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10 Summer Travel Survival Tips

Amber Brandt  |  September 20, 2021

Are you planning a summer road trip with the family? As we all know, vacations can really bring families together for quality time, but they can also be super stressful if we have unrealistic expectations or fail to prepare. While it may be tempting to simply load up the iPad with new apps and access to streaming movies, there are lots of other things you can incorporate to make your trip go a little more smoothly for the kiddos.

  1. Remember everything will take longer than you plan. Our first tip is really about managing your expectations before you even back out of the driveway. We know you have to keep a schedule, but do your best to build in plenty of time and expect that you’ll have to go slow. Traveling with kids is demanding — and takes 10 times longer than when you’re alone. If you can accept that there will be bumps along the way, you’ll be more likely to keep your wits about you when they inevitably pop up.
  2. Explain the trip ahead of time. Everyone does better when they know what to expect. Whether you give your older children the full lay of the land, or you give the little kids a brief overview of the whole trip and update them in more detail along the way, when your children know what to expect and look forward to, it’ll make the travel time a little easier — and it may be easier to incentivize them to eat their meals, etc.
  3. Pack plenty of snacks. Hanger brings out the worst in adults and kiddos alike. Be sure to pack plenty of nibbles that can be munched along the way. Think low sugar, high protein, and savory. Sugar buzzes and subsequent crashes are not ideal for travel, or introducing kids to a new environment. There will be plenty of opportunities for ice cream and sugary goodies when you’ve reached your destination — and walking to get some could make for a fun family outing.
  4. Pack new toys and books — or plan to buy small souvenirs along the way. Be sure you pack your child’s staple blankets or favorite stuffed animals, but keep room to add new novelty toys, books, and games along the way to keep things fresh.
  5. Give kids a camera. If your older children don’t have cell phones, think about giving them a camera to use. You’ll all love to witness the trip through their eyes, and they’ll feel proud to document as they go.
  6. Travel journals for older kids, art supplies for littles. If you have hotel stops along the way, these items can be fun during down time — and are a great way to wind down before bed.
  7. Get in the backseat. Sometimes kids just need a change of view. If you’re getting close to the end of your travel day and they’ve had it, why not jump in the back and interact with your kids face-to-face to change things up?
  8. Listen to books together. Depending on the age of your child — you’re likely to find age-appropriate books at the library your whole family will enjoy. Block out time on the trip to listen together.
  9. Plan little and big breaks — you need both along the way!
  10. Load up the tablet with a bunch of apps, games, and movies. We didn’t say you shouldn’t do this — that would be crazy talk — just don’t do only this.