Taking a long road trip with your young children can be a daunting adventure, but a little advance prep can help it go smoothly. Are you heading out on the open roads this summer with your kids? These 5 easy tips will help make the long stretches of driving more enjoyable!
We’re renovating an old camper this Spring, and I’m already planning our first couple of camping trips. The first one will take us about 3 hours from home, and the second one will include over 20 hours of driving in our vehicle. With three kids, two adults, and two dogs, driving for that long can sound a little intimidating!
The last couple of years, we’ve had the pleasure of taking a few long road trips through Alberta and BC. To be honest, I wasn’t looking forward to the first one with our 3 young kids. As a natural pessimist, I thought the girls would be fighting and screaming for 10 hours straight in the car, and I’d be huddled in the fetal position wishing we were home.
To my surprise, my girls did incredibly well in the car. Before we left on our first major trip, I asked all of my well traveled friends and family to give us as many tips as they could about road tripping with young kids. I took all of their advice to heart, did quite a bit of planning and prep work, and I truly think these tips helped us survive and REALLY enjoy our long road trips over the past few years.
As we complete renovating our little travel trailer, I’m definitely going to use all of these tips again as we head out on new adventures this summer.
With the help of Esurance, let me share with you my 5 favourite tips to keeping your family comfy and happy on long road trips this summer.
1: Pack Snacks
I imagine this is a no-brainer for all my fellow mamas out there, but a variety of snacks will really help keep you kids happy during a long road trip. If you don’t like eating in the car, you can stop at a picnic spot along the side of the road to enjoy your food. Our favourite road trip snacks include fresh fruit, sliced veggies, yogurt in tubes, juice boxes (in a small cooler) and dried fruit, nuts, beef jerky, cheese buns, homemade muffins and pretzels (in a separate container). Make sure everyone has a water bottle on hand and keep some wet wipes in the vehicle for sticky hands. Keeping some healthy snacks on hand will also cut down trips to fast food joints which all of your bodies will thank you for!
2: Plan Breaks
My hubby’s the type of guy that likes to drive for 10 hours straight before he takes a break, but he’s learned that the kids and I need a break every hour or two to stretch our legs and get some fresh air. Taking a break every now and then to get out of your car, stretch, run around or have a picnic will help keep the little ones less wiggly and you’ll enjoy exploring new scenery, too! I like to plan out a few breaks along the trip in advance, but it’s also fun to be spontaneous and pull over when you see a fun spot to explore.
3: Bring Activities
Consider packing a small backpack for each child with their favourite activities that are appropriate for the road. We like to pack books, DVDs, colouring books, crayons, small dolls, and small games in our kids’ play packs. You can find some great, free printables online for fun games like road trip bingo, or DIY your own road trip bingo like this. You could also make a DIY felt tic-tac-toe game like we did here, or print off this free mini road map printable and pack along a couple of play cars.
4: Plan a Playlist
Before your trip, download a perfect playlist of songs that you can play in your vehicle. You could have your kids help you create a list of their favourite songs so that you have the perfect compilation of tunes. Whenever we drive through the mountains, the radio and cell service will cut out for an hour at a time, so we’re always happy when we’ve put together a downloaded collection of songs or audio books to listen to.
5: Bring an Emergency Kit
We never want to face an accident on the road with our families, but it’s always a good idea to make sure your vehicle is well stocked with emergency basics to help keep you and your family safe. The government of Canada recommends having these items in your emergency car kit: food that won’t spoil, water, blanket, extra clothes & shoes, a first aid kit, shovel, a candle, a flashlight, a whistle, road maps, a copy of your emergency plan, jumper cables, a fire extinguisher, and road flares. Having a kit like this and making sure that you know where your car insurance, licence and registration are in your vehicle will help give you peace of mind.
If you’re looking for car insurance, you can get your free auto insurance quote today by visiting Esurance. I love that you can manage your policy online (it’s almost impossible to spend any time on the phone with little ones running around, right mamas?!) and that you can earn discounts to help keep your rates low.
What are YOUR road trip survival tips? I’d love to hear them!
Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Esurance. As always, all of the opinions here are my own.