23 July, 2013

Have FUN While Road-Tripping With Little Ones

So we just got back from Utah for Steven's little sister's wedding. It was so wonderful. I love weddings, I love family, I love Cafe Rio (they are like on every corner in the state of Utah! Heavenly!), and I love traveling with my family.

What?! Traveling with two little ones? You actually enjoy it?!

Why, yes, I do. 

Whether you're driving or flying, the basic recipe for sanity-while-traveling-with-kids is the same. Going out to Utah this time, we flew. That presented some challenges of its own ;), but we have done the cross-country drive a handful of times and have come out a little braver, wiser, and more prepared for future trips. Here are some things we've learned.

Make sure you fit. It's amazing what a little legroom can do for everyone! The right family-sized vehicle is key. Looking for something that will fit your family comfortably? I love the Kia Sedona.

source & source
Vehicles like this are the road-trip ideal. The space between the middle seats is PERFECT for a snack bag so the little ones can grab their own granola bars, goldfish and juice boxes without having to constantly whine at Mommy ask Mommy nicely to get them. Also, I don't know about you, but my kids love to poke one another when the situation presents itself - with this much space, they can't reach each other which makes happy parents and happy kids.
Nothing is worse than traveling in a cramped vehicle, which is why the Kia Sedona is on our radar for our growing family. We want something that is perfect for a long trip or a quick carpool. I think we've found our match ;) 

Pack intelligently. Bury the things you don't need as far away from everyone as possible and make sure that anything you might need while traveling is accessible. Some things you might need: a change of clothes for each child and yourself in case of any crazy spills, extra blankets for nap time, DVDs and extra toys in case the kids get bored with what is right next to them and need some fresh entertainment.

How NOT to pack. This was about four years ago when we were moving south from Idaho. Oh boy.

Again, the right vehicle is so important for this tip, too. The back seats in the Sedona fold over, making an ideal situation for great packing. You won't need to put so much as a back pack at your feet (which we all know is so uncomfortable!), with all of the space back there! 

Stop at Fun Places. We learned this the hard way. We'd often pass up the beautiful parks or interesting museums along our route because everyone seemed happy at the time, and then end up taking our rests or filling up the tank at boring, dusty, old forgotten truck-stops. We decided that even if the kids were perfectly content, we'd always stop at the fun, beautiful places when they came up rather than waiting. This is so important because little legs can get so achy from sitting for a long time. Our kids are a billion times happier on road trips when we let them get out and run around for a bit. 

And finally,

Party! We try to always have a few kids CDs on hand for the day-light hours. We also buy some treats that we don't normally have around the house to make the trip seem like an event rather than simply travel. The kids LOVE fruit snacks. We rarely have them around the house, so after we've gotten going, I love to pull some packets out of my bag and both kids shout with glee. And I feel like a hero ;) It's amazing how cranking up the Disney tunes and handing out treats can make everyone feel like royalty.

Some of my best family memories are on the road. Daddy and I singing along to some silly song while the Gage colors like a mad man and munches on treats and KJ rocks her dollies to sleep while trying to keep her own drooping eyes open, all while watching beautiful scenery and meeting new people along the way? Just perfect, guys! 

Traveling is part of who we are as a family. We loved it before we have kids and we love it even more now. It's all about finding what works for you. 

Do you like to travel? What kinds of tricks do you have up your sleeve to keep your kids happy on long road-trips?

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.


  1. We've traveled in extremely cramped situations before ... cramped before we left, but as we collect stuff along the way, even more cramped. I'm old enough that I traveled as a young child without seat belts. We had a station wagon and 3 of us had to sit in "the very ylast back" facing backwards. It's was really novel and exciting at the beginning of the trip - but for those of us who get car sick, the excitement wore off fast! But still, some of my favorite memories are of road trips - that's where I learned all of my Mom's and Dad's travel songs: K-k-k-katie; Mr. Johnny McBeck, Sweet Violets, and of course, all the patriotic songs. Thanks for bringing back good memories. Oh! And great ideas - wish I'd have had these ideas when my kids were young :)

  2. I seriously don't know how we traveled without our beloved technology.... like in the olden days when I was a kid. ;) It might explain why we never made more than one trip a year to a place more than 4 hours away. Somehow my parents never managed to kill us, though I'm sure they felt like it a time or two.

    We come prepared with snacks, a MUST have, movies, books, and favorite toys. With Q who is soon to be 6 we started playing the alphabet game and the B is old enough to play the slug bug game, which he's SUPER good at. The boys also like to play eye spy. Mostly, I've found that we travel better at night, though it makes for long trips for us... but the boys sleep most of the way. I think all your tips are right on... those are usually our go-tos as well. And the stopping part.... a def must! Glad you guys had a good time.

    1. Amen to that. The iPad has saved us so many times.

  3. Usually before we go on a long trip I'll hit up the $1 section of target and pick up one or two things each for the boys. When the trip becomes too long and we don't know when we'll find a good spot to stop I hand them a brand new toy and they get all excited and forget that they were starting to have a hard time. It never fails.


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