4 Tips for Traveling with Children

by - September 10, 2018


Article written by Danny Knight

Few situations are more stressful and frustrating than having a car full of screaming children on a long road trip.

To most, just the thought of having to travel any amount of distance with a troublesome child can cause them to cringe.

Not only is this frustrating, but it’s also dangerous due to the distraction the child may cause while you’re driving. 

While many of us will avoid having to drive longer distances with a small child, sometimes it is simply unavoidable.

Fortunately, there are ways of making the trip easier, more relaxing, and less frustrating. Try some of these simple tips to get started.

1. Keep them busy

Whether you allow your children to utilize electronic gadgets or not, giving your children something to do will distract them and keep them busy.

If you allow electronics, turning on a kids’ movie with a phone or tablet is sure to keep them occupied.

You could even purchase a DVD player that straps to the back of the seat to provide your child with continuous entertainment without having to worry about batteries running low. 

If electronics aren’t allowed, you could get some coloring books and crayons so they can draw during the ride. Make sure you don’t leave the crayons in the car, though!

If you have an extremely small child, try having a toy basket within reach so that you can hand them a toy when they inevitably throw theirs in the floor.

Keeping a steady stream of new toys available will keep your child from becoming bored. Just make sure to wipe down and clean toys so your children can avoid germs while traveling. 

2. Break up the trip

Sitting in a car seat for too long will make a kid antsy and stir-crazy.

If you break up the trip by stopping at rest stops or parks along the way, you can let them run off some steam and reduce boredom.

According to USA Today, many rest stops and travel plazas are getting upgrades, so add these as possible stopping spots while you’re traveling.

A good pace is for every two or three hours of travel, 15-20 minutes of play should be allowed.

For smaller children, you might want to break up the trip even more and provide them just as much playtime as car time.

Make sure to give yourself plenty of time, so you can make these stops without being late to your destination. 

3. Take snacks

Healthy, car-friendly foods are almost always a must.

Dry cereals are yummy and easy to clean up. Dehydrated fruits like kiwi, pineapple, or banana will prevent stains.

Giving them a little snack along the way will drive away hunger and the crankiness that comes with it. 

You could even plan to have a whole meal in the car.

If your children take a nap right after lunchtime, you might want to plan on eating lunch in the car to cut down on stopping time and take advantage of the time they’ll be asleep.

Try easy foods like PB and J, crackers or veggies with hummus, wraps, sandwiches, and protein boxes. 

4. Play music they like

Playing music your kids like will calm them down and keep them relaxed.

Be sure to pack a CD or create a playlist catered to your child’s tastes before you leave, and turn it on whenever you or your child are nearing a breaking point.

Remember that music has many benefits in early childhood.

According to Bright Horizons, music can accelerate brain growth. This is a distracting measure you can feel good about! 


Traveling with children can be extremely stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. Try a few of these tips to avoid emotional breakdowns and screaming matches while you’re traveling.

For extra tips, ask your children what they would like to do while traveling. 


About the Author: Danny Knight

Danny is a dad living in Philadelphia. He enjoys DIY projects almost as much as raising his two children. He is the co-creator of FixItDads.com, which offers tips for home improvement projects.


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