How to Keep Your Sanity on a Road Trip With Kids

Image courtesy of Moyan Brenn at (scaled, cropped and text added)
Image courtesy of Moyan Brenn at (scaled, cropped and text added)

Are we there yet? How much longer? I’m bored! I have to go potty… AGAIN! If you have a child and you have been in the car with them you have most likely heard this and more. Let’s face it, once you have kids, road trips aren’t what they used to be.

Gone are the days of blasting eighties music, eating beef jerky and corn nuts and driving with no particular place to go. I know I just dated myself but I don’t care because “those were the best days of my life!” Ha-ha, just kidding. I just wanted to throw a little Bryan Adams in there for old times’ sake! So let’s flash forward to today. How do I make it through road trips without losing my mind? Here are a few tricks I use to keep the peace and have some fun while my family is on the road!

Movies are a great way to keep kids occupied on long trips. You can either get a portable DVD player or put some digital movies on your iPad or other tablet. If you are not a fan of “unlimited” screen time you could use a reward system- So many minutes of screen time for so many minutes (hours?) of cooperative car time. You could even make little coupons to hand out.

Reward dollars is another fun thing we have used on car trips. The idea behind these is you can earn them for positive or helpful behavior while traveling. Upon arrival they can be traded for a small prize or real dollars for a small souvenir. We have even used themed dollars such as Disney or beach dollars for specific trips.

Fun backpacks are also a great way to keep kids busy on road trips. Fun backpacks are filled with things such as paper, pencils, coloring books, word searches, mazes, books, snacks and small toys. These can be personalized to each child. I usually go the dollar store and fill one up for each child before we go and pull things out as needed.

I also recommend traveling with a small potty if your children are still young. This allows you to stop almost anywhere. It also keeps your little ones from thinking they will get to stop in every town to go potty.

My family also enjoys playing games such as I-Spy, the License Plate Game, Slug-Bug, Prius-Punch and What Is in the Clouds. My daughter likes these games so much she often wants to play when we are just driving around town. Don’t worry. We play modified versions of Slug-Bug and Prius Punch. There is no hitting involved!

What great tips do you have to help with kids and road trips?