Road Trip Survival Guide for Parents

It’s about that time of year again. School’s out, the kids (and you) are ready for a vacation! If you have small children (or even big children, let’s be honest), extended periods of time in the car can be tough. Here are our top tips for staying sane on family road trips!

  1. Car Games

Classic car games are still around for a reason: they’re fun! In addition, most road games can be adapted for all ages. Try I Spy, the Alphabet Game (look for letters on road signs starting with A and going through the alphabet), the License Plate Game (looking for license plates from all the states), 20 Questions, Name that Tune (you can turn on the radio and see who can guess the name of the song or artist the fastest). Kids can also easily be entertained by counting things (number of traffic cones, tumble weeds, or find cacti with one, two or three arms and so on if you’re driving through Arizona!)

  1. Exercise at Rest Stops

It’s important to take rest stops and get those little legs moving and release some energy! Take some time to let the kids run around, play tag, jump rope or play catch. You can bring along a few toys, bubbles or sidewalk chalk to get them moving before it’s time to hit the road again. Make sure everyone makes a stop at the bathroom too!

  1. Lots of Snacks!

Stock up on plenty of snacks and food to eat on the drive. Stick with foods that can easily be eaten in the car and won’t make too much of a mess. You can also save lots of money by packing some lunches before you leave so you don’t have to eat out and deal with the “where should we eat?” argument. Sometimes the promise of a fun candy or something they don’t often get (think slushies, a pretzel) from a gas station can be an incentive for good behavior.

  1. Activity Books

If your kids don’t get car sick, having them complete summer activity books can keep them quiet, concentrated and learning! Many bookstores have summer learning books that kids can complete worksheets in, do puzzles, word searches and mazes. These books are not only fun but often can help your child maintain some skills over summer.  Make it more fun by rewarding them for completing a page of math or reading.

  1. Audio Books

In this technologically advanced world of DVDs and video games, the audio book may be forgotten. But they can be entertaining for the whole family and give your kids’ eyes a break from the screen. Pick up some audio books from your library, download them to your phone, or even turn on a Podcast.

  1. Surprise Them

It’s halfway through the drive, the kids have tried all the snacks, played all the games and are tired of all their toys. It’s time to bring out your secret weapon: the new and exciting toys that you bought for the trip and kept hidden until now. The fact that the toy is brand new will hopefully keep them entertained for a little while longer.


Good luck on your road trip, parents! And although you may tire of hearing “are we there yet?” just remember that the destination will be so worth the trip.  Take lots of photos and have fun!

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