and discover and for awesome pictures! We also have an in-car DVD player, but will try to get them to focus on other things and conversation. I think the one who has the biggest problem with watching movies is the smallest one, so some kind of device like a tablet or iPhone can come in very handy at times, 21st century parenting!
  3. Comfort is super important for the ever elusive nap time. Having a supply of blankets, pillows, and the kids in comfy clothes is great because they tend to find taking a nap something easy to do. For us it gives us a break to enjoy the drive and each other. Plus, you have some extra pillows and blankets for your stay


While it may seem simple to be prepared for a road trip, forgetting one of the ideas can cause headaches. With a car of kids, and hundreds or even thousands of miles ahead, hours can be just as long for us parents as it is for kids.

The other important part to this planning is having a positive attitude. Keep the stress to a minimal, plan accordingly and have a good time! Planning properly for long road trips is not just smart for the drive, but also for the pocket book. Make sure you have all the little things you may need away from home.

No matter where you go or what you do this holiday season, stay safe and enjoy it! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays and safe travels for all!

ourordinarylife profile picture
Parenting bloggers Kristin & Del write Our Ordinary Life, a website in which they share their life with their ordinary family. On this website you will find everything from family friendly organic recipes, reviews of products, fun family giveaways, and places to visit. There's even some parenting advice along the way which includes everything from tips for traveling with kids to dealing with the increasing tantrums of toddlerhood.

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