Road trip hacks when you have kids

Family road trips are an American rite of passage it seems, but the good ole ‘are we there yet’ doesn’t HAVE to be part of the ambiance. Before you hit the road, we’ve put together some road trip tips to help make your trip easier on both you and the kids in a way that makes everyone (including you) happy.

Let’s jump right in.

Don’t be afraid to drive at night

If your kids are younger, you might want to consider driving at night. It’s never easy to keep young ones occupied for extended periods of time and traveling at night means they’re fast asleep – conked out in the back. There’s also less traffic – so if you’re traveling through highly trafficked areas like the beltway or in around the northeast- you won’t have to contend with all the traffic.

Word to the wary though – if you’re someone who tires easily, this could potentially be dangerous. Regardless of the time of day – if you’re really tired, don’t drive!

Bright and early

If the nighttime isn’t for you, maybe bright and early is. Some parents swear by early morning wake-up calls for mastering the road trip. You’ll be able to get a jump on traffic and if you can get to a destination quicker, it’ll give you more time to enjoy yourself and less time on the road.

Take care of the driver

While kids are important – keeping the driver safe is essential. Like we said earlier, make sure the driver is both well rested and not distracted frequently. It’s not a bad idea – if you have kids – to even have an adult in the back seat for a little while – which makes playing games or chatting with the kids easier. Whatever you do – make sure that the driver’s happiness is front and center. Like they say – happy parents almost always makes for happy kids!

Don’t overload on electronics

While movies and apps are convenient – road tips are the perfect opportunity to help you kids come up with other ways of entertaining themselves. Contrary to popular opinion – it’s OK to let your kids get a little bored. Giving them the space to come up with their own ideas, rather than constantly feeding them something to occupy themselves with helps them not only grow – but get more out of the vacation as well. And even better – develops a more resourceful child – meaning more reprieves at home and on future trips.

Map out your breaks

Don’t leave rest stops to chance. Do a little research in advance on what rest opportunities are out there – and if you can find things that add to your vacation – take advantage of them. Maybe instead of stopping at a rest area, you stop at a roadside attraction, a cool museum, a charming town or perhaps even historic sites.

The important thing is that kids burn off energy and the more active they are outside the card, the more manageable they’ll be inside it. If nothing else, stopping for an activity for a little while can make the trip go that much smoother and break things up.


Road trips are fun and provide wonderful opportunities for both learning and spontaneity. Hopefully these tips will help you spend a little less time managing your kids and more time enjoying your time with them.

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