Ultimate Family Travel Tips

We’re coming up on prime vacation and road trip time! My family and I make a couple of big trips every year to visit family or see some sights. Since we have a big family, we usually drive everywhere, even if it’s across the country! Needless to say, we’ve become quite experienced with family road trips. I want to share with you some family travel tips I’ve learned or wish I’d learned sooner.

How do I Prepare for Family Travel?

Family Travel Tips

If you are wondering what are the best travel tips, there are many things you can do to make your family road trip go more smoothly. Here I have given you my best family travel tips to get you started. Many of these tips are ones that I personally use when we travel as a family. Using these family travel tips will get your road trip off to a great start!

1. Make reservations ahead of time

If you’re driving for more than a day, you will want to decide where you’ll spend the night. Also, you may need destination reservations as well, unless you’re staying with family or friends.

2. Book a suite if possible

Trust me, trying to get a bunch of kids to sleep in one room is miserable! Mine are always so excited to stay in a hotel and don’t want to sleep. There have been times we’ve hidden in the bathroom until the kids settled down, but then we discovered suites! You can have your own separate space from the kids for not that much more money. This helps tremendously!

3. Choose destinations wisely

When planning a trip, make sure that your kids are up for what you’re planning on doing. Do you need to have a stroller with you? Make sure that a stroller works for where you’re sightseeing. It’s tough when you can barely push the stroller through the loose stone path. Also, keep in mind that things will take more time when traveling with kids than when it was just you and your spouse.

4. Make sure your vehicle is ready to go

Have the tires checked out and an oil change if needed. You don’t want to deal with that on your trip, and you certainly don’t want car trouble!

5. Have food options planned out

Whether you bring your own food and snacks, plan for a hotel continental breakfast, or a drive-thru, know how you’re going to feed your family. As moms, we know that kids get incredibly fussy and temperamental when they’re hungry . . . or tired. Make sure you have at least some snacks available at all times.

6. Pack in a ziplock

For your kids, pack each day’s clothing in a separate ziplock bag. Each day they just need to grab a bag out of the suitcase. Their dirty clothes can go in the empty bag, or just bring a large family dirty laundry bag.

7. Pack as lightly as possible

Try not to bring everything you might need, but instead focus on the necessities such as toiletries, 5-7 days’ worth of clothing per person, any needed baby items, and medications you need. You will also need travel activities for your kids and for you and your husband even. That said, do bring some things you might need such as allergy or headache relief options as well as more diapers and wipes than you think you’ll need . . . unless you’re somewhere you can easily buy more.

8. Pack a separate overnight bag

If you are on a long road trip and spending a night or two in a hotel en route, make sure you pack a suitcase or bag with everyone’s pajamas, change of clothes, and toiletries. It’s so much easier to bring in a couple of small bags versus bringing in all your luggage because everyone’s things are in different bags. Trust me, this is huge!

9. Keep overnight items accessible

If you’re traveling through the night, make sure your toothbrushes, blankets, pull-ups, etc are accessible. You don’t want to be digging through all your stuff trying to find something your child needs.

10. Allow a comfort toy

Allow your younger children to bring a stuffed animal or doll. This will be an object of comfort to them, especially if it’s something they sleep with every night. This brings a little piece of home with them and helps them to feel better about sleeping in a strange environment.

11. Make a list

Make a list of everything you need to bring. Check it off as it’s packed. Now, here’s the key, keep it with you to make sure you have all your things before your trip home. This has saved me a few times!

Pictures of families on a road trip. Pinnable image for Family Travel Tips

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Traveling with Kids

The thought of taking a long road trip with kids may seem overwhelming to you, but I have confidence that it is not only possible, but your trip can go smoothly as well. So, how do you survive a road trip with kids? What kinds of things should you do in preparation?

The key is to be prepared as much as possible. Obviously unforeseen things happen at times, but overall, preparation can go a long way toward helping your trip go as effortlessly as possible. I have some great tips, travel activities for kids, and even some travel hacks to help you out.

Travel activities for kids

How do you make a road trip fun for kids? The answer is plenty of fun activities and snacks, although it’s still often tough on a baby since there’s only so much they can do. For toddlers and older though, there are many fun ideas for a long road trip. My children each have a bag or backpack to keep their activities in, although some things can definitely be shared. Check out the list below for ideas.

1. New toys or activities

Whether it’s a bag of cheap toys to hand out occasionally or a new book or coloring book for the trip, new things bring great excitement to your child. I love to give each child a new activity or two for a big trip. Babies can play with their usual rattly and chew toys.

2. Electronics

You may not be a fan of electronics, but they can be very nice when you’re traveling for hours. Whether it be a movie player, tablet, or hand-held video game, these can be so helpful for entertaining children while they’re strapped in a seat for hours at a time.

3. Books

Depending on the age of your child, these could be board books, crinkly books, coloring books, or a new chapter book to read.

4. Travel games

Definitely check out these road trip games for your kids. Children love travel games, especially if they’re new!

5. Small figurines

These could be little doll figurines, dinosaurs, or even toy cars, which are fun for kids to play with while driving or in hotel rooms.

7. Arts and crafts

Activities such as magnadoodles, scratch art pads, origami kits, color-by-numbers, and sticker books would fall into this category. Also, wikkistix, pipe cleaners, balloons, and aluminum foil can provide entertainment and don’t take up much space.

8. Audiobooks or dramas

These are great for kids to listen to while coloring or other quiet activities. We love Adventures in Odyssey, Jonathan Park, Patch the Pirate, and The Brinkman Adventures.

9. Conversation starters

Conversation starters are great when traveling with kids. Get some great conversations going as you drive!

What does the Bible say about the role of a mother? To learn more about being a godly mother, check out these 10 characteristics of a good mother according to the Bible.

Travel hacks for kids

Here are some great travel hacks for when traveling with kids. I have personally used many of these. If you have more ideas, please leave them in the comments. Traveling long distances is tough, so we need all the help we can get!

  • Travel Tray. Travel trays can be helpful for activities, coloring, and eating. There are some that have some built-in supply and cup holders, but you can also use a cheap cookie sheet. Just note that a cookie sheet will fall off their lap more easily.
  • Travel potty seat. Even if you don’t have a potty-training child, these can be helpful for emergency situations when you can’t stop. Trust me!
  • Use press n’ seal to turn any cup into a travel cup. Just cover the top and then push a straw through it. Ta-da!
  • Caddy with suction cups. This can be stuck to the window for storage of crayons, snacks, or other small items that often get dropped and lost.
  • Portable Lego kit. Use a plastic crayon box and put a lego base and some legos in it. They can play with them right in the container and then close it when finished.
  • Tether. Make or buy a tether to keep sippy cups and favorite toys from falling onto the floor.
  • Handi-wipes to clean faces and sticky fingers.

Dollar Store road trip hacks

Many dollar stores have great items that are useful when traveling. We especially love having the kids pick out a few toys or activities for their activity bags, but I really love some of these other hacks. I will definitely be using a few of these this summer!

  • Food trays. Get a shallow plastic bin to put each child’s food in for mealtime. A shower caddy would work as well.
  • Shower caps. Put them around dirty shoes or use to cover food if eating outside!
  • Mesh bags. These can be used for holding your child’s blanket and stuffed animal, a bag for wet clothes, collecting dirty clothes, etc. Have a few stashed for use as needed.
  • Foldable storage bins. These are great for organizing things and putting them underneath seats.
  • Microfiber cloths. Great for wiping things down or cleaning spills.
  • Cereal storage container with a lid to use as a trash container. Just put in a plastic bag and then put on the lid.
  • Toys for your secret goody bag or their activity bags. Dollar Store has so many little toys, coloring books, puzzles, and stickers.
  • Over the door shoe organizer. This can be tied to the back of a seat and used to organize trip necessities such as wipes, tissues, first aid kit, plastic bags, etc.
  • Collapsible hamper. This can be handy to store different items, collect dirty clothes, or even used as a trash container.

As you can see, there are so many great family travel tips available. When you are traveling with kids, you need to be prepared. I know I haven’t covered them all, but if you have a favorite, please let me know so I can add it. Road trips with kids can be very challenging, but with some preparation, things will go much more smoothly. Happy traveling!!

You may find these helpful as well:

62 Fun Things To Do in the Summer at Home

45 Brilliant Mom Hacks to Make Life Easier

The Importance of Family Traditions


  • Aimee Niblack

    As a mom for 18 years and a mom coach for 2 years, Aimee shares her expertise with young Christian moms via her blog and coaching business.

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About Author

As a mom for 18 years and a mom coach for 2 years, Aimee shares her expertise with young Christian moms via her blog and coaching business.

(1) Comment

  1. Great blog! Traveling with the family is indeed fun and chaotic at the same time. Thank you for sharing these tips.

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