Now that summer break is here, it’s a good time to go on some family road trips! These 11 family road trip tips will ensure a smoother journey filled with excitement and fun!
Please note that this post is sponsored by Amazon. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
As summer is drawing closer, we are eagerly anticipating the family road trips we have planned. We plan to go to San Diego a few times, Las Vegas and San Francisco too. As a mom who does much better when I am organized and when I plan in advance, I have put together some family road trip tips to help your summer road trip with kids go by more smoothly.
Road Trip Tips
In January, we went to Mammoth Lakes. That was a 9 hour trip and I’m happy to announce, my children did beautifully! I would not hesitate to go on another road trip with them and I truly believe that these road trip tips were the keys to our success.
1. Make a running list the week you are leaving with things you don’t want to forget to bring.
I normally create my list on my cell phone notes section. Then, whenever I think of something, I add it immediately. This often happens when I am going to bed at night. I add basic things to this list like chargers, headphones and more unusual things like if I plan to take my cameras or chargers. I add in clothing items I want my children to wear like those brown sandals in their closet or the blue striped swimsuit cover up. Random items like medicines or prescription medicines go on the list too. Add anything you would hate to forget, like your Kindle. Because I mean, what is a vacation without a Kindle? Each night I remember something different so it’s good to start this list in advance.
When I am packing I go through this list and I do a quick glance over this list the morning we are leaving.
2. Pack the car the night before.
When we go on road trips, we want to utilize as many daylight hours as possible. That means we usually leave early in the morning. The last thing you want to worry about is all the things you might forget when you’re tired and groggy in the morning. Pack your car the night before and alleviate some of the morning stress. Trust me, this makes life that much easier so you can focus on the important things like making sure everyone has used the restroom before we leave and that everyone has shoes on!
3. Play games
- iSpy – iSpy with my eye something red (referring to a red car.)
- Play the license plate game.
- Sing songs together – Play music that everyone likes and have some car karaoke fun!
- Use road trip bingo cards
- Print out some Would You Rather Questions and use them as conversation starters.
4. Listen to an Audiobook together
We listened to a family audiobook together on our last trip to Mammoth and what I loved about doing this on a longer trip is the perfect flow of the story. Sometimes, when we try to listen to audiobooks in the car during school drop offs and pick ups, we only get 15 minutes to hear the book in a day. This breaks up the story a lot. Listening to an audiobook on a road trip is the perfect way to get the most out of the story and often times you can finish the whole book in one long drive! Check out my recommendations of children’s audio books.
5. Bring an Amazon Fire Kids Edition Tablet
We absolutely adore our Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Edition tablets. The screen is the perfect size to play games and watch movies. I love that our Amazon Fire HD 10 Kids Edition Tablet comes with 1 year of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited. Amazon FreeTime Unlimited includes over 15,000 books, movies, TV shows, educational apps, and games. I love that this all in one device means that my children are taking reading books with them, without adding any bulk or weight to our luggage. That means that my 12 and 10 year olds can both still get their 20 minutes of reading time each night while we are on vacation.
You can download movies to the device in advance so that you won’t need a wifi connection to watch it. A KET device comes with 32 GB of internal memory. I highly recommend increasing your devices storage capacity by adding an SD Card. This will enable you to download movies to the device for offline viewing.
My children can load up their devices with age appropriate apps so they never get bored.
I also love that the case and the 2 year worry free guarantee gives me peace of mind when we take our tablets on the go with us. It ensures the device is safe from falls. Want to learn more about Amazon Fire Kids Edition tablets? Then check out my post Amazon Fire Kids Edition Tablet Family Time Activities.
6. Charge your electronics in advance!
Yep, one of the most important family road tip trips is don’t forget to charge your electronics!! There can be nothing worse for a child than the anticipation of being able to use a much loved device like an Amazon Fire Kids Edition tablet on the road trip, only to find out it isn’t charged. Make sure you have it charged to 100% the night before!
7. Don’t forget these family road trip necessities:
- Hand sanitizer
- Chargers for your devices
- Wet wipes
- First aid kit (or some plasters.)
- Change of clothes – because children often spill things on themselves when they are traveling.
- Headphones – since each person in the car may be listening to different music or playing different games.
- Trash bags – keep the car free from wrappers being thrown all about.
- Snacks – pack your child’s favorite snacks. You can cut fruit in advance, pack a bag of chips, cereal and your child’s other favorites. The key here is to pack a variety of snacks. Take a cooler bag if you want anything to stay cool.
- Camera gear – if you have a special camera, like I do with my DSLR then bring it with. For vacations that include water I bring my GoPro too.
8. Take breaks & factor in pit stops to your travel time
It’s important to take a break every so often to stretch your legs and let the children use the restroom. We normally stop at a fast food restaurant, grab a snack and use the restrooms. If you pass a park, let the children stretch their legs on the jungle gyms. Sometimes, we stop and play a quick game of Simon Says. The girls love this and it gets them moving so that their body doesn’t hurt from the long drive.
9. Create a busy bag or travel activity bag
I always surprise my children with a special bag on our family trips. These Travel Activity Bags include travel activity books, water paint books and other random activities suitable to where we are traveling to.
10. Dress them in comfortable clothing suitable to the weather.
Sure, It’s a simple family road trip tip but sometime’s the basics are important. Clothing choices are important. Their clothing needs to be comfortable! I almost always make sure my children are wearing pants with a t-shirt. I also bring sweaters for when it gets chilly.
11. Get a lap pad
If your child likes to color or draw, you can get a lap pad that can fit right on their lap. You can fill it with twistable colored pencils or markers, paper and coloring books. Don’t pack crayons, because sometimes they can melt in the car and clean up for that is not fun! Children can also put their device on top of the lap pad.
I hope these 11 family road trip tips are helpful to you and your family. Do you have any road trip tips to add to our list?