Planning a Successful Road Trip with Kids

Plan a Road Trip with Kids This Summer

The open road lays at your feet as you speed through picturesque panoramas worthy of Italian film, briefly pausing to catch a quick glimpse of your partner’s gaze before… the piercing shrieks of children shatter your daydream and you realize you’ve been stuck in traffic with a cargo of angry kids for the last hour while you crawl toward your destination. Sound familiar?

We’ve written before about the ups and downs of traveling with children and, similar to airplane travel, road trips require their own set of expectations and a sense of humor.

How to Plan a Road Trip with Kids

6 Tips for an Easy Summer Road Trip with Kids

  1. Pack separately for overnights. Depending on the length of the trip, try to pack in “batches” for your overnight(s) on the way to the destination. Whether that’s a backpack with everything your family needs for one stop a couple shopping bags, one for each night, with a little kit for your toiletries — having the ability to pull into a parking lot after a long day on the road will be so much easier than lugging huge suitcases into your hotel and pawing through them when you’re half asleep.
  1. Get involved in backseat entertainment. Of course, pack plenty of pre-portioned snacks and water, load up the iPad with movies, bring headphones, and arm your kids with quiet toys — no batteries, for obvious reasons. More importantly, if there’s room, spend some time in the backseat with the kids. Some face time and “peek-a-boo” might be enough to quell a cranky toddler. Maybe young siblings need a referee and a game of “I Spy.” Kids love being the center of attention. They’re still going to need that attention on the road.
  1. Cleaning supplies. Prepare for spills, stains, and other child-related fluids. Be sure to pack a “sick bag” in case you have a little one who gets unexpectedly carsick along the way. Don’t forget baby wipes for sticky paws, paper towels, and maybe some fabric spray depending on the interior of your car and how attached to it you are.
  1. Bring a port-a-potty. Taking a toddler who is potty training on a road trip sounds like a nightmare, but it doesn’t have to be. Don’t stress yourself out about the availability of a bathroom after your child has finally informed you that they HAVE TO GO NOW after holding it for a half hour. Bring a small, inexpensive potty (think Ikea) and keep it in the car. This will keep them up with their training and make them feel more comfortable in the event you have to pull over on the side of the road. Lots of wet wipes, hand sanitizer, ziploc bags, and odor-blocking trash bags are key until you get to a garbage can.
  1. This is supposed to be fun! Sometimes you can’t help but have a tight schedule for your vacation. Remember to consider how much extra time everything takes with kids. Actions like getting out the door in the morning, eating lunch, stopping for the bathroom (…and how many stops for the bathroom…) could be quick stops or they could take forever. Use your smartphone to opt for lunch spots near a park or play area so your kids can run around. Though it may cost a bit more, spring for the motel with a pool so they have something to look forward to at each overnight stop. They’ll also sleep better at night if they’ve burned some energy during the day.
Chambray Pleated Short by Milly Minis from Angelibebe

photo credit: Milly Minis

  1. Dress for comfort. Uncomfortable kids are fussy kids. For summer road trips, opt for light breathable cottons. Bring a layer or two if your little one wants to get cozy in the A/C and always pack a couple extra outfits in the event of spills and mishaps. Check out this season’s T-shirts, shorts, and leggings so your children can stay chic, cool, and comfortable on all their adventures.

For more ideas for fun activities for kids, visit Angelibebe at

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