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Family Road Trip Without Tears

2011 July 13

Road Trip Survival Tips

Going on a road trip with young kids can be a wonderful adventure, or a disaster that makes you want to pull your hair out. “Are we there yet”, “I’m hungry”, “Ricky’s poking me”, “I’m bored”.

With a few tricks up your sleeve you can make the family road trip a fun, entertaining, educational, and memorable experience. I personally have many fond memories of going on road trips with my family as a kid. My mom and dad used all these tricks to keep us happy as we traveled in the car.

Get Prepared

With a little preparation, and a good attitude, you will love your time on the road with the kids. Pick out a container to put your “happy supplies” in (AKA stuff to keep the kiddos occupied). A backpack is a great choice. It’s easy to get into, has lots of pockets, and can be shoved into that little open space in the car, and you can easily carry it into the hotel, or campsite when you arrive to your destination. A backpack for each child is a bonus. Also, keeping the contents of your “happy supplies” container a secret until you pull each boredom buster out is a big bonus. Keep the kids guessing, making it more fun.


Board Games
Small travel games using magnets to keep the pieces in place; like bingo, tic-tac-toe, and checkers.


A plain deck of cards can be used for all kinds of different games. Some classic favorites are Go Fish, Crazy Eights, and the Memory Game. Make up your own card games. Think of a goofy name for your new game making it even more fun.

Pick up some inexpensive trivia, old maid, or flash cards to keep the kids busy and thinking.

Timeless Car Games

Play the “License Plate Game”. See how many different license plates you can find on your trip. Download and print a state check-off list here.

“I Spy Game” is another fun car game. One person gives clues about something they see as you’re driving; the others guess what it is.

Color and Draw

Get printable coloring page hereAdd an inexpensive clipboard for each child to your “happy supplies” container. This gives the kids a hard surface to use as they color and draw. The clip will hold loose papers together so they don’t fall on the floor. Add crayons, pencils, paper, notebook, stickers, and any other art supplies suitable for your child’s age. Download free road trip coloring page.

Sing a Song

Buy or make a CD of fun songs made just for kids. They can be silly, educational, or a combination of the two. See what Billy Gorilly has to offer at CDbaby.

Try a Kids podcast that can be put on your iPods. Billy Gorilly’s Podcast for Kids is a great option for young children. Check out Billy Gorilly’s free Podcast on iTunes or listen and get free printables to go along with the podcast on Billy Gorilly’s website

Try making up your own silly songs. One-person starts the song and the others keep adding to it. Don’t worry if it sounds terrible and out of tune. The point is to have some fun laughing and bonding with the kids.


Pack a few age appropriate books for each child. Perfect to pull out of the bag when you need a bit of quiet time.

Tell A Story

Are you good at making up stories? Make up some fun stories of your own. Try adding one word at a time. Each person adds a word to the last word said. See how far you can go before you forget the first words. The kids will get a kick out of this.

Listen to some audio stories. Try Aesop’s Fables For Today’s Kids.  A collection of short stories underscored with lively music. Winner of  2011 CD of the Year Award. Each story has a valuable message and is short and sweet. Parents, you will enjoy this one too.

If the kids are old enough have them write their own story. You can find inexpensive notebooks at the dollar store or staple some blank paper together to make your own personal notebook
Get your free “My Family Road Trip” stationery here.


Having a small ice chest stocked with healthy snacks and drinks is definitely a bonus.

Cut up veggies, low-fat cheese, and fruit. Put small portions in individual Baggies so you can hand each child their very own treat. This will usually ward off the fighting. Add small bottles of water or 100% juice to satisfy thirst. Water is the best choice for the car. If they spill the whole thing you don’t have to worry about all that sticky stuff on your car interior. And, it’s healthy too!

Of course you will probably want some sweet treats. Package individual servings in small bags and tie with a ribbon for a very special treat. This also helps with portion control. If you bring out that jumbo bag of cookies or chips you tend to eat LOTS more.

First Aid and More
When you are traveling little mishaps can happen. Be prepared with a first aid kit. You never know when someone is going to cut a finger, skin a knee, or get a bug bite. Tissues for a runny nose and wet wipes are a must too. You might want to consider throwing in some paper or cloth dish towels as well. Spills and sticky fingers are bound to happen.

So there you have it, with a little planning, and prep, you can make your family road trip a wonderful, educational bonding experience you and the kids will remember for a lifetime.

Happy Travels,

and the Billy Gorilly Crew

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