Road Trip Survival Tips

The dreaded road trip… calling the scenario that makes me insane. Unless I am driving, but even then, they can be intolerable. I get bored and antsy very easy. Not to mention car sick if I am not driving. For me, driving is better than riding; I make a very bad passenger. Nauseous, jumpy at everything, watching the speedometer, you name it, I am as bad a passenger; just as most nurses are patients. 6, 8, 10 hours or more quickly becomes boring and uncomfortable, especially if you’re traveling with kids So, I decided to see if I could pull together tips on how I might make road trips tolerable – or even actually enjoyable. Especially since we leave for Branson soon. I hope these tips and ideas for surviving long drives help make your next road trip a success! First, make sure you have the essentials! This is important! Packing for road trips and having what you need in the car is important but prepping your car for the trip should be priority number 1. Make sure to take your car and have the oil checked, tires checked, and a good travel once over inspection done…getting stranded is no fun. Make sure you that you begin your road trips with a full tank of gas and know where you are going, running out of gas, again… NO FUN!  

Things to have for the Road Trip:

  • Car Safety Kit (Jumper Cables, 2 Light Sticks, Reflective Vest, Emergency Rain Poncho, Warning triangle, Whistle, Tire Pressure Gauge, Window Breaker)
  • Blanket/Pillow
  • Case of water
  • Reusable Shopping Bag for trash
  • Gallon zip plastic bags
  • Tissues/Extra toilet paper/Paper towels
  • Travel Games
  • Road trip play list
  • Umbrella
  • Snacks, snacks, snacks
  • Cooler for longer trips to keep food cold
  • Tweezer
  • Swiss Army Knife
  • Be ready for car sickness – peppermints, motion sickness pills
  • A good attitude
  For a full comprehensive packing list for any vacation, check out my blog Packing List for Your Next Vacation or click below to go straight to the packing list and download my free one. Free Download Packing List   Once you are packed… then its time make this trip not miserable or at least try.  

Start early.

The sooner you get on the road, the sooner you can get off it. Arriving at your destination around dinnertime gives you a few hours to do things before bedtime. Even better, kids will often sleep for the first few hours of the drive.

Keep it FUN!

Car games can make the time fly by for both children and adults. If you’re driving, games like car bingo and the license plate game are fun ways to help your child connect with their surroundings. Have a pack with art supplies for doodling and bring music that everyone in the family can enjoy. It’s also a great time to talk to your kids.
  • 20 questions
  • The Alphabet Game
  • I Spy
  • Road Trip Bingo
  • Travel versions of board games
  • Slug bug, or we invented Slug Love’s this trip (every time you see a Loves gas station.) Side note: This works well in Texas, but worked especially well in Oklahoma. There must be one every 10 miles)
  • License Plate States
  • Road Trip Scavenger Hunts (color of cars, etc., etc… make up your own)

Toss in a geography lesson.

Older kids can trace your route on a map while the whole family can play the license plate game. Give them a map of the US (or Europe or wherever you are traveling) and have them color in the states or countries as they see the corresponding license plates.

Make it easy to get some shut-eye.

If you have a longer trip planned, bringing smaller travel pillows and blankets or their special blankie to help your children rest when they get sleepy can help keep everyone happy. Blankets can be used to block hot desert sunlight or maintain warmth during winter or nighttime driving. They can also be folded up and used as an extra cushion on the seat. Small pillows can help you sleep or provide support for your lower back.

Plan quiet time.

Sometimes less is more. When on a vacation it’s easy to get wrapped up in the see everything/do everything excitement. Kids can suffer from stimulation overload, so make sure you plan for down time so that the entire family will have the opportunity to recharge.


If you’re traveling by car, plan to make plenty of pit stops. No one enjoys being in the car for hours on end. Make getting from point A to point B part of the fun by shortening times in the car with exciting stops, like wacky roadside attractions. Let kids get out and stretch their legs and burn off excess energy. Choose roadside towns and chain hotels over rest stops

When is the best time for you to drive?

What time of day and length of driving time works best for you? Plan accordingly. For example, I hate driving at night because I do not see as well, but I also get car sick. So, we create driving times based on each person’s needs and best times of day.

Keep it clean. 

When you have a group especially one with children things can get messy quickly. Combat the mess by being prepared. Bring a kit of hand sanitizer, napkins, and hand wipes can help keep everyone – including your car’s interior – clean during your trip.

Go with the flow.

Most importantly, go with the flow. Things won’t be smooth the entire trip but relaxing the usual rules a bit can help everyone have a bit more fun and enjoy the time together.

Wear loose, comfy clothing.

The only thing you want restricting your movement is the seat belt.

Comfy shoes.

Wear shoes you can drive in and easily slip on and off as desired. This helps your feet breathe and increases your positioning by letting you bring one leg up under you or put your feet on the dash. Finally, don’t feel bad if you kids aren’t perfect; shoot I am the biggest whiner ever on road trips. Travel can be stressful for all family members, so stay positive and incorporate fun into your trip! The key is Preparation, Planning, and Patience, Patience, Patience! Oh, and it helps if you like the people you are traveling with ?   Free Download Packing List Remember, if you’d like personalized help, consider booking an appointment with Enchanted Woods Travel to discuss your travel needs. Not sure if you need a travel agent or think you can do it yourself for cheaper? Check out this blog I wrote called Should I use a Travel Agent or Book Online Myself discussing why it’s actually beneficial to use an agent.   Do you have any great tips to survive road trips? If so, please leave a comment below!   If you’ve found this content beneficial please recommend the site to your family and friends. And if you liked this post, please tweet, pin and share – I’d really appreciate it! You can also follow me on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter!