7 Tips For Surviving a Long Road Trip With Preschoolers

As promised … road trip tips!

Friends, our Yellowstone trip was a mega long trip to embark on with kids. Max was almost 3 when we left and is known well for screaming, “I’s stuck!” whenever in his carseat. Jem turns 5 in the Fall and is much more patient, but still, 12 hours is a long, long time to be carseat bound.

On the way to Yellowstone we drove in two stretches. To Spokane, Washington the first day – about 5 hours and then on to Island Park, Idaho the next – another 7 hours. Add in bathroom breaks (mostly for the preggo mama) and meals and we had full days on the wide open road! For the drive back we were mega adventurous and drove straight home. No overnight in Spokane – just a mega full day powering through!

If you’re packing up for a road trip with your littles, these are the few words of wisdom I’d pass on …7 Tips For Surviving a Long Road Trip With Preschoolers

  1. Know your kids sleep schedule and plan accordingly. Both days we aimed to be on a long stretch of road during nap time.
  2. Stock a separate bag with activities, snacks and a change of clothes for each child. Keep this separate from your purse and main suitcase.
  3. Speaking of activities, the $1 store will be your best friend prior to adventures. Stock up on coloring books, stickers and other small surprises. I packed each gift/activity in a brown paper lunch bag so it was like opening a present when we hit certain trip milestones.
  4. Consider the car you take on your trip. We were blessed to partner with GM Seattle and take an Acadia Denali on our adventure. I am beyond grateful, because although our van would have sufficed, the Denali was a lovely upgrade. In the future I’ll totally consider a rental based on our trip specs. For example, the Denali had GPS, OnStar, DVD player and great gas mileage … all amenities that made our trip way smoother.
  5. SCREEN TIME! Yes, this gets capital letters, because screen time is a gift from heaven when it comes to passing the time. The Denali had wireless headphones and thus, the kids enjoyed a Disney marathon of Bambi, Pocahontas and Lion King while we cruised the miles. Hallelujah!
  6. Prepare those kiddos ahead of time with a simple conversation and visual aides. Show them a map of where you’re headed, explain miles per hour and give them a tangible way to understand how long the trip will take. I said something like this, “Max, we’re going to get in the car and watch one movie, then we’ll have a snack and take a long rest. When you wake up we will find a place to stretch our legs and go potty. Then, back in the car for a surprise and some coloring. If we still have some freeway to drive, we’ll watch another movie! I need you to be extra patient and use your words when you need help since we’ll all be buckled in. Can you be my awesome road trip boy? I know you can!”
  7. Last, but not least, take things for YOU to survive the long trip too. A happy mom makes for a mama who can better handle those she is in charge of. Stock up on protein snacks, have plenty of water on hand and take some time to prep a rockin’ play list for the road. Audio books are a great idea to pass the time too!

road trip mama

Gotta love rest stops with decent bathroom facilities!Processed with VSCOcam with a6 preset

 Our final destination … thank you faithful steed/Acadia Denali for helping us get here safely!

Have you taken a long road trip with kids? What are some of your survival tips?


 A giant thank you to GM Seattle for sponsoring our road trip vehicle! We all have fond memories of “White Diamond” and are so thankful for all her bells and whistles!

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