Tips for Road Trips with Kids

Whether you’re heading out for a weekend getaway or a longer vacation, driving is an affordable option to get to your destination and might be less intimidating than flying with kids.  

We know kids can get impatient and parents often hear the never-ending question, “are we there yet?”. Here are a few tips to make your road trip a success.  

Kids activities for the car 

Pack a bag with age-appropriate activities for the car.  

  • Whether your kids are old enough to read or just enjoy the pictures, books are a great road trip activity
  • Audio players to listen to a story is a great alternative to books for younger kids 
  • Suction window spinners can keep infants and younger kids intrigued
  • Magnetic blocks or puzzles are a great activity that keeps pieces together
  • Sticker books 
  • Crayons and coloring book 
  • Card game 
  • Listen to a road trip trivia podcast for the whole family to play along together
  • Get the family involved with a scavenger hunt or road trip bingo by looking at the scenery and attractions you pass by
  • If your kids are old enough to enjoy movies, save one they’ve been wanting to watch for the drive so it’s extra special 

Snacks, snacks and more snacks 

Snacks keep everyone happy! Prep snacks and lunches ahead of time before you leave so it’s ready to grab when someone is hungry.  

Ideas of healthy, simple road snacks: 

  • Trail mix 
  • Cut up vegetables and dip (skip the dip for messy eaters)  
  • Apples 
  • Grapes  
  • String cheese 
  • Granola bars 
  • Dried fruit  
  • Sandwiches  
  • Wraps  
  • Water (avoid juice and soda to eliminate sticky spills)  

Pack snacks in individual containers to make it easily accessible for kids and remember to always store refrigerated food in a cooler with ice. By packing your own food, you avoid adding time to your trip by having to stop to eat. If you do stop to eat, look at the options along your drive ahead of time so you can plan the most efficient route.  

Pick a good time to leave 

If your kids have a hard time sitting on long car rides, plan your drive around the time they are most likely to sleep.  

If traveling with younger kids, plan travel times around their nap time if you have the flexibility in your travel schedule. Naps in the car are a great way to make the road miles fly past.  

If you have older kids, leaving later in the evening might work better for their schedule when they’ll be tired after a long day. If opting for this option, let them play outside or do physical activities to burn energy during the day before you leave.  

If you’re driving a route you could potentially expect heavy traffic, such as heading up north Wisconsin on a Friday evening or through a big city during rush hour, plan accordingly to try to avoid those peak traffic times.  

Set a realistic drive schedule and know your limits how far your family is comfortable in the car. Most kids can make it through a few hours at a time. Stop for bathroom breaks and stretch brakes every few hours if you’re driving a longer distance. Bonus if you find a playground or grassy rest stop for the kids to get out and run around for a few minutes.  

Always put safety first when you’re headed out on the road. Make sure your car maintenance is up to date and an emergency kit is stocked in your car. In the event something should happen, having the right car insurance is key. Contact a local agent to get a quote and make sure you’re protected.