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Family Road Trip Tips

balancing motherhood road trip spring break summer vacation Jun 20, 2023
road trip with kids

The past few years, a lot of our vacations have involved road trips. We’re fortunate to live in a location where we can see some pretty incredible places by simply hopping in our car and driving for a few (or more than a few hours).

I’ve always been a fan of a good road trip. The music, the scenery, the snacks. Although, nowadays, road trips look a lot different. With four kids in tow, it’s not always the most peaceful experience, but it’s still pretty convenient if you ask me.

Why do I think road trips make more sense when you have kids (especially little ones)?

Have you ever traveled with young kids on an airplane? There’s a lot of stuff to carry on, pack, and gate check. You need a stroller, a car seat (maybe more than one), lots of snacks, electronics, all the fine-motor skills/quiet toys you can fit in a mini backpack. And yet, you still stress about your kid kicking the chair of the person in front you (they do) or crying the majority of the flight (they also do).

Of course, we take our enormous family on flights when needed. I’m not about to drive cross country to visit family. But, with so many vacation destinations that include the option to drive or fly, I choose driving any day.


1. Because we get to see so many cool places we probably never would if we flew from point A to point B.

2. We don’t need to worry about luggage getting lost or car rentals falling short or multiple car seats to bring to or secure at our destination.


3. We probably don’t spend that much more time getting from home to our destination when you consider things like parking at the airport, waiting for the flight, boarding, waiting for luggage, getting a car or taking public transportation, etc.

So, for many reasons, road trips-FTW when you're a mom!

Now, I know not all moms feel this way. In fact, the other day at our preschool pick up when a mom asked me what our summer plans were, and I answered with our road trip agenda, another mom chimed in that she no longer entertained the idea of a road trip once her second son was born.

I get it, road trips can feel like a lot of pressure, stress and chaos in very close quarters for a very long time. But they can also be magical.

Having just returned from a pretty lengthy road trip of driving over 1000 miles, here are some of my favorite tips to help create memorable experiences that don’t include Road Trip PTSD:

  • Be prepared! Pack well and give independence. Each kid should have their own backpack and snack bag in the car so you’re not having to reach back to hand them things throughout the trip. Not only is this super unenjoyable for the mom in the front seat, it’s super dangerous if you’re driving!
  • Download a movie (or four)! Don’t drain your data or fall victim to a bad cell signal. A little extra screen time is A-ok when you need it, especially if you’re tired or cranky with nowhere to go but a few feet away from whatever is happening in the backseat.
  • Schedule around naps! If you know your little will sleep in the car, ensure a stretch of your trip will be centered around their nap time. Enjoy the quiet peacefulness during that time.
  • Plan to stop! While a lot of us would love to drive for hours on end and just get to our destination already, you’ll need to stop (perhaps more often than you’d like) when you’re traveling with kids. Research along the way and try finding a non-traditional spot to stop like a playground with bathrooms or open, grassy space so your kids can run around and stretch their legs. Set a timer so they know when it’s time to get back to road-trip business.
  • Pack a potty! It’s always a good idea to travel with one of these, but on a road trip, it’s a staple. You’ll want this for emergencies or if you can’t find a bathroom that’s clean enough to your liking. This has saved us on countless occasions.
  • Talk to your kids! Use your time together as an opportunity to connect. At home, I always find there are chores to do or distractions around that get in the way of me having uninterrupted time with my littles. The car is a great place to make those meaningful conversations happen, to listen attentively, and to enjoy each other’s company. We played games, talked about school, and planned activities together for our vacation.
  • Listen to podcasts! We love this one and must have listened to four or five episodes on this last trip before we needed a break. It was also a great conversation starter for us to chat more about the topics we had heard.
  • Expect issues! Plan away, but also expect the plan to not go as planned. For example, we thought our kids would fall asleep, and only half did. We thought they’d be hungry at the same time, and they weren’t. Go with the flow and know that no matter you did to predict the unexpected, the surprise issues will still likely arise.

So tell me, are you a road trip fan with your family? What are some of your favorite destinations? Shoot me a DM on IG and let me know!

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