5 Tips for Road Trips With Kids: Keep Your Mind and Your Budget

Oh how you learn as you exsperiance new things.  When you make the decision to go on a road trip to your vacation destination, visiting the in-laws, or a cross country move you start to feel stressed.  If your like the rest of us you are doing this on a budget.  Add kids to the mix and you wonder how to make it work.  Here’s some tips for making your budget stick and keeping the kids calm.

1. Pack food and drinks.  When traveling with kids this is a big one. Keep them cold while taking up less space by purchesing a dollar freezer grocery bag at the supper market.  Freeze the drinks over night.  Even Horizon single serve milk boxes can be frozen.  The frozen drinks will be the ice for your trip.  Add your cold smacks into this bag.  We pack one bag for every 12 projected hours driving for 4 people.  Fill another reusable grocery bag with foods that do not need refrigeration.  As the bags become empty fold them up and store them out of the way. 

2.  Keep things clean.  A clean car means less hassle for parents and kids while on the road. Have a bag or small box within reach with plastic grocery bags, hand sanitiser, baby wipes, disinfectant wipes, tissues, and meds that need to be taken during the trip.  If you have young children the diaper bag is a good spot for this and other odds and ends you may need.  Clean out the vehicle at each and every stop.

3.  Active play at rest stops.  When traveling with kids give them time to run. Every few hours get everyone out of the car.  Throw around a ball or frisbie (beach balls can be blown up and unaired quickly to take up little space), chalk, jumpropes, and classic games like red light green light and Simon says work well. 

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4.  Activities while driving.  The road can be boring to kids dealing with long travels. Trap the cookie sheets from under the cabnent one for each child.  These make great lap desks that cost you nothing.   Fill gallon and quart size bags with different activities from arround your home.  Paper and Crayons, different size lids, fridge magnents, pipe cleaners, homemade playdough, ext.  These activities should be stored in an easy to reach place and switched as needed.  More of these that can be tossed at the end of each use at the next stop the better.  The rest can be stored back in the origanal bag for the return trip.  If driving through the night time glow sticks make for great entertainment untill they fall asleep. 

5.  Be prepared.  Being ready for the worst makes things a little easier on the road with or without kids. Nothing sucks more then something going wrong and not being ready for it.  Call your insurgence agency and add road side assistance to your policy.  Have numbers and warenty info on hand.   If you still have a warenty on your tires, battery, or other parts many larger chains have locations around the country you never know when it will come in handy.  Pack a first aid kit and sun screen, and alergy medicine.  In the winter pack extra blankets.

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One thought on “5 Tips for Road Trips With Kids: Keep Your Mind and Your Budget

  1. cheri

    Thanks for all the great tips! We do a lot of our traveling by car to make it easier for the kids to get out and stretch a little every couple of hours. The kids also have their DS games that they play all the time, and I let them use my iPad. With the iPad, the kids can play games, read, and watch TV live anywhere we can get a 3G or Wi-Fi connection. A co-worker at DISH told me about this option, and with the DISH Remote Access app, the kids can access all our subscription channels. It is such a lifesaver when you are traveling for hours.

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