Disclosure: This is a sponsored post All opinions expressed are entirely my own.
As you may know, we are no stranger to road trips as we’ve been hitting the road almost once every month with our family of 5. While we do love exploring and going on new adventures, road tripping with kids can be hard especially when they are young. As road trippers, we’ve learned quite a few things. Here are our favorite road trip tips for you to stay sane when hitting the road with the family.
- Clean the car. Yes, I know it’s inevitable that the car will be trashed post-road trip, but starting with a clean slate always gives me peace of mind. Plus, it’s a great time to take out things you won’t need!
- Prep the car. Before any trip, we need to make sure the car is in tip-top shape. We usually get our oil change beforehand, and we double check to make sure the car seats are installed securely. If you haven’t had a car seat check, Cars.com is an awesome resource. For example, you’ll find videos of how to correctly install car seat for specific cars along with ratings. (See link below.) If you don’t feel confident doing it yourself, you can find a place to double check if the car seat is installed correctly.
- Bring snacks! We NEVER, EVER, go on anywhere without snacks, let alone a road trip.
- Divide and conquer. Going on a long drive? Our kids’ car limit is 3-4 hours. We try to find an activity, roadside attraction, museum, or restaurant by this time. For example, this past summer we broke up our drive from Mackinac Island to Ludington with a stop at a waterfall. It was a quick stop, and made for great memories!
- Book hotels in advance. I learned my lesson many years ago when we didn’t have a hotel booked for one of our nights. When we did want to stop (middle of the night), we couldn’t find a hotel because a local horse convention was in town and everything was booked. We were frantically trying to find a hotel, and about 30 miles out of the way we finally find one. Worst. Night. Ever. I now ALWAYS book ahead of time.
- Games. Find games for you and the kids to play. Every time they win or finish their activity, go ahead and….
- …give them a prize! Because, hey, who doesn’t love prizes? Head to the dollar store beforehand for fun prizes on the cheap.
- DVDs. I can’t tell you how thankful our car comes with a DVD player. Such a lifesaver!
- Get gas even if you don’t need it. When we’re on the road and we’re in a rural area, we make sure our gas is always more than halfway full. Even when we don’t need to. Believe me, we’ve run into incidents when we’ve said, “We’ll get it at the next stop.” and found that the next stop was never coming.
- Use the bathroom. Yes, same concept as gas. We have a rule that if we make a stop everyone uses the bathroom, even if we don’t need to. Because having a squirmy child in the back seat is no fun, especially if there is no bathroom in sight. Trust me on this.
- Print out directions. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve run into areas where we get no signal. No signal = no GPS. Thankfully, I learned from my past mistakes and have started printing directions with addresses and contact information. Lifesaver! Keeping a map is also really helpful.
- Pack overnight bags. If you’re staying only one night at an overnight hotel, we pack a small roller suitcase separately. Our main suitcase is huge and a pain to carry if we’re only using a few items in it.
What are your favorite road trip tips?
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.