This week our family loaded up in the car to drive down to South Padre Island for a week-long vacation. I’m so excited to unplug and spend quality time with the boys and my family at the beach. It’s almost a six hour drive from Houston, which means we had to plan ahead to make sure the boys would be entertained! I’m sharing a few of my go-to tips that I’ve picked up over the years, especially on our frequent four hour road trips to see my parents in Corsicana! I hope these 5 tips are helpful as you plan your family’s summer road trips.

1. Stop Once Along the Way

To avoid stretching a six hour trip into a whole day, I like to plan one stop for a bathroom break and leg stretch. Otherwise, it’s full steam ahead with lunch and snacks packed in the car! This might seem intense, but it really makes a big difference in getting to our destination on time and in good spirits. You also avoid any conflicts about where to stop, plus your lunch and snacks will most likely be much healthier!

2. Pack LOTS of Food!

Road trip success with kids revolves around being well-fed. I pack a cooler with lunches and snacks to make sure no kid (or parent!) gets hangry. It also helps pass the time to have a little something to munch on! Packing plenty of food also keeps us on track and avoids unnecessary stops along the way.

3. Sneak in a Bonding Game with Your Kids

Time in the car with your kids is the perfect opportunity to hear about their day or to ask them general questions about their thoughts and feelings. I recently found a list of intentional questions to ask the boys that is so helpful in getting the conversation started. I love hearing Knox and Andrew’s  imaginative and sweet thoughts and opinions at their current ages and will always treasure these car conversations as the years go by.

4. Make Sure Everyone is Comfortable

When you’re in your car for hours at a time, it’s so important to be comfortable and relaxed. As anyone with little ones knows, keeping a car clean is not the easiest, but you can at least ensure that everyone is comfortable with the proper seating and provisions (i.e. snacks and beverages!). We pack blankets, pillows, stuffed animals, toys. When it comes to provisions, I always keep “emergency snacks” on hand for when the boys are hungry or thirsty to make sure that we get to where we are going without any tears or unnecessary stops. If I’m being honest, snacks, a coffee, and bottle of water are crucial for me to feel O.K. about being in the car for long periods of time as well!

5. Turn on a Podcast

Whether I’m in the car by myself, or in the car with the boys, I love having a good podcast cued up for educational entertainment. I have my own favorite list of podcasts, and there are also so many children’s podcasts available now that are great for boosting their imagination and audio learning. While sometimes screens feel necessary for long road trips, I love giving the podcast a go first. Any way to sneak in some education on-the-go is ideal!

Do you have any tips for making the most of your time in the car with kids? I’d love to hear in the comments below!