6 Tips for Cross Country Road Trip with Kids

If you're going on a cross country road trip with kids, planning ahead is key. We've traveled in the car a lot as a family the last several years and we have it down to a science. If you need some tips for your next cross country road trip with kids, you're in the right place. 

Cross Country Road Trip with Kids

Cross Country Road Trips with Kids:

We have driven with our kids to many places over the last several years. Most recently this year we went on a road trip from Utah to Dallas and back. Last year we did a week long trip to southern Utah and Arizona to see the National Parks. We've also been on countless trips to Idaho to see family, have driven to NY to see my family when we lived on the East Coast, and so many other trips I probably can't remember. All that to say, we've got a lot of mileage under our belt and have come up with a system that works really well for us. 

Plan Your Trip, Hotels, and Stops Ahead of Time:

A month or more before the trip I like to plan out how far we're going to drive each day (we try to do no more than 10 hours in one day), where we're going to stay, where we'll stop for gas and lunch, and when we'll use the bathroom. This helps to setup a plan for us as parents, and for the kids. That way they know what our plan is, when they can anticipate going to the bathroom, etc... When everyone is on the same plan, things tend to go much smoother. 

Cross Country Road Trip with Kids

Clean the Car Before You Leave and When You Get Back:

I cannot stand traveling in a dirty car. I always make sure to get the car cleaned before we leave for a trip, and of course get it cleaned almost immediately when we get home. Starting off with a clean car ensures you won't be sitting in fast food wrappers from months before, and getting it cleaned when you get home is a nice reset to get you back into normal life. 

Have a Basket to Keep all Your Snacks:

We keep all our snacks for the kids in a white basket in our pantry on a regular basis. I'm sure most homes have a very similar system. When we leave for a road trip we take that same white basket right out of the pantry and put it directly into the car. This keeps all the snacks in one confined area, and we're all able to know where everything is. Also, bringing all our snacks with us helps us to spend less money on food while we're on the road.

No Limits on Screen Time:

When we're on a long road trip, I really do not care how long my kids are on screens that day. They know there will be more rules and structure once we get to our final destination, so I really don't mind being less strict about this while we're on the road. The only caveat is that when we are on our last hour of driving for the day, I make them turn them off to reintegrate their brains back to being human again.

Cross Country Road Trip with Kids

Bring a Few Books:

Even with relaxed screen time rules, the kids will often have times where they're done looking at their iPads for the day. Both of our kids love reading, so we bring a small basket of books for them to enjoy looking through in the car as well. 

Find Fun Destinations Along the Way:

This is something we've been trying to be better at more recently, but when we went to Dallas this summer we planned a few fun and cheesy stops along the way such as seeing the world's largest watermelon, and going to the VW Slug Bug Ranch. This was a fun way to break up the day for the kids, and it made for some fun memories as well. We put our route into roadtrippers.com and it told us what sites were along the way which made it really easy. 

Cross Country Road Trip with Kids

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