The best tips for family road trips. Try these simple tricks to make traveling with kids easier. Easy Road Trip tips for Families.

Car packed with luggage.

Tips for family road trips

We all know what it is like to be on a long road trip with children. I am sharing helpful things to do on a road trip so that you survive with kids. These traveling tips are practical and easy.

Our family loves to take vacations. With 8 kids, flying just isn’t in the budget. We have returned from our vacation and I wanted to report that the car ride I was dreading was absolutely perfect.

This family will definitely be having more family road trips in our future. I thought I would take a few minutes to give you my tips for things to do on a road trip.

Child in car seat.

Easy Road Trip tips for Families

Try these easy tips for a great trip.

1. Don’t have high expectations

In general, I try to be a positive person. My primary goal in life is to see good and be happy. However, with a road trip, this isn’t a good thing.

I did the complete opposite and expected the worst. I anticipated the worst.

We had a first aid kit ready to go, paper towels ready for a spill and baby wipes ready for sticky fingers. It might seem quite negative in preparing for your road trip, but it will make the trip a much more positive experience.

2. Plan Activities – Play Road trip games

Planning is crucial to a successful road trip. Grab a variety of activities for your children to do in the car. After all, you can’t expect them to entertain themselves for 15 hours.

You need a big variety of activities.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Movies. Bring movies on the trip. We have a dvd player in our car that makes trips much easier.

    However, if you don’t have one, borrow a portable DVD for the week from a friend. You can also download movies on your devices such as an iPad, phone or tablet.
  • Road trip games. We like to play I spy, the alphabet game, and more.
  • Books. We brought children’s books and a chapter book to read to the kids.
  • Activity Books and Coloring Books. I purchased activity books for each child at the dollar store. They have activities for kids of all ages.

    I also bought clip boards for each child so it was easier for them to write. Amazon has several for cheap too .
  • Hand held video games or iPads. These are definitely handy for the car on long trips.
Kids in car.

3. Schedule out your time

This might seem weird but just like a school has scheduled classes, you should schedule out your driving time. For example, I basically told everyone when they were allowed to do what activity.

For example, when it was movie time, they only could watch a movie. When it was reading time, everyone read, etc…

It might look something like this:

  • 1 ½ hours -Watch a movie
  • 30 minutes – read books
  • The next 30 minutes –  Activity books
  • 30 minutes – screen time

Now, I didn’t really write anything down, but I just told the children what we were doing. If it was time to play the video games, they knew they only got 30 minutes with them.

You didn’t hear whining, fighting and complaining, because they wanted to get as much playing done in that small amount of time.

We also had a mandatory resting time. Since our daughter still needs a nap, after lunch we had a mandatory quiet time. The boys knew that once she fell asleep they could play games or watch a movie (as long as it was quiet).

This guaranteed a good 1 to 2 hours of peace for the parents. Even if your children are too old for naps, a mandatory resting time is still a fabulous idea.

As soon as it appeared that the kids were getting bored, we switched! Rest stops also make great places to stretch legs and use the bathroom.

4. Give Rewards

Some call this bribery, but I call it smart. The favorite thing our kids loved during the road trip was getting to pick out a sucker at the gas station.

Sure, it is an overpriced treat for this frugal family, but our kids loved it. They knew that if they fought and argued that day, they would not get that special treat the next time we stopped.

This resulted in better behavior and no one arguing. Older kids might like rewards such as fast food on the family vacation.

Tips for Family Road Trips:

Now, I want to share with you a few items that will make your family road trip easier.

Portable fridge in car.


Check out this cool fridge that will make road trips a bit more fun! Amazon has several to choose from and they are perfect for long trips in the car.

Travel first aid kit.

Travel First Aid Kit

You can order a this 121-Piece Road Trip First Aid Kit that has everything you need. It is a very nice comprehensive first aid kit.

Trunk organizer.

Trunk Organzier

Snag this Collapsible Folding Flat Trunk Organizer. It is a great size for cars or SUV. You can easily sort lots of items in this.

Try these tips for family road trips.

I hope these tips will help you as much as they have helped my family. We have had a lot of successful family road trips thanks to these tips and tricks. Just have fun and take time for roadside attractions such as National Parks. Don’t forget about bathroom breaks and the occasional pit stops.

Everyone will need to get out of car seats and stretch their legs. Occasional breaks can also help with car sickness.

What tips do you have that work for you? Hopefully this list of things to do on a road trip will help you survive your next family road trip.

More Vacation tips:


The best tips for family road trips. Try these simple tricks to make traveling with kids easier. Easy Road Trip tips for Families. Learn how to make large family road trips easier for the entire family.  #onecrazymom #roadtrips #triptips #parentingtips

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  1. one of the thing we like to bring is band-aids which I got for free or cheap and it entertains the kids for a very long time. Also an ace bandage.

  2. We have no family in OK so we travel a lot!! I usually allow my son (my daughter is still too young) to bring activities with him but I also wrap small (cheap) gifts for him. Cheap movies, coloring books or pages I printed, crayons, music CD’s, books, books on CD, etc. I plan for two a day and usually only on the way there because on the way back he has other things that he got from our trip or gifts from grandparents. I give him one as we start for the day and one after lunch. It really helps him to have a few new things to do so he doesn’t get bored.

  3. We drive to visit family once or twice a year (8hrs each way), did a 1600km each-way road trip with a preschooler, toddler, and infant, and are currently planning a 4500km move.

    I’ve learned to pack things in Rubbermaids for the trunk of the minivan – the storage back there is always narrow and high, and only so many items are capable of being squished at the bottom. It also makes unloading the trunk to look for something much easier, especially if they’re labeled!

    Audio books have been a hit lately; our kids are now 3, 5, and 7 and we’ve enjoyed Magic Tree House, Charlotte’s Web, Clementine, and more. I always have a tv show or two downloaded to the iPad just in case so they can all watch together rather than fighting over who gets to play games on it and when. The TV shows are short but are usually enough to “reset” everyone when things are getting ugly.

    I can definitely second the clipboards from experience! Next time I’m taping a pencil on a string to them though; when kids are buckled into boosters and carseats it’s difficult for them to retrieve fallen items. Patterned washi tape is lots of fun for them and since it’s not super sticky, it’s easy to pull off of windows etc and never leaves a residue. I let my kids use it to hang things on their bedroom walls too. Melissa & Doug make water pen books (reusable) that are perfect for toddlers – the worst mess that can happen is they could figure out how to unscrew the top and spill about a tablespoon of water. They also make cling-sticker books; we use the reusable “stickers” on the vehicle windows and they can create animal scenes etc.

    Doling out the activity items gradually also helps; if I give each kid a box with all their activity stuff at the beginning, it loses its shine quickly. On the flip side, this means I spend a lot of time digging out new things and passing them back.

    Hope that helps someone! Some trips fly by; others are more of a grind. Being prepared definitely helps – don’t forget lots of ziplocs for car sickness or soiled clothes!