When prepping for a road trip with young children, especially with young twins, does the song, “Holiday Road” come to mind because you your family will end up looking like the Griswold’s on their way to Wally World?
Road tripping with our families often includes u-turns, frequent bathroom stops, and sometimes forgotten essentials that we end up snagging at gas stations.
Even though the same songs seem to be on repeat and we play one too many games of “I Spy”, we still look forward to those crazy hours driving in the car together.
As Colorado parents, it isn’t uncommon that we are driving several hours to a destination. With all of the great hikes, camping, and skiing that our state has to offer, we tend to hop in the car and let the adventure begin!
Mountain traffic can turn short road trips into marathons with little notice!
Anxious just thinking about your family trapped in a car for hours while you travel across the country? Keep these few tips in your back pocket and it’ll put your mind at ease.
How To Stay Sane While on Road Trips with Young Kids
Departure and Arrival Times:
Starting your road trip behind schedule with lunchtime approaching is not ideal. When planning road trips, consider what time you ESTIMATE to leave. Build in time for extra stops and unexpected detours to determine what time you will eventually arrive at your destination. Don’t forget to factor in naps and mealtime so that you have a game plan on how to manage all of those necessities.
We all know that with small children, we have to be flexible. Anything less than that isn’t realistic. Aim to leave as close to on time as possible.
Do you want to drive through the night while your kids sleep? (If this is you, we are tipping our hats your way!)
Do you want to leave right after soccer so your kids are tired and will take a nap?
It doesn’t matter how you arrange the travel schedule, just be sure that it makes sense (on paper at least) for your family.
Make lists so you don’t forget anything important, ensuring your trip starts off on the right foot.
Carve Out Extra Time for Stops:
Long gone are the days of peeing in a soda bottle and driving straight through to your destination.
Now that you are road tripping with twins, you WILL HAVE TO make extra stops along the way. There will be bathroom breaks. There will be someone who needs to use the bathroom 5 minutes after you left the last stop. There will be accidents and epic messes to clean up.
And there will certainly be moments where you all need to hop out of the care to BREATHE in some fresh air. Extra stops can add up, so plan on allowing for plenty of extra travel time in your itinerary.
Road Trip Snacks:
We all know that you get hungry, you can easily get agitated and whiny, both kids and adults. Leave your house prepared for the apocalypse with a large amount of snack food. We like to stock up with a variety of snack options which includes dry goods and a tiny cooler of healthy refrigerated options (fruit, salami, chopped veggies, etc.)
Snacking on junk food seems like road trip heaven until everyone has a massive sugar crash and ya’ll are stuck in the car with 3 more hours to go. Trader Joe’s has some great snacking options! Read this for a few road trip snack ideas.
Passing the Time By on Road Trips:
Be prepared. Nobody said that you will need to be Mary Poppins while entertaining your twins in the car, but at least have a game plan.
Simple activities that you prepare ahead of time are an easy way to pass the time. Listed below are some of our favorites (affiliate links). You can click on the links to buy!
- Sticker books (great for toddler and preschoolers)
- Paint by Sticker (great for ages 5+)
- Melissa & Doug On-The-Go Colorblast Mess-free coloring
- I Spy
- Doodle Boards
- Scratch Art
- Would You Rather
- Amazon Fire Tablet Kids Edition: When the going gets tough, or you just need a break from rotating the entertainment, we like to have this as an option for our kids.
The key to keeping kids entertained while in the car for hours at a time is to have a large variety of options and you can rotate through. We typically start out our road trip with no entertainment, just music, and family conversations until the boredom sets in. And then, the kids dig into the basket of entertainment that we organized in the back seat.
Are We There Yet?
Oh, the age-old question, that parents dread hearing during any car trip. Before having kids, on a road trip with someone else’s kids, we learned this handy little road trip hack. It is a total game changer. Don’t leave home and hit the road with small kids without utilizing this.
Before you leave, calculate your total mileage. You will need a piece of yarn long enough to string across the back seat of your car. Tie each end to the handles above the window). String beads onto the yard. Each bead will represent 25 miles of your trip. The beads will start on one side of the car. As you travel 25 miles you will move one bead to the other side. The visual this provides for your kids of how far you have traveled and how much further you have to go will keep them 1) entertained and 2) from asking that oh so annoying question, “are we there yet?”
Road trips with kids can be fun and totally manageable with a little preparation. And when your trip takes a few unexpected detours, do your best to get back on course and make the most of the time you have with together.