Sarah Lyons, contributing writer

With spring break and summer vacations on the horizon, parents everywhere are thinking about the complexities of getting everyone to their fun-filled destination safely and sanely. Whether you take a two-hour plane trip or a 14-hour car ride, traveling with kids can be stressful. Here are some tips for making traveling with kids more enjoyable:

  • Fight hunger. Hunger can affect kids’ behavior and attitude. During travel, pack easy snacks for the car like raisins, smoothies, and crackers, or other individually wrapped snacks that may seem like a treat for the kids. You may want to plan stops that allow kids to burn energy. Packing a picnic for a park along the way lets fresh air and enjoy open space to play.
  • Timing. Timing is everything when you are traveling with little ones. Try to plan travel around normal nap times or bed times so kids will rest during the majority of the drive. Also plan breaks often enough that kids can get out and stretch. Recognize that a trip with kids is going to take longer. Leave extra time in your travel schedule for impromptu stops, as well as planned ones. Websites like can help you find attractions and hidden gems along the way.
  • Involve kids. Cut road trip boredom by playing games like license plate or car color bingo. Encourage kids to keep a trip journal: Have them write down or draw favorite memories from each stop and add stickers and ticket stubs.
  • Surprises. It is always nice to have a few surprises up your sleeve to break up the trip. When your kids get bored pull out a few surprise items — new magazines or books, crayons and a new coloring book, special snacks, small activities, or maybe a new movie to watch.
  • Electronics. For most families, the go-to solution for road trip boredom is electronics. DVDs and video games are a great way to kill time in the car. You may want to consider loosening limits on screen time while traveling, but when you get to your destination restrict time more than usual.