Traveling with little kids ain’t easy. Anyone else agree!? The Bowman family has had short road trips, long road trips, road trips cut short, awesome road trips, horrible road trips, road trips with puking kids, road trips with sad kids, happy kids, laughing kids, crying kids, sleeping kids, uncomfortable kids, content kids, you name it!
We travel a lot to see family and those road trips take about 10 hours [which includes stops]. I would say we are experienced road trippers. However, I most definitely don’t have the magic solution for guaranteed smooth sailing when road tripping with your kids. In my very humble opinion, I think the first thing one has to do is gear themselves up for the [should we say exciting] rollercoaster of emotions our children will lay on us as we embark on our driving adventures. I found that once I recognized the fact that our road trips weren’t going to be 10 hours of sing alongs and smiles I felt like my emotions could handle the actual chaos that lies within road tripping with kids.
I know this is common sense, but sometimes I have to remind myself that kids are kids. They don’t like to be buckled down in their seats for hours. I don’t like to be buckled in my own darn seat for hours. I stopped making a strict game plan because my game plan just wasn’t always going to work out. We would plan to drive at least two hours before stopping, but then five minutes in someone has to poop and they really mean it sooooo we are going to have to stop.
In the early Bowman travel days my husband and I would focus on our final destination time and then we would both be irritated when that time turned into two, to three, to five hours later. Nowadays, instead of focusing on our arrival time to our final destination we make a day of our road trip. We know we need to make at least one if not a couple of long stops and so we try to plan ahead to make those stops fun. We look for fun places to stop such as museums, cool looking rest stops, parks, national parks, or even just plan ole dirt roads to adventure on. When traveling in good weather and in the summer we pack a lunch and find a park so that the kids can run around while they eat.
Another thing we really try to do is leave early. Like 4/5 in the morning early… it doesn’t always work out, but when it does it is so worth it. The kids are still sleepy and seem to be more happy to sit in their seats looking out the window or drowsily falling back to sleep. Which makes it easier for us to get a long stretch of driving in before having to make a stop. We also switch up our activities of entertainment in the car. We bring books, movies, kindles, books on tape, trivia cards, coloring materials, and even make sure the kids have “looking out their window” time. As far as snacks go we try to limit liquid intake and bring no mess snacks like string cheese.
Long story short you guys we have to travel. Adventuring with our kids is a must and family vacations are so much fun! But you have to road trip to get there sometimes. A N D tying down your little ones in a seat for hours is not easy. Below I have a road trippin tip list with a few tips that have really worked for us and have made our family road trips a bit easier. If you guys have tips please add them in the comments below! We are always looking for new ideas to make our road trips easier!
road trippin tips
- Leave early, like REEAAAL early, 4 or 5 am early. It’s so hard, but also so worth it!! Just throw the kids in the car in their Pjs, and use changing into their clothes as a good break to stop down the road.
- Bring clean up supplies for car sickness or baby blow outs – think gallon of water, paper towels, extra clothes in a convenient place, trash bags.
- Gallon Size – Ziplock bags…. you might not know how’ll you’ll use them now, but you’ll find something. Dirty clothes, trash, dirty diapers (to trap the stink). We actually keep them in our car at ALL times
- Don’t give your kids to much water or other liquids… I know keeping kids hydrated is important, but you drink water you have to pee and when road tripping that means you have to stop more.
- Pack your own lunches. Pack all your own food. Really this saves you some BIG BUCKS.
- Look for cool stop places, especially lunch breaks at a park when the weather is good.
- If you are road tripping in the winter, look for a Simon mall to stop at, they typically have a kids play area. The kids can run and you can relax with a Starbucks.