Divorced Dad’s Guide to Road Trips with the Kids

road trip tips

By Katie Davis

It’s that time of year when summer is close, the kids will soon be out of school and you may just start thinking about a road trip adventure.

If this matches your plans, and especially if you’re planning to take the kids along, then you won’t want to miss our tips for planning out a great road trip.

Clean out the car: Driving, particularly driving with multiple people, is usually a lot more enjoyable when the car is actually clean. But sometimes, it’s hard for parents to keep their cars in tip-top shape. Plan to clean out your vehicle before the trip by throwing out trash, vacuuming it if necessary and tidying everything up. Then, you’ll have a clean slate.

During a road trip, it can be tricky keeping kids from making a mess. Let’s face it – your kids will be snacking in the car, playing games, spilling things and, for the less lucky of you all, perhaps even, err, redecorating the car.

So, make it a game to stop every so often and clean out all trash or have a quick cleanup time. Even if it’s mostly you will take on these duties, the kids can help by passing items your way, pointing out what needs cleaning and trying hard to keep things as clutter-free as possible.

It should also probably go without saying that baby wipes, spare towels, extra tissues and the like would be wise to bring along for the ride.

Plan ahead for both safety and fun: Preparation is forever useful when it comes to road trips. Make sure to map your route out beforehand, even if planning to make stops along the way. Calculate gas costs and mileage long before you hit the road.

Definitely make sure your driving record, documents and license are all good to go before the trip as well. As Ed Hewitt explained to Independent Traveler, “I don’t know about you, but it can sometimes seem like my new insurance card takes days or weeks to get into my glove box. If you are driving without current documentation of license, registration or insurance, you could be in for a world of hurt if you are pulled over for any reason.”

Keep spare tires, First Aid kits and anything else that’s important for securing road trip safety packed in the car at all times.

And if you’re worried about how you’re going to entertain your kid(s) during this longer-than-usual ride, you’ll certainly want to bring along activities like coloring books, trivia games, electronic devices and more to keep them busy. Also, come up with some creative road trip-oriented games beforehand, and you can suggest these if the ride gets a little dull

Stop for some roadside attractions: It’s important to have a decent route and list of directions planned out before you venture out. And, of course, time and gas are usually high priorities. But don’t let your schedule get so rigid that you can’t take advantage of what it means to be road tripping.

Unlike traveling by plane, bus or train, road trips allow for spontaneity and some random adventures. If you and your kids spot roadside attractions like The World’s Largest Catsup Bottle, The Casa Grande Ruins or Cadillac Ranch, don’t feel like you have to pass them by.

Before the trip even begins, allot some extra time to check out cool landmarks, quirky museums or family-owned shops. Particularly if you have older kids or teens along for the trip, try to get them engaged with selecting restaurants or activities. They’ll appreciate having a choice and getting to make a recommendation for the group. You never know what you could discover!

Make sure your kids feel involved with the trip, prepare well beforehand and keep an open mind while traveling – you all will be sure to have an exciting road trip experience.


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