Traveling with kids can seem daunting. Fortunately, there are ways to make it easier. In this article, I will share my top road trip tips for families. These are tricks I have learned after years of full time travel with my mini adventurers and they have definitely made travel days more pleasant!

This article may contain compensated links, please read our disclaimer for more information.

When Possible, Keep Drives Short

When we first got on the road, we would travel 600 miles in a single day. However, we quickly learned that super long travel days are a recipe for disaster. At the end of a 600 mile drive, we are all tired and grumpy and working together nicely to get the RV parked and set up almost certainly won’t happen.

These days, about 250 miles per day is our absolute max and it makes traveling so much more enjoyable. Therefore, keeping drives on the shorter side whenever possible is number one of my road trip tips for families or for anyone, really.

Get on the Road Early

I’m not a morning person, so this particular one of my road trip tips for families is hard for me. That said, if you can manage to keep driving days short and get on the road early you can be in your campsite by mid-afternoon. This leaves time for an afternoon hike or trip to the playground and means you can cook dinner without feeling rushed.

Another reason getting on the road early is one of my top road trip tips for families? You never know what might go wrong on a travel day. Getting started early means you will have plenty of time to tackle any issues that may arise before the sun goes down.

…or Drive Overnight

We use this road trip tip for families less often, but it is a handy one to have in your back pocket if you need to make an especially long drive. Driving overnight means the kids will most likely sleep in the backseat while you cover some ground.

Of course, you will want to rest up before you head out and you will need a driving buddy to switch off with so you both can get some rest. Additionally, it is a good idea to put everyone in their PJs, play some white noise or calming music, and make sure everyone has a pillow and a blanket for comfort. Some families might also choose to give their kids a melatonin gummy.

Pack Food

Hangry kids are not fun to road trip with. Fortunately, you can avoid this situation by packing plenty of food (definitely a key one of my road trip tips for families). We usually stop at a restaurant for lunch (and use the stop to stretch, use the restroom, and get gas as well) but you could easily pack a lunch if you’d rather not splurge on eating out. Whether or not you pack a lunch, snacks are essential though.

Grab Resealable Containers

Small reusable and resealable containers are perfect for packing single servings of snacks like goldfish crackers, popcorn, fruit, and veggies. They remove the need to buy individual packs of your favorite snacks, saving money and cutting back on packaging. We also appreciate that kids can reseal them if they don’t want the entire serving at once, preventing back seat messes.

Note: For toddlers, I actually prefer these spill-proof snack cups, which can’t be sealed, but do prevent messes. 

Invest in Spill-Proof Cups

Listen, generally speaking I am not a fan of handing a 5-year-old a sippy cup. That said, when it comes to road trips, I’m all about the spill-proof cups and I will even go so far as to insist my 12-year-old uses a cup with a lid.

That said, there are spill-proof cups out there that are not sippy cups. These Contigo cups are an excellent example of this. They are big enough for bigger kids and have a straw rather than a spout, but they are also 100% spill-proof, so they will save your back seat from any and all sticky liquids.

Steer Clear of Melting Foods

I have learned the hard way — on more than one occasion, actually — that melting foods are not the way to go when it comes to road trips with kids. Anything that can melt will melt all over your seat or floor. Chocolate and gummy candies are some of the things that really should not be allowed into a vehicle due to their melting potential.

Pack Entertainment

A list of road trip tips for families wouldn’t be complete without some entertainment suggestions. I won’t mention the obvious option of playing the alphabet game (though that is a totally valid option). Instead, I’ll list some ideas you may not have thought of.

Hands on Fun

I don’t love letting my kids stare at screens the entire day. It happen sometimes, but generally, I like to keep a box or bag filled with hands-on road trip fun.

The items below are perfect for road trips:

  • Water Wow
  • Color Wonder
  • Magnadoodle
  • Colorforms
  • Window Clings
  • Wikki Sticks (or Pipe Cleaners)
  • Beads
  • Road Trip Bingo Cards

Keep these things in a special container that you pull out only on travel days to make them extra special.

Audio Books, Music, and Podcasts

If the hands-on fun isn’t doing the trick any more, the next step is to try some audio entertainment. We love listening to audiobooks as a family, as it keeps my husband and I entertained along with the kids. Podcasts can be equally entertaining for the whole crew. Of course, music is a good fall back is your kids need to dance to get some wiggles out.

I recommend the following:

Screen Time Gear

Of course, there are times when the screens come in handy. Make sure you pack the necessary accessories in addition to the tablets.


  • Extra Long Charging Cables – Cables that reach to the backseat are immensely helpful.
  • Portable Power Bank – This will allow you to recharge devices without plugging into the vehicle.
  • Headphones – Headphones are a lifesaver and are a must-have item for every person in our vehicle (besides the driver, of course).
  • Headphone Splitter – If your kids like to watch shows together and you have an old fashioned headphone jack, a headphone splitter can be helpful. If you use Bluetooth to connect your headphones, a device like this one will do the trick.

Do Schoolwork on the Road

Schoolwork may not be the most fun thing to do while driving, but if you do it while you drive, you won’t have to do it once you park, meaning the kids will be able to get out and play. Because of this, I consider this one of my top road trip tips for families who roadschool.

If your kids do online schoolwork, you will want to make sure you have a hotspot available for cell signal. Otherwise, packing books, paper, and a pencil is easy enough to do.

If your kids have trouble focusing on written work while riding in a vehicle, consider doing some other sort of roadschooling. Some of the podcasts mentioned above can totally count as schoolwork, and if you choose episodes that line up with what you’re working on already or with places you’re headed, that’s even better.

Putting on a documentary for all the kids to watch is another good option, and completing Junior Ranger books for places you’ll be visiting is pretty easy work that might be good for travel days.

Be Potty Savvy

Unfortunately, our family has had travel days that I swear involved more bathroom breaks than actual driving. For this reason, one of the best road trip tips for families is to have a plan when tackling restroom stops.

Plan Bathroom Breaks

Look at your route the night before you leave and figure out where you will stop along the way. If you have young kids, you will probably need to stop every 60-90 minutes, otherwise, you might be able to stretch that to 2 hours. Figure out where the sweet spot is for your family and then have breaks planned at those intervals all along your route, so you aren’t caught needing to go with no place to stop.

Everyone Must Try

When you do stop to use the restroom, make sure everyone tries to go. Make it a rule that everyone has to try every time you stop and you’ll find yourself making far fewer unplanned emergency pit stops.

Pack For Emergencies

The good news is that because you have your home with you when you travel, you can actually use the restroom anywhere as long as you’re able to pull over. That said, if your restroom is hard to get to, you might want to pack a few things for emergency bathroom stops.

Very young kids might need a potty seat easily accessible. A change of underwear and pants is also good to have on hand for little ones and everyone will appreciate a roll of TP if they find themselves using the restroom on the side of the road. If you plan to use the toilet in your RV in emergency situations and don’t keep water in your fresh tank, a jug of water for flushing is good to keep close.

Choose Engaging Pit Stops

While some of your bathroom breaks will likely be purely for bathroom purposes, it can be super helpful to throw in some pit stops that include opportunities for stretching your legs. We like to throw one of these into every travel day plan, and sometimes, depending on the length of the drive, we will even include a couple.

In many cases, the leg stretching pit stop is merely a rest area with a playground or a McDonald’s with a Play Place. That said, we have also been known to stop at NPS sites and state parks for a look around a visitor center or a hike or even a museum or zoo for a short burst of learning fun. The trick is, of course, figuring out where to park the rig. We try to use Google Maps street view or call ahead to help us determine whether we will be able to park in a particular place before we go.

Safety Road Trip Tips for Families: Plan for Problems

As mentioned above, you never know what kinds of problems might crop up on travel days. Travel day issues are frustrating no matter what, but can be even more stressful when traveling with kids. For this reason, one of the most important road trip tips for families is to be prepared for issues to arise.

Carry good insurance and RV-specific roadside assistance. Leave early in the day if you can, so you have time to address issues before the day ends and travel with nomadic friends whenever possible. Having this safety net will help you feel more at ease while traveling.

There you have it, my top road trip tips for families! Hopefully these tricks help make your travel days go more smoothly, so you can fully enjoy the magic of RVing with kids.

Join Fulltime Families

Fulltime Families Members get access to the best resources, community and discounts.

Fulltime Families is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to,, Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of, Inc. or its affiliates.