Road Trip Tips for Kids

Road Trip Tips for Kids

It’s summertime, which means families all over the country are hitting the road to visit family, tourist attractions, theme parks, beaches, and everything in between! I personally try to avoid taking my girls (ages 2.5 and 4.5) on trips longer than 4-5 hours but I know there are a lot of parents out there who are way braver than me and go longer distances. A few weeks ago, we hit the highway to visit Greenville, SC, to celebrate my sister-in-law’s engagement. My kids were angels and I couldn’t have been more thrilled. Today I’m sharing how we road trip with our kids.

Laundry Baskets

Does anyone else use laundry baskets for everything? This is a fun hack that I learned from my mother-in-law that works best in SUV’s. Basically, any time we go on road trips I pack everything in laundry baskets instead of suitcases. I find it easier (and faster) to fit everything we need and then when we arrive at our destination, I put everything into drawers and use the baskets to collect the endless amounts of laundry and toys (to reduce chaos in our rooms). You can also use them to haul stuff back and forth from the beach. πŸ™‚


One of my favorite purchases of all time is a square collapse-able canvas box that fits perfectly between the girls’ car seats and holds an impressive amount of stuff. I got it from the Dollar Spot of the Mothership for only $3. I load that thing up with all their favorite books and toys so they can pull out whatever they want without my help. I try to packs a bunch of small things vs. a couple big things so they don’t get bored too fast.

No-Spill Snacks

No road trip is complete without snacks! My go-to’s are small crackers served in a covered snack cup and squeezable fruit pouches. The appeal of both is that they don’t need help and neither makes a mess (unless my kids decide to squeeze everything out but they are finally old enough to know better). The girls reach their hands in and can only pull out a couple crackers at a time. If they drop it, no worries – it doesn’t spill! No spills means I can toss them in my bag everyday, too (which I totally do). We really like these a lot more than the brand we used to use.

No-Spill Drinks

Okay, so I admit that I try to keep fluids at a minimum on trips to reduce potty breaks, but intentionally dehydrating my children isn’t exactly a nice thing to do so I always make sure to have my spill-proof cups for road trips. They’re seriously the only kids cups we own that don’t spill. I keep the cups in the front seat with me and only give them when the girls ask for them. That way they’re not sipping out of boredom and adding travel time to our trip due to unplanned potty breaks.


Speaking of drinks and potty breaks, if your kid is potty training I highly recommend bringing his/her plastic potty and/or toilet seat insert with you. When my oldest was potty training, she was very particular about where she “went”. After two unsuccessful rest-stops with her having to go (but refusing to) on a road trip to Kiawah Island, SC, I realized she didn’t like the public toilets. So, we took her little plastic potty inside the fast-food restaurant’s bathroom and voila! She went. Also, I don’t recommend this unless it’s absolutely necessary, but if your kid really has to go and can’t hold it until the next available stop, having the potty will give them somewhere to sit and go if you have to pull over on the side of the road. But let’s hope it doesn’t come to that, right?

Comfortable Clothes

One of my kids likes to get dressed up. The other likes to wear pajamas. I don’t fight it on road trip days and let them where whatever will keep them the most quiet they want. Pick your battles and save your sanity.

Time the Trip Around Naps

… if possible. We always try to get on the road at a time when we think our girls will be sleepy and will doze off in the car. Sleeping children = quiet. If we can’t make it happen for naps, we consider leaving late and driving at night.

Plan Your Stops in Advance

Try to identify some parks or nice rest stops along the way so your kids can run around and expel their energy and wiggles for awhile. Perhaps pack a picnic and make one of those stops a meal stop, too. Stir-crazy kids create stir-crazy parents so letting them get it all out is beneficial to everyone. Sure, it’ll add time to your trip but I’d rather get there later and be sane than get there earlier on the verge of snapping, ya know what I mean?

Tell me some of your favorite road trip tips in the comments below!

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  1. Kia
    April 16, 2018 / 1:18 pm

    Love the ideas! What brand is the snack cup?

    • Shannnon
      April 16, 2018 / 9:10 pm

      Hi Kia! It’s PlaytexBaby but I can’t seem to find it online anymore. πŸ™

  2. Emily McCoy
    February 8, 2018 / 6:13 pm

    Love the laundry basket idea! What brand are the cups?

    • Shannnon
      February 8, 2018 / 6:40 pm

      Laundry Baskets are life! These ones are Playtex Sipsters!

  3. June 22, 2017 / 8:39 am

    The laundry baskets is brilliant. When we go to the mountains- only about 2hrs I always feel like I have 100 bags so I will try laundry baskets!! It’s perfect.

    • Shannnon
      June 22, 2017 / 9:26 am

      I hope it works for you!!

  4. Jenna
    June 20, 2017 / 4:35 pm

    So many great ideas! Thanks for sharing!

    • Shannnon
      June 20, 2017 / 11:36 pm

      Thank you for reading!

  5. June 20, 2017 / 3:31 pm

    Handy tips, I love the laundry basket idea!!

    • Shannnon
      June 20, 2017 / 11:37 pm

      Laundry baskets are the best!

  6. June 17, 2017 / 10:21 pm

    Yes to laundry baskets I use them too. I take two with me. One for clothes and another for snacks and necessities. Gotta pin your post!

    • Shannnon
      June 18, 2017 / 8:33 am

      Thanks girl! I usually take two, too – one for the girls and one for my husband and me!

    • Shannnon
      June 17, 2017 / 8:41 am

      Thanks! Snacks are a must have all the time for me! πŸ˜‚

  7. June 17, 2017 / 12:31 am

    Awesome tips! I am driving my 3 kiddos 4 hours away to my mother in law’s in a couple of weeks and these are our usual go-to tips – especially traveling during naptime. It’s a lifesaver!

    • Shannnon
      June 17, 2017 / 8:40 am

      It really is! I just hate that my girls never take a full nap in the car; usually just a short one. Have fun on your trip!

  8. June 16, 2017 / 10:58 pm

    Awesome tips and I would have never thought of laundry baskets! I will definitely be needing some new snack cups in the near future too. 😊
    xo, Nicole

    • Shannnon
      June 17, 2017 / 8:39 am

      Yes!! I hope you love these!

  9. June 16, 2017 / 10:50 pm

    Too funny! I’m glad I’m not the only one who uses laundry baskets over suitcases! And I’m totally getting those snack cups so I don’t have to keep picking up goldfish crackers from my backseat

    • Shannnon
      June 17, 2017 / 8:39 am

      Laundry baskets for the win!

  10. June 16, 2017 / 7:22 pm

    Yes to all of these! The baskets are great and we always try to plan around nap time! Makes things so much easier.

    • Shannnon
      June 16, 2017 / 8:05 pm

      Yes yes yes! Thanks, girl!

  11. June 16, 2017 / 6:18 pm

    Not gonna lie…I dread road trips with the kids with a passion. But I agree with all of your tips here! We have learned over time to do a lot of these steps, and it has helped so much! Thanks for sharing some resources on the snack and drink cups, too. Seems like every one we have tried has managed to spill. I will have to give these a try! – Amy

    • Shannnon
      June 16, 2017 / 6:46 pm

      I dread it too! I hope these help, though! Not having spills is one less thing to worry about!

  12. We're the Joneses
    June 16, 2017 / 4:32 pm

    YES to the laundry baskets!!! I started doing this too! We take road trips to Colorado from Texas to see my parents and they are seriously a lifesaver in the car!

    • Shannnon
      June 16, 2017 / 4:49 pm

      Laundry baskets for the win!

  13. June 16, 2017 / 9:27 am

    amen to the no spill snacks and drinks! It just makes me stressed when I know they’re making a million messes back there!

    • Shannnon
      June 16, 2017 / 10:05 am

      Me too, girl!! So stressed!

  14. June 16, 2017 / 12:24 am

    I love the tips Shannon and have done a lot of these – the portable potty, the not too much sipping on water, the bin of activities, planning around naps or bedtime, and even the laundry basket idea! When we only had one kid, I kept a bin of things in the car (just for regular travels) for her.. but now with three, it got kind of crazy with 3 car seats! I just recently bought a few activity things for the car but bringing back the bin will or a foldable storage one like that would be great! Great tips and now I must get some of that no-spill snack fillers, too. Love the idea and will look into the links! BTW: I’ve clicked around your site and read some of your routine posts – too funny!!

    • Shannnon
      June 16, 2017 / 1:39 am

      Hey girl! THANK YOU so much for clicking around; it’s great to have you here! I’m so glad to hear we think alike! I keep day-to-day stuff in a bag on the floor of my car and a few small toys that stay in at all times. I hope you find something that works for your 3!

    • Shannnon
      June 15, 2017 / 11:19 pm

      It’s one of my fave life hacks!

    • Shannnon
      June 15, 2017 / 10:46 pm

      Thanks! I love laundry baskets!

  15. June 15, 2017 / 9:48 pm

    These are great ideas! I love the laundry basket idea especially — so smart!

    • Shannnon
      June 15, 2017 / 10:46 pm

      Thank you! I’m so glad I learned it from my MIL!

  16. Sheila Jo
    June 15, 2017 / 9:40 pm

    The laundry basket idea is pretty smart!

    • Shannnon
      June 15, 2017 / 10:47 pm

      Thanks! I think so, too! Yay for my MIL!

  17. Ashley
    June 15, 2017 / 9:30 pm

    I am so using the laundry basket tip for our family vacation next month! I love the no-spill snack cups too–they are sanity savers!

    • Shannnon
      June 15, 2017 / 10:47 pm

      They really are! I hope the baskets work for you!

  18. June 15, 2017 / 9:26 pm

    Such great tips! I never would have thought to use laundry baskets, but that is brilliant! I also love those sippy cups and the no-spill snack cups. Perfect for my messy boys!

    • Shannnon
      June 15, 2017 / 10:48 pm

      They’re super awesome! I use laundry baskets for seriously so many things!

  19. June 15, 2017 / 8:31 pm

    What a great post (and super cute too!) and I am so glad to know I am not the only one who packs in laundry baskets! Taking the potty chair is an excellent idea. Recently I read a suggestion to put a diaper in the toilet bowl to keep it from getting all over the car. I thought that was so smart. Thanks for the suggestions! Happy traveling!

    • Shannnon
      June 15, 2017 / 10:49 pm

      You do, too?! Ah! I’m so glad I’m not alone! Also, we put diapers in the bottom of the potty for nighttime breaks to reduce spills – never thought to do it in the car. I do make my girl sit on an open one in her car seat during long trips just in case she has an accident. Happy travels!

  20. June 15, 2017 / 8:27 pm

    Love the great ideas for the little ones while traveling! I’m about to be a glam-ma and I’ll be able to use these tips with the new baby!

    • Shannnon
      June 15, 2017 / 10:50 pm

      Aw yay! Congrats on becoming a glam-ma!

  21. June 15, 2017 / 6:39 pm

    These are all great tips! I will be putting these to use on our road trip in a few weeks.

    • Shannnon
      June 15, 2017 / 10:51 pm

      Oh yay! Thanks for reading!

    • Shannnon
      June 15, 2017 / 3:54 pm

      Yasss! I use laundry baskets when I grocery shop, too. If you put the bags in the baskets it keeps the food from rolling around. Then when you get home you just pick up the basket and carry it inside. πŸ™‚

  22. June 15, 2017 / 3:01 pm

    No spill snacks and traveling around nap time are SOOOO important! Love this list. Will definitely be pinning to my travel board!

    • Shannnon
      June 15, 2017 / 3:53 pm

      Thanks, girl! I appreciate it!

  23. June 15, 2017 / 10:48 am

    You hit the nail on the head with these items!! And I think I need to add these playtex snackers and spill-proof cups to our stash with or without a road trip!!

    • Shannnon
      June 15, 2017 / 10:52 am

      Thanks, girl! Yes for sure! We LOVE them!

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