When it comes to going on a trip in a vehicle for an extended period of time it’s hard enough alone as adults.  Throw a small child into the mix, or even several, and you’ve got yourself a full-fledged circus.  

But before you pack your suitcases and pile everyone in the Lincoln Navigator, make sure that you read this survival guide and ensure that you’ve got all the tools you need.

Bring Activities

Make sure that you bring an arsenal of activities to choose from.  You’re going to need everything from coloring books to iPads, to Barbies, to maracas, to anything else that you can possibly use to entertain your little ones.

Try packing a “surprise bag” which is full of cheap items you can buy at the drugstore or dollar store.  Every 20 minutes or so, pull out a new item and when they start getting bored or restless again, you pull out a new surprise.  This can buy you hours of time for under 20 bucks.

Just make sure anything that you bring is car-friendly and won’t spill into a million tiny crumbs or pieces.

Take Frequent Breaks

Pulling over frequently is one of the best things you can do for everyone in the car including yourself.  Often kids need to get out and run in circles for a few minutes.  Find a rest stop and get a drink, let them run around a bit, and allow yourself to decompress for a minute as well.

This is also particularly important for younger children who haven’t learned how to gauge their bladders yet.  Sometimes they can’t feel the urge coming on until it’s too late, so taking a break for a potty stop is good at least every 2 hours.


There is nothing worse than being in the middle of a dark highway with a hungry child and nothing to eat.  Make sure that you pack plenty of snacks.  Ideally, pack things that aren’t going to make a huge mess.  Things like fruit snacks, apples, and juice boxes that can’t spill everywhere are great ideas.

Make sure you pack things like sandwiches as well for full meals rather than just snacks.  If your child insists on crackers or chips, consider investing in a snack cup with a rubber lid with tiny inserts.  These “mess-free” portable cups are great for only taking out one cracker or chip at a time avoiding spills.


Sometimes you just gotta turn up the music and rock out.  Kids love to sing along and let’s face it, so do you!  Creating a playlist together before embarking on the trip could be a great family activity to do together.