5 Hacks for Road Trips with Kids

I recently spent a week on Instagram covering everything you need to know for taking a successful road trip with kids.  For easy reference, I'm compiling all the information here.  Please feel free to share the link to this post with other mamas who could benefit from the tips and tricks for taking road trips with kids.


There are 3 basic driving options when it comes to long road trips.

  1. Multi-day, full-daylight driving (stopping somewhere overnight)
  2. Through the night
  3. Middle-of-the-night departure


Road Trips With Kids Snacks Hacks

I always like to have a wide variety of snacks on-hand for long stretches of road where we don’t stop for hours, and to keep this mama from getting hangry.

I throw a few frozen water bottles (that can be used to fill sippy cups when they thaw) into the bottom of an insulated cooler bag (mine is from Costco). Then I throw in all my snacks. I get a variety of bite-size crackers, dried fruit, fresh produce, and dipping sauces in condiment cups. It takes a little prep work, but will save you SO much time and frustration on the road to have all your snacks pre-portioned into snack bags.

Another road trip hack is to utilize cup holder trays from fast food restaurants if you have to eat a meal on-the-go. They make the perfect meal trays with compartments for all the food and a little ketchup cup right in the middle.


Road Trip Activities Hacks for Kids

My biggest tip here is KEEP IT SIMPLE. I’ve made the mistake of over-preparing for long road trips with way too many new games, activities and toys. It ended up being over-stimulating and cluttered up the car.

Now I try to plan for a few different types of activities for the kids to ROTATE through.

Some options that work well for us:
1 ART TRAY: I bring one art tray filled with colored pens, blank notebooks, and a couple activity books. The kids rotate this throughout the trip.
1 METAL SHEET PAN WITH MAGNETS: These can be found at the dollar store and you can use whatever magnets you have on-hand (magnet blocks, letters, activity pieces, etc).
NEW LIBRARY BOOKS: I let each of my kids pick out a new library book that they’re excited about before our trip.
FAMILY QUESTION CARDS: It’s really fun as a family to ask these questions and let each person answer them. We get to learn a lot more about each other and all end up laughing about the answers given.

Bonus tip: utilize rest stops for pit stop challenges where everyone has to complete jumping jacks, run around the car, etc to burn off some energy and get the wiggles out!


Media Hacks for Road Trips with Kids

This is hands-down the biggest game-changer for road trips since I was a kid. When outlet plugins became a ‘thing’ we used to bring our mini tv and rest it on the center console. We thought it was the best thing ever.

Now that devices are so much more accessible and convenient, they can be a great tool for long road trips, when utilized in the right ways.  I love to be prepared with new music, audio books, podcasts, movies and apps/games.

MUSIC: download some new tunes from movies you’ve recently watched as a family and grab some old-school CD’s to jam to when the kids are sleeping.

AUDIO BOOKS: get the ‘Libby, by Overdrive’ app to “check out” audio books from your library for free and download them right onto your device. Audible is a great option for purchasing audio books as well.

PODCASTS: there are SO many awesome podcasts you can download that your whole family will love. You can multitask and be listening and eating/playing/coloring at the same time.

MOVIES: if we’re going to be playing a movie for the kids using the car stereo, I love choosing movies with great music (so they’re fun to listen to even if you’re not watching).

APPS/GAMES: there are definitely games and apps that are better than others!  I asked the Instagram community and discovered some great options from you.

Best audio books for road trips with kidsBest audio books for road trips with kidsBest podcasts for road trips with kidsBest movies with great soundtracks and music for road trips with kidsBest movies with great soundtracks and music for road trips with kidsBest games and apps for road trips with kids


Road Trip Hack with Kids Car Organization

I feel like we all maintain our sanity a little better on a long road trip when the car stays organized and we can find what we’re looking for!

As I thought about ways to add storage into the car without taking up ground or seat space, it dawned on me that mesh bath toy holders with suction cups might be the perfect solution. And guess what? They are! I am SO excited about how well these work in the car. They hold a lot of weight, lock into place, and can be easily removed with no damage to the windows. This is the 2-pack set I got from Amazon and it’s under $10!

Other organization necessities are extra batteries, tissues in a round canister for cup holders, baby wipes and grocery sacks for trash.

I hope this information for taking road trips with kids was helpful and that your next road trip with kids is your best yet.  Come be a part of our Instagram community!  I share a bunch of easy snack, meal, and mom hack ideas over on my instagram page.

Follow Homegrown Traditions on Instagram

Brittney Hanks

Leave a comment