7 Tips for a Road Trip with Kids and the Best Travel Accessories

road trip tips for toddlers

It’s the freakin’ weekend, babes, and that means we are officially on Spring Break! Anyone else on Spring Break? We are beyond ready for a break and have two fun things in store. To kick off our vacation, my parents are flying in from Chicago to spend time with the girls. There’s nothing better than a little Papa and Mimi time for our girls. Then midweek we are going to load up the girls and go camping!

Every summer we take a big camping trip to Colorado, but we’re trying to get better about taking shorter camping trips in Texas, too, before it gets too hot. So, we are taking a short road trip – about 1.5 hours – to Lake Bob Sandlin. If you’ve never been, it’s a great little state park outside of Dallas and has beautiful woods, great camping sites, fishing, and more!

When it comes to road trips, I feel like you either grow up being a “road trip” family or one that flies. Prior to kids we flew all the time, but once we had kids and acquired 15+ bags every time we travel, we’ve become a road tripping family. We take both short and long road trips (15+ hours) with the girls and over time have learned some tips and tricks to make the rides enjoyable. We’ve also started accumulating some “must-have” products for road trips to make it fun for the whole family.

road trip tips for kids:

  • pack your own food and snacks – this one is huge. Most likely, you will already be making frequent stops for bathroom breaks, so in an effort to decrease the amount of stops you’re making, pack your own food. We typically pack all snacks and then pack food for the first meal of the day. It’s a great way to cut down on fast food meals as well.
  • dehydrate your kids – JUST KIDDING! This would be awful, but you would probably make less stops…
  • watch movies – movies are key to killing time. Our cars don’t come with them, so we ordered some last year to use (see below). It’s a great way to keep your little ones occupied and to keep them from fighting. We typically let the girls pick 5-10 movies to bring in the car and let them enjoy a little extra screen time.
  • noise canceling headphones for littles – the DVD player we have has the option for headphones and we tried it out and loved it. It allows the girls to hear the video perfectly. More importantly, it makes for an uber quite car ride. Trav and I were able to chat in peace and quiet and we even enjoyed listening to our own podcast without disturbing the girls.
  • podcasts – if your kids use headphones, you’re freed up listen to your own podcasts. It really helps pass the time. And while this tip is mainly for adults, we do have one go-to podcast for our girls. NPR produces a podcast called Wow in the World and it’s informative and funny!
  • drive at night if possible – driving at night minimizes noise and stops. We very rarely drive straight through the night as we don’t want to risk driving tired with the girls. However, we’ve found that if we can go to bed early and then leave at 4AM or thereabouts, we can get a good head start on our drive without stops!
  • plastic potty – this tip is mainly for toddlers. Both of our girls are able to use a big girl potty, but we bring a plastic potty with us for emergencies. We’ve only had to use it once, but you never know when you’ll have to pull over because they can’t hold it.
  • bring reserve water – this is both a time saver and money saver. We always pack one water bottle for everyone in the family and then 3-4 back-up water bottles. We fill Yeti’s and 32 ounce water bottles to refill for free and without stopping!
  • break up the really long drive with kids – the last tip is one that has made our long drives much more tolerable. If you have more than 7 hours of driving to do, I highly recommend breaking it up. We typically try to find a place to stay 1/2 way or 2/3 of the way through the drive. It keeps us from getting too tired and makes it more fun for the girls. If possible, stop in a cool city or town that would be fun to explore!


upgraded road trip essentials

  • water with flip straw – we love this type of water bottle as it decreases the chance of spilling!
  • dvd players – this is a similar dvd player to the one we use. It’s portable, easy to set-up, and keeps the kids entertained for hours!
  • travel blanket – these travel blankets are incredible. They are ridiculously soft and fold up into a tiny little bundle so they don’t take up too much room.
  • mini cooler – a mini cooler is a great asset to store snacks, meals, and extra water.
  • go-to luggage bags – these bags (large, small) are our go-to luggage bags. They allow you to pack a ton and pack well in a car.
  • pogo bottle – this bottle is one of our favorites for traveling. It holds 32 oz of water and is super cheap to purchase!


Happy travels!