I love to travel and I love adventure, but sometimes the thought of long road trips with kids can make me panic. Mostly because my kids can barely handle a 30-minute car ride to Tyler!
We are planning for a 15-hour road trip through 7 states with our 7, 4, and 2-year-old and I am working hard to prep ahead of time so we make the most of our time in the car.
I want this trip to be fun and memorable while keeping in mind that it could at points be challenging for everyone, so I thought it would be helpful to share some things we are planning.
Thank you, Lord, for ALL the internet tips! Most of these ideas are not my own, but the worldwide web-delivered with endless ideas!
Start the trip by praying
Pray out loud with your family as you leave the driveway. Whether you are headed on a road trip or to the airport, praying as a family will help set your eyes on the Lord and prepare your hearts for what the next few days will look like. GRACE UPON GRACE. Am I right?
This website helps you plan all the fun stops along the way. You have to create an account, but we will use this to map out various stops. Our 7-year-old loves maps so we also might get an old school atlas for him to follow along as we go.
Snacks and More Snacks
We plan to have a stash of snacks in the back of the car and when we stop, the kids “shop” the snacks that will tie them over until we stop again. I love this idea because it gives the kids ownership over their choices and something to look forward to. I will also have a secret stash of suckers, gum, and fruit snacks upfront with me for the “I’m losing my cool, running out of ideas, the toddler is screaming” moments.
We will be scoping out our library selections of CDs as well as the Libby app. I am excited to all listen to a book together and this will be a nice break from screens. We are going to try Charlotte’s Web and the Radio Theater version of Narnia. Also, podcasts would be another option and there are lots of options available that kids AND adults can enjoy together. I haven’t personally listened to this yet, but many recommended the ‘Along for the Ride’ podcast and it looks promising!
This one seems obvious, but we will be loading the iPad with movies. Most things I read and people I’ve talked to say all screen time rules go out the window when traveling! I’m here for that
Hotel With a Pool
So many people recommend staying in a hotel with a pool. I think this will be a great way to end the day, plus nothing wears the kids out more than swimming.
Kid Spending Money
Give each kid a few dollars every day to purchase souvenirs or treats at a rest stop. I know this simple thing will get my kids so excited for our stops!
Backpack of Awesome
We plan to pack a backpack for each child with essentials for each of them. If I am super mom and super on top of it, I will wrap little gifts for them that are sure to occupy them.
Some ideas include: Color Wonder, Wiki sticks, car bingo game, license plate game, small dry erase board, color books, water wow, calculator, stickers, pipe cleaners, pop it toy, etc.
Point Out The Lord’s Creation
We are excited also to see the Lord’s creation in a different part of the country. I think it’s so good to talk through and point out how creative the Lord is with his creation!
Pre-Packed Small Suitcase
This may not apply to everyone, but our trip will be broken up over 2 days so we will be stopping at a hotel (remember, the one with a pool!). I will pre-pack a separate suitcase with what our family needs for one night so we don’t have to lug everything in.
You better believe we will be playing old school games like “I spy with my little eye”, the license plate game, and “Would you rather…?”
Well, that list became rather lengthy, but with a little prep work ahead of time I am confident my family will make incredible memories and enjoy traveling together.
For my husband and I both, it will be important that we set realistic expectations for the trip and are ready to love and serve our kids and not ourselves. Will that require work? Absolutely.
Will it be pretty every step of the trip? No way. We have an opportunity here though to rely on the Lord, pray when we are losing patience, live out the fruit of the Spirit, and see the Lord provide as we create memories together. Happy traveling!!!
Looking for a community or someone to grab coffee with who is in a similar life season? We’d love to connect with you and get to know you better! Below you will find a few people that can’t wait to meet you, shoot us an email so we can make a plan!
Tyler OJ Campus
Teresa Ator: firstname.lastname@example.org
Bethanie Tayler: email@example.com
Tyler UB Campus
Max Heller: firstname.lastname@example.org
Chrisleigh Heller: email@example.com
Molly Pontius: firstname.lastname@example.org
Debra Kirby: email@example.com