5 Tips to Make Car Travel with Kids a Breeze

I bet you read that title and maybe snorted a little at the comedy of traveling with kids actually being far from a breeze. But hear me out! As a mom of three (13, 4 and 2) who has traveled nearly ten times in the last eight months--three kids in tow for six of those trips--I’ve learned some lessons. Lessons I would be doing a wild disservice to other moms out there if I didn’t share them!

1. Use a Storage Bin (or 2!)

We have two bins in my car. The first bin holds a blanket and a change of clothes for both girls, including extra panties, wipes and shoes. With this bin in place I know I'm always stocked up on the essentials in case something happens spur of the mome nt and I need extras in a pinch. It's also clean, organized and not thrown all over the vehicle because it's perfectly prepped in the bin and placed in the trunk of my car.

The second bin is for dinners out when we may need distractions for the kids. It's filled with easy $1 and $3 items from Target like Play-Doh, stickers, coloring books, and puzzles so if our circus is... being a circus, we have options in the car to help tame them and get through a meal. This has helped us so, so, so much! We recently added Boogie Boards from Amazon to this bin and I’ll go ahead and say grab them for stocking stuffers or extra birthday gifts - you can’t beat the cost at $9.99!

2. Do Something Active the Day Before

Now this could be difficult for some when planning to head out on a road trip the next day, but I like being intentional about having a fun day out the day before we leave for a trip. It gets the kids in a better headspace when they know they have a special treat, just for them, right before they are crammed in a car for eight hours straight. Just kidding… kind of. We love doing indoor fun parks or the zoo and make it all about them - think cotton candy, a stuffed animal and something fun they could even bring with them and hold while on the road trip the next day!

3. Don't Bring Small Toys in the Car

Whatever you do, do NOT bring small toys in the car. One of the kids will drop them on the floor, never to be found again and a meltdown will ensue. I allow the girls to typically bring one toy each or a book with them when driving, but it has to be something larger. For instance, a stuffed animal or noisy play car keys - but Shopkins are not permitted. Drake typically brings a book to read or headphones to listen to his iPod.

4. Pack Ample Snacks

I’ve done this mom thing long enough to know you never leave the house without food in every pocket of your bag and stored in the car. So when it comes to driving long hours on a road trip, bring five times the amount you think you actually need. And don’t forget to supply options! We always have these goodies on hand:

  • Applesauce
  • Fruit Snacks
  • Lara Bars
  • Veggie Straws
  • Uncrustables (the kids love the peanut butter/honey option from Target)
  • Graham Crackers
  • Justin’s Almond Butter Pretzels
  • and a hydroflask for them to stay hydrated.

5. Keep a Trash Bag in the Car

Nobody likes trash and after finding half-eaten sandwiches from my 13 year old smashed in the backseat doors, I started carrying a trash bag in the car and I restock it every time it's used. Every time we are home and getting out of the car, if there is trash, everyone picks it up, fills the bag and the car is clean. Voilà!

When all else fails, load up a playlist on Spotify and make sure to stop for lunch so mama can grab a margarita (only when you’re co-piloting, of course!). Happy traveling, friends!

About the Author


Aubrey Kinch
Mom of 3, Blogger, & Entrepreneur

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