Monday, July 15, 2019

Road Tripping - Tips and Tricks

I've talked about road trips in the past but have had several requests recently to share some of my "favorites" and tips and tricks for road trips so here we go!

We're not road trip experts by any stretch of the imagination but we have done a few long ones starting when the kids were 2, 4 and 7 and so we've learned a thing or two along the way.  


This is something that we've learned the hard way but LESS IS MORE when it comes to a road trip.  Less toys, less clutter, less "stuff"... just less.  This has definitely gotten easier as my kids have gotten older but is something I really wish we had done when they were younger as well.  

I used to let them pack a backpack with their toys and stickers and whatever else they wanted to do in the car and we have since kiboshed that because they rarely actually played with them for longer than a few minutes AND it al just made a huge mess.  Last year I picked up some road trip scavenger hunt type games, paint by sticker books as well as mad libs and while they were a cute idea we won't be bringing them along this year because #clutter.

In reality, what they like to do in the car is watch movies, read, color and eat snacks.  The end.  

Speaking of reading... the way we're trying to simplify that is through the use of the CloudLibrary app and the boys iPads.  

With our library card they can check out digital books from our local library system and read them whenever.  We just make sure that they download books while connected to WiFi and then they can read them in the car when they don't have WiFi (we have cellular disabled on their iPads).

If your local library offers this you MUST check it out because they have literally EVERYTHING!!!

This is great for when we're in Colorado and not just in the car because Luke reads a TON and this way we don't have to take his stack of books (one year we took the entire Wimpy Kid series in the car - hahaha).

I read on my  Kindle Paperwhite and have for the last year.  I NEVER thought I'd switch to e-books but I love it SO SO SO MUCH!  Unfortunately, I can't use CloudLibrary on my Kindle ;(

I've got it loaded with the equivalent of my previous "nightstand stack" and can't wait to work my way through a few books.  It's my favorite way to pass time in the car. 

And look how teeny!

Moving right along with "simplifying", we didn't totally get rid of coloring, drawing, etc. in the car but I did find a way to hopefully simplify that as well.  Mason and Griffin each have one of these clipboards and a pencil pouch that I've stocked with twistable colored pencils.  No missing lids, no melting crayons, no sharpening - simple.  

I have it stocked with a pad of plain white paper as well as a couple of new coloring books for each of them.


Luke has a clipboard as well with a Sudoku book, mechanical pencils and some scratch paper he can use with his big math workbook.


We for sure bring along our fair share of road trip treats like peach-o's and gummy worms and Famous Amos BUT I try to limit that in favor of pretzels, string cheese and apples.  We also try to drink a ton of water since to avoid altitude sickness AND because if it spills it's way better than having chocolate milk all over the car.  Each of the kids has  a Hydroflask and they're great because they keep things super cold and don't spill.

Each kid has one of these handles which makes them easy to carry around.  They used them all summer last year as well as every day at school and they held up perfectly!

I had  my friend Amanda make name decals to put on them and those held up to daily use/washing as well and it was our first year of school EVER to not have to replace a lost water bottle mid-year.  

On the subject of snacks, we bring a package of Chinet plates with us making snacks and/or meals on the road so much easier as well as baby wipes because #ketchup :)

Also,  Griffin gets SUPER motion sick and we've found that the best thing for her are  sea bands.  They're these little cotton bands with a bead on them that sits on a pressure point on the wrist and helps with nausea.  The trick for her has been to put them on her before we get going.  

TIP #3 - iPads and movies are LIFE

Honest moment here - when we're in the car for long periods of time we let our kids have pretty much an unlimited amount of screen time. When we took our first road trip I had visions of road trip family games and singing and good ol' family fun and that's just now how it went and we quickly realized that movies and iPads with headphones saved everyone's sanity.  

We make sure we have chargers and headphones handy and figure that the massive amount of screen time is offset by the fact that we really don't do any screen time when we're actually at our destination.  They watch movies, play games, color, do puzzles, etc., etc., etc.  Some of it is educational and some of it isn't... it's really just survival :)

The first year we drove to Colorado Mason and Griffin were both still in 5-point harnesses and we didn't really have to deal with pillows.  Two years ago Mason was in a backless booster, and Griffin was in  this booster seat and we quickly realized that it wasn't working out for the long ride because when he dozed off the belt kept slipping out of position.    Since then when we go on trips where he may fall asleep, Mason rides in a booster with a back (the same one as Griffin) All three kids have  these pillows so we can avoid the bulk and improper positioning that regular pillows cause and they do each take their Saranoni blankets because they're the best and we all have to have them to sleep :)

This is Mason demonstrating the pillow :) 

The green side is fleece and gets really warm and the blue side is a cooling material.  I feel like it looks SUPER weird, but my kids love them!


This kind of goes along with tip #3 but traveling with kids RARELY goes as planned so lower your expectations and then be surprised when it goes better than you thought it would :)  

You may have to stop a million times for bathroom breaks.  Or have a kid puke into your Yeti cup.  Or have to just pull over in the middle of nowhere to let everyone stretch and dance it out a bit and push the reset button.  We've made some awesome memories on the road and some of them are moments that we never planned on.

Dave and I both grew up doing road trips with our families and love creating memories with our kids the same way.  I'd love it if you'd leave a comment with either your favorite road trip memory and/or a travel tip!

Happy Monday, friends!!

PS - this post contained affiliate links... thank you so much for reading and supporting my blog!


  1. My number 1 tip for for parents on long roadtrips--carry along gallon sized zip lock bags. They work great if someone unexpectedly gets sick. The mess is contained. Just zip it up and throw away when you are able to stop. They also can be used for wet clothes or to hold travel treasures.

    1. Yes to the ziplocs! I have a "bag of bags" that is the first thing I restock and pack in the snack bag! I have multiples of all sizes that I keep in a big 2 gallon zip! I only only have one kiddo, but we are always busting out a ziploc to put snacks in to keep them fresh and from spilling. We use them in hotel rooms for leftovers or wet clothes. The "bag of bags" is the best!

  2. Love this post! We just finished up a week long road trip and our kids are 2, 4, and 9. Usually we try to find a chick fil a or something with a indoor play place for a lunch break. The kids can get energy out while we eat in peace haha. Also windows and sun roof open usually help put my kids to sleep within minutes so if we sense that everyone is getting grouchy we roll down the windows and put on some chill music!

  3. We tend to do 2-3 road trips a year because my family lives 10 hours away and we use these cups for snacks. They are 97 cents at Wal-mart and I take 2-3 for each kid and I keep them in the snack bag. They work great for snacks and if anyone gets sick...yes, that's happened. They have all different characters and I find them in the party aisle.

  4. Great tips! Would you mind updating the links for the Hydro Flask handle and stickers? I couldn't get them to pull up. They are so cute!

  5. Great tips! I love that you give yourself grace with screen time; it really is fine. This year, I knew we would need some downtime entertainment at our destination, but didn't want to haul a bunch of toys so at the last minute, I threw a pack of Wikki Stix in the bag. Holy cow! What a HIT!!! She played with them so much that the wax turned white!


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