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By: Clair Cook, author of
Posted on: Jun 14, 2021

Best Tips for Traveling with Kids

Has anyone else planned or started thinking about summer vacations? With things easing up around the States, we have been taking family vacations as well as planning a few for later in the summer. Planning for the actual travel is a must when you have kids. It is not just about what to do or bring for when you reach your destination. Here are some of my best tips for traveling with kids!

Bring the snacks.

This may be blatantly obvious, but you have got to pack the snacks for car rides with kids. It does not matter if it is 2 hours or 9 hours away. Pack the snacks! Prep snacks that are easy for kids to eat while traveling and ones that do not require a lot of clean up. I prepare refillable water bottles for all my kids and make sure to pack extra water bottles in an ice chest in case refills are needed. What are some great snack ideas for kids while on the road?

  • cheese squares and crackers
  • cereal/granola bars
  • fruit snacks
  • cut up veggies and fruits (remember some fruit will turn brown, and kids may refuse to eat this)
  • other snack pack varieties

One thing to keep in mind is to not pack a lot of sugar or sugary beverages. These will cause a false energy rush which will in turn make for a very ‘pleasant’ car ride. Hint the sarcasm there.

Comfortable while on the road.

We all know that riding in a car for over an hour is not the most comfortable thing to do. You better believe that I will try my best to make it as comfortable as I can, especially when I am traveling with kids. The best advice I have for this is to have everyone travel in comfortable clothing with blankets ready to go. After hearing my kids complain about being cold a few times on one of our family vacations, I made it a point to always bring blankets on any trip.

If there is room, I allow my kids to bring one of their favorite stuffed animals.

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Boredom is not any fun when traveling with kids.

I have learned from my 9 years of traveling with kids that having bored kids in the car is absolutely no fun. When they are miserable, so is everyone else in the car. Packing items that will keep them entertained is a must! Screen time options are an easy go-to, but I like to include engaging games and activities for majority of the ride.

Bingo games for on the road are a lot of fun! I have found these at Target as well as other places. They are specifically made for the car. There are no extra game pieces besides the game board itself. Fidget toys are also a hit for long car rides with kids. They have so many different ones available now and all with different colors and styles.

Coloring and sketch pads will always be in my car tote bag. If you are not all about having colors in your car, you can opt for those magic markers that only show up color on the special paper. What about sticker paint books? My son spent majority of our ride to Missouri last week placing stickers onto different images much like a paint by number activity.

There are also other games you can play while on the road that do not require anything but an imagination! We play ‘Eye Spy’ as well as “License Plate Find’ while on the road. The kids always love these two games.

Best Tips for Traveling with Kids

To pack or overpack, that is the question.

Now for all the packing. It always comes up whether one should pack only what is needed or to pack extra. The way I look at it, it all depends on the ages of your children. I used to overpack when my kids were younger. I was not sure what type of mess we would get ourselves into. It always seemed like the younger ones always went through more clothes. For our most recent trip, I packed exactly what we needed. I did know that I was going to be able to wash clothes while I was on our vacation.

One thing that I always make a point to pack for the actual car ride is an extra pair of clothes. It never fails that at least one of my kids will make a mess of their outfits while we are traveling. Packing what we need and having clean travel accessories for toiletries is definitely a must.

When is the best time to start your travel?

I always like to ask this question when it comes to traveling with kids. When is the best time to start your travel? Is it ever too early or too late? Again, this all depends on your family dynamics as well as when you can check into your vacation spot. You do not want to arrive too early and are left finding ways to pass the time with kids who are ready to let loose.

We had a 9-hour drive from Louisiana to Branson, Missouri last week. Leaving before 6am worked perfect for us because the kids were put into the car still sleepy. They were out of it for the first few hours of the vacation before they truly woke up and were ready to raise some chaos. We also planned for stopping at least 2 to 3 times for food, gas, and bathroom breaks. There is something about having the car packed the night before and leaving early that makes traveling with kids much easier!

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Traveling with furry family members can also be a challenge.

Although I have dedicated majority of this post to traveling with kids, a lot of you may also be traveling with a furry family member. We cannot forget about them! They may not seem as demanding as kids, but they do require some planning ahead of time. Make sure to have them traveling with safety in mind and not just climbing all over the car.

There is also great food and water traveling gear that is perfect for your pets. This makes making bathroom stops for a drink break easy when you have dogs on board. Like kids, you do not want them to get too board either. Make sure to pack chew toys and other stuffed dog toys to keep them entertained.

Best tips for traveling with kids is a must!

Traveling with kids is more than a lot of fun. The memories that will be shared and made is irreplaceable. I am all for planning to make the very most of all our vacations, which includes the actual car ride with kids. Here is to a wonderful summer and making memories with our loved ones!