8 Essential Tips to Make Your Summer Road Trip a Blast

"Are we there yet?" Your family road trip doesn't have to be a nightmare. Here are 8 great ways to keep your kids happy and your sanity intact.

Cheryl Butler
8-minute read
Episode #531

#6 - Don't forget audio entertainment.

Audiobooks are perfect for passing the time on long car rides. One of my family’s favorite ways to stay entertained in the car, even on short trips, is to listen to an audio book.

A long-time favorite is the entire Harry Potter series. Harry Potter never gets old. Speaking of timeless classics, another amazing listen is The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis—this always gets my top vote! You can never go wrong with Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White. My family’s forever top pick is The Princess Bride by William Goldman.

Other wonderful selections include:

  • The Ramona Quimby series.
  • The Henry Huggins series.
  • The House at Pooh Corner
  • Little House in the Big Woods (My 13-year old loves this series)
  • Mr. Popper’s Penguins
  • The Wind in the Willows
  • Come On, Seabiscuit

Visit Audible.com for more family greats!

#7 - Ready a few road trip games.

No family road trip would be complete without a few family-friendly games.

  • I Spy. “I spy with my little eye ... something blue.” This family-friendly game is perfect for younger kids that don’t read yet. Follow these simple directions: One person spies something and recites the line, ending in a clue. Everyone else takes turns trying to guess the mystery item. Believe it or not, this can even be fun for adults.
  • Going to the Beach. This is a story memory game where someone says “I’m going to the beach and I’m going to bring ...” and then lists an item. The next person begins "I’m going to the beach and I’m going to bring ...” and must list the first person’s item before adding their own item. The list grows and grows and the first person to not be able to correctly list all the items is loses, or is out if you have enough people to play in elimination rounds. You can change the place you’re going to keep things interesting. 
  • Scavenger Hunt. Before you leave prepare a list of common things you’d see along the road: traffic signs, fast-food stops, a motorcycle, a delivery truck, a police car, an RV, farm animals, and anything else you can think of. You can personalize it if you know the route well. Each person tries to check off as many of the scavenger hunt items as they can spot. The winner gets something you’ve tucked away like a new book or some fun items you’d find easily at your local dollar store.
  • The Quiet Game. (Every parent’s favorite!) Everyone sees how long they can be quiet and whoever speaks the first loses. (This is an especially fun game to play with kids when you all need to decompress).

For more inspiration, check out Dr. Biscuits' Radical Road Trip - Kids Travel Game - 60 Fun Games to Play in Your Car.

#8 - Snag all the photo ops you can get!

Don’t forget to grab as many photo-ops along the way (both in and out of the car) as possible. These will be fun to look at some rainy day when everyone’s a bit bored.

Once you’ve returned safe and sound from your family’s road trip getaway, take a few minutes to recap the highpoints. Create a mini scrapbook or these fun mementos with 5 Creative Ways to Use Your Family Photos.


How do you make road trips a blast for your family? Please share your thoughts in the comments section at quickanddirtytips.com/mighty-mommy, post your ideas on the Mighty Mommy Facebook page or email me at mommy@quickanddirtytips.com. Visit my family-friendly boards at Pinterest.com/MightyMommyQDT.

Are you listening to the Mighty Mommy podcast? Let me know what you love. I'd also love your questions. Leave me a voicemail at 401-284-7575. Your message could be featured in a future podcast!


About the Author

Cheryl Butler

Cheryl L. Butler is the mother of eight children. Her experiences with infertility, adoption, seven pregnancies, and raising children with developmental delays have helped her become a resource on the joys and challenges of parenting. Call the Mighty Mommy listener line at 401-284-7575 to ask a parenting question. Your call could be featured on the show!