Road trips are supposed to be fun, but we all know that when traveling with kids they can be more of a headache. The key to keeping kids happy on road trips is to understand that they are kids, with short attention spans. Also, it’s important to note that the excitement can absolutely get them more wound up than usual. For us, that means turning everything into a game of some sort.
When traveling we aim to stop for potty breaks every two hours or so. For our breaks we look for Cracker Barrels. If you don’t know about this restaurant, you should. The most important thing to know is that they are often interstate friendly, and have super clean bathrooms (not to mention really good coffee). Be prepared though, kids will want everything in their store. The temptation of the store is worth the reliably clean bathroom, and the chance to stretch our legs window shopping. We used to stop at fast food joints with play areas but always had a huge struggle getting the kids to leave. The kids like the idea of stopping at a Cracker Barrel bathroom in every state we have visited.
As for actual car games, I like to have the kids draw pictures of the things they see. We also play “I Spy” and the “ABC game.” The ABC game is great for littler kids. Basically you look at other cars license plates and road signs and find each letter of the alphabet. If you are on an exceptionally long trip, its a great idea to find an actual park for the kids to burn off some energy.
Of course you can always opt for the DVD player, but for us those make for grumpier kids upon arrival. And with most things involving kids, planning is crucial, but be flexible if your plans need to change. Oh, and pack of healthy snacks too!