How To: Take a Car Trip with Children

Take a Car Trip with Children

Step 1 Planning the Trip

Get lots of brochures

Send for brochures of the places you will be visiting.  Make a travel book with the brochures to get the grandchildren and their families excited.  The best place to contact for these brochures are the Visitors Bureaus or the Chamber of Commerce of the towns you are going to visit or go through. They can be ordered over the internet by typing in Google the name of the city. You will see a Visitors Bureau, Chamber of Commerce or even the activity web site.

Send for brochures or print off the internet pictures of the hotels/motels where you are going to stay.  It excites the children if the hotel/motel has a miniature golf course nearby or a playground. 

It excites Mom and Dad if the hotel/motel has breakfast included in the room fee.

How to Take a Car Trip with Children

How to Take a Car Trip with Children

Make reservations and study the maps

Go to the Automobile Club and get maps of the states you are going to visit.  You can also pick up travel books of the states which have all kinds of good information.  You can even make a trip tik to use as a reference.  It is a good idea to have a GPS in the car with you at all times in case you get lost.

Be certain that your vacation has something for the children every day.  It might be just to let them run around in a nice park or enjoy a picnic under a bunch of trees or by a stream.  Review your maps ahead of time for this information.

How to Take a Car Trip with Children

When making the reservations for your hotel/motel be sure there is a swimming pool.  Indoor swimming pools are especially fun and usually heated.  Swimming is a great way for the kids to unwind and get tired.  Relaxing in the jacuzzi while your kids play in the big pool is a great way for everyone to have fun.  Make certain where you stay is "kid friendly".  It is also a good ideal to try and stay at the same chain throughout the trip as you can earn rewards to apply to your next adventure.  

How to Take a Car Trip with Children

Activity bags

How to Take a Car Trip with Children

How to Take a Car Trip with ChildrenThe children definitely need activity bags!  Backpacks are great to use for the activity bags.  Pack in the bag crayons or washable magic markers, color books, sticker books and reading books.  One of the most popular car toys for kids and adults are the electronic games.  

The iPod touch, the iPad and the DS are terrific for traveling.

How to Take a Car Trip with Children

 The iPod touch and the iPad are nice because you can load games and movies without having to carry them.  There are games for all ages from toddlers up.  For the DS, don't forget the games.  One of the most important things to put in the activity bag is the child's blanket or favorite stuff animal (if they are attached to one).

Car check-up

With the cost of fuel today, you not only want to maximize the safety of your trip but the fuel efficiency.  The experts say that if you wash and wax your car you will get better fuel economy because it improves the aerodynamics.  Take your car to the dealership or mechanic and have a service check-up done on your automobile. You want to be sure to have the oil changed, the brake fluid checked, the air conditioner is in good shape, the tires have the correct amount of air in them and that they are balanced.  Have the air filter checked.  If it is dirty have it replaced.  

How to Take a Car Trip with Children

Survival kit

  • wipes for spills
  • hand santizers
  • bug-off to keep mosquitoes away
  • band-aids
  • neosporin
  • suntan lotion
  • swimmers ear (a must for swimming in public pools-not only gets the water out of the ear but it helps prevent infection)
  • tylenol (not just for the kids but for the parents and grandparents if they develop a headache)
  • spill free cups for the younger children
  • manual can opener (for picnics)
  • camera, disc, battery charger

Step 2 Leaving Town

The day has arrived and everyone is excited to go.  One of the major rules when traveling with grandchildren and their families is to let the grandkids ride in the grandparents car.  Mom and Dad need to relax and enjoy themselves too.


Now it is time to pack the cooler with snacks and good water.  Not too much sugar in the snacks as it will jazz the kids up and Grandma and Granddad don't need that in the car.  Snacks such as little gold fish, string cheese, grapes, celery and peanut butter are good nutritional foods. 

How to Take a Car Trip with Children

How to Take a Car Trip with Children

How to Take a Car Trip with Children

Buy picnic supplies and any other groceries you might need at a large grocery store rather than a small store out in the middle of nowhere.  Large stores will not be as expensive.  

Hotel/Motel arrival and departure

Usually check-in time is 4:00 pm.  Time for a swim while the parents figure out where to go eat. Most likely there will be a restaurant at the place you are staying or near by.  The best way to find a good, child friendly place to eat is to YELP it on your Iphone, Ipad or Ipod touch.  

When putting the children to bed, ask them what their favorite thing was for the day.  Ask them what they think they will see tomorrow.  Give them a kiss goodnight.  Go to your room and review you map for the next day.  Find good places to picnic.  Now, uncork a bottle of wine and relax!  

In the morning before leaving the hotel/motel straighten up the car by throwing away any trash and have the backseat nice and neat for the kids when they come to get settled.  Fill your cooler with ice from the hotel/motel to keep your water and food refrigerated. Potty stops will probably be made frequently but that is okay; take this time to get out and stretch.

Picnic time

How to Take a Car Trip with Children

Stop at a large grocery chain to get your picnic supplies. 

 Here are some suggestions for picnic foods and necessities:           

  1. paper plates
  2. plastic forks and knives
  3. napkins
  4. canned baked beans
  5. fresh fruit
  6. deli salads
  7. deli meats
  8. bread
  9. mustard, mayonnaise or ketchup (whatever you use on sandwiches)
  10. peanut butter
  11. jelly
  12. chips
  13. bakery item or candy bar for dessert
  14. plastic table covering

Any food that is not used can be put in the cooler for the following day or you can eat it for appetizers when you get to the hotel/motel.

Along the way

Take lots of pictures of your picnic and all the other exciting and non-exciting things you do as these will be the memories that will last forever.

Of course the children are going to want souvenirs.  You might suggest to them one thing they can collect at every stop.  For example a patch, a sticker or a little spoon.  Of course they will get other souvenirs as well.

How to Take a Car Trip with Children

How to Take a Car Trip with Children

How to Take a Car Trip with Children

Vacation is coming to an end

This adventure is coming to an end.  I am sure it has been fun and not lacking in memories.  Your pictures will let you recall all of the exciting experiences you had.  Until the next time, bye for now.

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Our baby girl hates the sun, especially with the child seat forces her to look up. We installed a car tint kit from SnapTint to cut down on her annoyance. Works great so far, also keeps the car cool for grownups too.

Automobile Club, Goldfish and Disneyland. This family is as American as apple pie.

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