Backseat Traveling with Kids
The notion of traveling with kids is its own adventure long before you ever reach your destination. Between the need for snacks, bathroom breaks, and the classic, I’m bored, it takes a little thought to ensure the kids are ok to make the long trip. As much as flying is hands down the easiest way to get from point A to point B, it’s not always feasible, so often, we take to the open road. I believe in the airplane, but there is freedom in driving. The backseat is my kiddos domain. She is free to spread out and settle in for what’s ahead. These tips are for all moms (and dads) trying hard to figure out how we do it well?
- Limit the tech
Let me explain this one. I’m all about – kid learn to enjoy the journey and view around you. Yes, cars get boring. Yes, long car trips, you need some fillers. HOWEVER, batteries die, car chargers give out, wifi is gone, and data is splotchy, leading to utter meltdowns. So I say, save it. There are many other fun things on this list to do in the car without touching the tablet. Use it as a last resort, we’ve had hours of different things, and THEN, we broke out the trusty iPad. So get rid of it? No. Just take it down a notch.
- The Big 3 – Pillow, Blanket, Lap Desk
These are a must. Naps will happen. There’s nothing worse than a sore crabby kid the moment you arrive. Plus, if the air is on in the car or its cooler outside, they will want a blanket. We have ones specifically for car trips; you might even want to pack one for yourself in the passenger seat.
- Bring a Book
Reading is massive in my house. Feed your mind through someone else’s lens. I know here age-appropriate is critical, but here are some ideas. Younger kids read to them from the front seat with silly voices that everyone in the car can participate in. You can even make up a story, including what you see around you, everyone can join in! Older kids, bring a small variety of favorites and new books that you KNOW they will love. This is the time for the book based on the Tv show they like so much. Picture books are fun too!
- Color your Heart Out
We have accumulated a bunch of coloring books over the years. Many of these never get touched until we are in the car. Then its easy clipboard coloring fun. We even have a little roll of crayons that make for an easy way to take crayons along with you without losing them.
- Small Toys
Let their little imaginations run wild. I even challenge mine to play with them based on the landscape outside the window. Are they in the forest? The city?
- Vitamin C Suckers
There is nothing worse than a sick kid on vacation. So we up those vitamins before, during, and after to keep healthy. The easiest way is by giving a lovely vitamin C sucker to enjoy in the backseat before arrival. Instant boost!
- Play a Game
Being the Disney fans that we are, we play guess that song to Disney playlists on Spotify, probably every car trip. The premise is simple, play the playlist, and the first person to correctly guess the movie the song is from gets the point. First-person to get to 10 wins! There are some others too. The license play games, tick tac toe, I spy, ABC game (we try to name something we see going in order of the alphabet), etc. Even just doing a simple google search online pre-trip leads to some fun car time games.
- Roadside Tourist Traps
When all else fails, STOP! Yup, I’m saying it, do the tourist trap! I know all the giant somethings, and weird off-road things look like a quick way to make money, but sometimes that’s all a kid needs. Plus, it’s a great way to break up the driving monotony. So enjoy that man-eating clam, mirror maze, or shopping mall fuzzy animal attraction. Why not? It’s a vacay!