We decided to make it a priority to travel with our kids from the time they were little. We traveled so much before we had kids and decided that once we had them that wasn’t going to stop us from continuing that. If anything, it was going to inspire us to see more of the world. Give them the amazing experiences of different cultures and let them see the world through their own eyes, not just learn about it online, or in books. Let them live it and create their own memories doing it.
Traveling with young kids requires a lot of preparation and planning. This year, we are trying to take 22 adventures in 2022 and many will be on the road. After all the traveling we’ve done and all the road trips we’ve taken, you’d think I have all the answers, right? WRONG! I definitely don’t have all the answers, but I have learned some pretty amazing tips and tricks along the way to feel better prepared. I’ve put together a list of some of my favorite and most helpful hacks when traveling with your kids. Follow along on one of our own road trips, as we share our genius road trip hacks for kids.
Road Trip Hacks
I come across so many great little hacks every time we travel. Some I’ve found through research, but most of them have just fallen into my lap. These road trip hacks are so simple and easy to put together, and they will make the journey so much more enjoyable for everyone!
I love this one because it takes the guesswork out for the kids. They get to see where you are at and how much more of a drive you have. You simply print out a map showing your starting location and destination. If you don’t have access to a laminator or contact paper, you could very easily just tape over top of it.
To break up the trip and make it easier for our kids to follow along, you could even include a special mark, number or letter, at each scheduled stop or large landmark. The kids can then use a dry erase marker to trace the trail of where you have been. Even cross out your stops and landmarks when you get to them.
I’m hungry, can I have a snack… We’ve all heard this one during a road trip. Many, many times! This useful snack hack helps eliminate this statement altogether. And it only requires one item besides your snacks.
And with this snackle box you can totally customize what you put inside for each child. If you love this idea. I have a full post with more details about it. Check it out, I know you’ll love it.
Are we there yet? The never ending question. This DIY road map is as DIY and kid friendly as it gets. With just a few required items and a little imagination you will have a map that breaks down each stop and your final destination for every kid to be able to see from anywhere in the car.
Come see the full post on this genius hack. I break down what you’ll need and exactly how easy it was to put together.
Puzzles are the best way to pass the time, for kids of all ages! But when there are bumps and loose little fingers, pieces get lost. What would you say if I told you that I have the best hack for making sure these pieces don’t get lost? Super simple and can be reused many times over.
I’ve written a full post about this hack. It shows you all required supplies, and gives you step by step instructions. Check it out where I teach you how to make a magnetic puzzle.
When you travel with kids, you often have one all the way in the back of the car. And without getting out of your seat or having to stop every 2 minutes when they need something, how can you make that happen? With this genius pulley system that’s how.
String and an old milk or juice bottle with a handle that is cut open on the top, is all you’ll need. You simply tie one end of the string to the handle by the front passenger. And attach the other end of the string to the handle on the top by the 3rd row passenger. Make sure your container handle is attached before you secure the last end.
When you’re asked for a snack or toy you put it in the container and pull the string. It than brings the carton to the back row. All without breaking your back or stopping often.
We talked about the pulley system for sharing stuff from the front of the car to the back. But what if that isn’t an option to put together? This grabber is another option. I’m sure you all know what this grabber is. You can purchase them just about everywhere and they’re usually less than $10. All you need to do is grab something with this and reach back and hand it to your kid. As simple as that. No more reaching super far and stretching and hurting your back.
Trash can hack
The worst part of the road trip is cleaning up after it’s done with. Garbage everywhere.. I have the best idea to stop that from happening, and make the post road trip recovery much easier. This trash can hack is super easy. It only requires a plastic cereal container and a plastic grocery bag.
You simply put the plastic bag inside the cereal container and add the lid. There is a small hole with a top so your kiddo can put their garbage in and close it so it doesn’t spill out. It is also such a small container so it takes up very little room in what I’m sure is an already packed cark.
Every hour surprise bag
This was one of the best things I did on this trip to pass the time and get my girls excited about a long trip. These super simple and super easy surprise bags. They are customizable for each kid so there’s no one certain thing that should be in there.
What’s required for these surprise bags
A Paper bag
Super secret surprise items to stuff inside
A maker, pen or pencil to write on the bag
Timer or Alarm
Here is a video of our entire road trip so you can see exactly how we passed out these bags and what was inside.
This is why I LOVE these bags. You can put anything inside them.
Here are a few examples of what I put in my girls’:
Activity book. Can be learning or for fun. Something new to keep their attention for a bit.
Cute pens with sayings on them. I instantly regretted this one when they wrote all over themselves.
The magnetic puzzle. see the above listed hack for this one. Or see the full blog post here about how to put this together.
A new movie. At this point Mama needed a break. So we let the girls watch a movie they hadn’t seen before to pass some more time.
Fun snack. This gets the kids excited. Pick something out they haven’t had before or maybe something they’ve been eyeing or asking for.
Color by numbers. This kills a lot of time and they end up with a pretty picture too.
Cute new toy. Kids love getting a new little toy.
Other fun bag fillers:
I’ve got a couple other fun ideas of things you could add to your hourly surprise bags.
Sticker books. Let’s hope that most of these don’t end up on the car. They even make sticker puzzle books now.
A new book. My girls love to read. A new book will keep them interested and entertained for hours.
Car games. A card version of eye spy, or bingo.
Fidget toys. These are a huge hit in my house. They keep little hands busy and little minds working.
It doesn’t have to be anything too big. Beads and string to make a necklace. Or even cereal and string to make an edible necklace. Snack and a craft!
Road trip must haves
The hacks didn’t come to me as easily as these next items did. It was sometimes a struggle to figure out how to solve the problems we were having while traveling. Unfortunately some things were learned the hard way. But I now have some of the best items that I think are a must have for road tips with your kids.
These range anywhere from a car charging port to keep the electronic devices charged up. Sometimes we all need a break and electronics are a necessity, to snacks. If you’ve ever read any of my other travel posts, like 5 trips for sightseeing with kids, you’ll know that snacks are life when it comes to keeping kids occupied while traveling. Especially while being cooped up in a car on a road trip.
I’ve also included a few items that you’ll need for the road trip hacks, and some fun games and organization things as well.
Do these items seem like something you need for your next road trip? Something that will make your road trip easier and more enjoyable? I promise you that these are going to SAVE your life, and your sanity on your trip. So check out the whole post where I detail and share the 12 must have items for your next road trip. It will have you rushing online to buy them!
I really hope that I was able to give you lots of great ideas and must-haves for your next road trip. The next time you have a long drive I hope that everything I shared with you makes it easier and more enjoyable.
Now I always get questions, why go through all the trouble for a road trip? Have you ever heard the expression, it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey. Well I felt the same way. So why not take something that could ordinarily be boring and dull, like the trip to your vacation. And make it fun, something that my girls will enjoy, and look forward to. I know that we only have so many vacations before they get older and don’t want to do this with us. So while they are along for the ride, I’m going to make the most out of every opportunity and make the ride as fun and memorable as I can.
Did you choose a road trip too because of this post? Did you use my tips, tricks, and hacks? Share them on Instagram or Tiktok and tag me. I absolutely love seeing when all my hard work, and fun work if I’m being honest, goes to good use, and makes your life and trip so much easier.
Diana Blinkhorn is a professional content creator, social media strategist, and owner of TheGrayRuby.com. Her site caters to the everyday mother, sharing the real and raw side of motherhood. She loves to write about trave,l with a focus on cruising and Disney, and sharing her everyday life raising 3 young girls. With over 6 years of experience in social media marketing, Diana has built a business in this ever-evolving industry. She has been featured in publications such as Tampa Bay Parenting, HGTV.com, and HuffPost Parents.
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