Road Trip Tips: Big Kids

road trip

Planning a road trip and worried about your big kiddos getting bored and picking fights worn-out mama? Checkout some tips and tricks on how to make road trip travel go as smoothly as possible!

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Designate Spots

Territory in the car is going to be important on your road trip. You already know this from day-to-day driving if you have mutliples sharing the back seats.

Have the kiddos grab a few things from their room to “setup camp” in their spots.

  • A pillow for napping
  • A beach towel for their blanket (functional if you’re headed somewhere where swimming is involved)
  • Headphones and their electronic device if they have one
  • One or two small sets of items for activities they can do independently
road trip prep

Organization is Key

If things aren’t organized in the car for the road trip, your designated spots are going to bleed together and cause petty fights that will make you want to jump from the moving car.

Grab some backseat organizers to keep things tidy. You’ll limit the arguments over why someone’s stuff is on the other’s side. Meltdowns over trying to find something they want to play with will be at a minimum.

I use one similar to the Vouska version and it works perfect to have everything at their fingertips for road trips.

If the back of the seat isn’t an option, grab a cloth bin with organization pockets and separators to hold their things like this one.

Plan for Snacks

Nobody wants anyone getting hangry in a small space. It’s no good for anybody’s road trip!

Have a bag near you in the front seat with individually packaged snacks. Make sure to have an additional bag of snacks for reserves in the trunk.

A small cooler under a seat near the front is great for easily accessible drinks too.

Pack Surprises

Another bag you’ll want to have packed is one with cheap surprises wrapped up for each of your kids. Think items that will keep them occupied!

  • Travel games
  • Coloring pages and new colored pencils or markers
  • Word puzzles
  • Magazines

Reach into the bag of surprises when everyone starts to get restless and I promise you things will settle right back down.


Get some things you’ve downloaded and don’t tell anyone before you leave of your trip. Think of what each of your kids would like and load ’em up.

Come up with a schedule of when someone gets the device you’ve downloaded shows to and have them pick something from the list to watch or listen.

It makes it special that you thought of them and also shows them you know their personality and what they could get into.

Games to Play as a Family

Sometimes you’re going to need to be the cruise director of your road trip. Have a game ready to go that you can play together. The time to break these out is when questions like , “Are we there yet?”, start to surface and you’ve already tried your surprises and downloads.

I’m going on a trip and I’m bringing…

This game goes through the letters of the alphabet person by person, while they say, “I’m going on a trip and I’m bringing something that starts with the letter _.” Each person picks something they are bringing.

The difficult part is you have to remember what everyone before you is bringing and say it before you say yours! (Try not to be the person with letter Z.)

Road Trip Bingo

For this one you can make your own quick Bingo cards before you leave or throw the ones below in your cart. You want to pick random things you would see on the road that people can check off to win the game.

If you make your own, you can put some personal touches on it like adding road kill or a car with a duct taped light.

License Plate Game

The goal is to try and find license plates from states you haven’t seen yet on the trip. The person who calls out the plate, wins the state and a point.

You’ll need a little notepad for score keeping on this one.

Be Ready for Stops

Older kiddos are thankfully going to only have to stop as often as you will or think it’s really cool to try out as many rest stops as possible.

It might still be helpful to download the iExit app which will help with where rest areas and food stops are along the way!

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