How to have a Successful Road Trip with Children

Planning a road trip with kids can be a little hectic, but if you follow these simple steps you’ll be smooth sailin’ all the way to Memphis – or… wherever you’re headed!


It’s a good idea to start talking about the road trip a few weeks before you plan on leaving. Always be positive when discussing the road trip. Call it a vacation, an adventure, whatever you need to, to get the kiddos excited! This will also help once you’re in the car. If a little one starts having a meltdown, you can remind them of how awesome this adventure is going to be, but everyone has to put on their happy face or it won’t be as fun!


Pack some surprises for the road. I like to call it a “Treasure Box”. We play “I Spy” for a little bit, and they get “coins” for each thing they find. After a few rounds of I Spy, let them cash their coins in for a prize. You can stock up on toys and coloring books from the dollar store, so the Treasure Box doesn’t break the bank.

Don’t forget to bring some special snacks – fruit snacks, bananas, or whatever tickles their fancy! Before you leave, be sure to grab some baby wipes and trash bags for messes and snack wrappers in the car.

Before you leave, check out Pinterest for printable road trip game ideas. There are tons! Pack a jump rope, and some other “active” toys to play with at rest stops. It will wear them out and they might even take a nap while you’re driving! Wishful thinking, perhaps, but one can dream…

Don’t forget music. Sing-a-longs can make the trip super fun!

Hitting the Road

To avoid such frequent stops, pack sandwiches or make your own Lunchables with cheese, crackers, and deli meat.

If possible, gas the vehicle up the night before so you don’t have to make a stop right away. If your vehicle has DVDs, consider renting a few new ones from the Redbox. You can return them at any Red Box kiosk, so you won’t have late charges.

Start your trip off on the right foot – bring some CDs and start a sing-a-long to set the mood.

Have fun

I think the most important piece of advice when going on a road trip is just to have fun! You’re building memories that your kids will cherish for years to come. After 100 “Are we there yet?”s, you may forget that you’re creating memories. Maybe you should write it on your hand. That always helps me remember things! 🙂

Okay now your turn, what are some tips you have for a fun road trip with kiddos?!


  1. We do not have kids yet so we borrow our neices and take them places. When they start asking if we are there yet my husband always says ten more minutes. It is like a joke we have and they laugh everytime he says it. (they were older at the time so they knew we were not there yet.) Then I baked all of these muffins that I thought we be great for a week at the shore but these 2 skinny teenagers ate all of them on the way there (about and hour and a half). One time I even tricked the one into believing that she was changing the radio station with her mind (not the wheel controls.) these might not be actual tips now that I am thinking about it – but it is fun – I need some more neice time!

  2. Melanie Wiser says

    I feel like I know a thing or two about road trips with kids- last year we drove from California to New York and this year we are returning back to the west coast so we will be traveling from New York to Washington! We have two kids- ages 2 and 4. One thing that has helped us is to talk up the hotel BIG time. We always made sure we reserved a hotel with a pool and got the kiddos really excited about it so they would look forward to the evening. Also, a lot of short stops help.

  3. Laura Kirby says

    Perfect timing with the road trip tips! We are leaving Monday to travel across 6 states with our 3 boys (ages 12, 8, and 7) I hope we all survive!! The one thing I am doing is every AM I am clipping 3 clips each containing 5 1.00 bills to my visor. If they are naughty they lose them one at a time! When we stop for the night they get to keep whats left on the clip. Money Talks!!

  4. I want to know where to get the tray like is in the picture. We traveled last year with our Grandchildren, ages 3 and 5 months. I looked everywhere for something like that!

  5. where can i get that tray that is so cute

  6. I saw something like this on if you are looking for one.

  7. I recently got one of those trays at

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