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We like family travel. We don’t often get to do family travel for fun, but we somehow get to travel more often than not. Family travel involves quite a bit of prep to ensure the kids are entertained, we have everything we need, and nothing goes amiss.
Of course, most of it falls on mom, but I am sharing my stress-reducing ways to help others with their family travel plans. Plus of course, the free printable packing list that I swear by!
Disclosure: Experiencing Parenthood received some form of compensation (promotional code, product, monies, etc.) in exchange for this post. Compensation received does not impact the thoughts and opinions expressed in this post.
Games for Family Travel
I Spy: A classic game of “I spy with my little eye…” Using descriptive words for the object you see. Others have to guess what you spy. The first one to guess correctly – it is their turn to spy while everyone guesses!
Auto Backseat Bingo: We used these growing up and it always made for fun! I recommend the cards that have a slide cover rather than magnetic buttons to cover spaces (for choking hazard). Plus, more than one kid can play at a time so that’s always a bonus – no fighting over who’s turn it is!
ABC game using signs: Using words and letters found while driving, start at A and work your way to Z. I have played a variation of the game. Game 1 is just finding the letter. Game 2 is finding a word that starts with that letter. Good luck either way with Q and X!
ABC game using license plates: A twist from above, use only license plates to go from A to Z and try to find all 50 states on license plates.
Use a map to color in, write it down, however you want to keep track; try to find all 50 state license plates while traveling!
I’m Going on a Picnic: This is a fun memory and alphabet game that can be adjusted to younger kids.
For older kids, you start with “I’m going on a picnic and bringing…” You start at the beginning of the alphabet. For example, Player 1 says “I’m going on a picnic and bringing apples.” You start at A and go to Z, adding their own word AND repeating the previous items being brought. So… “I’m going on a picnic and bringing apples and blueberries.” “I’m going on a picnic and bringing apples, blueberries, and cherries.”
If you have younger kids, you can just go through the alphabet and forget repeating the previous items. It is still fun to play!
Squiggle Spin and Seek:
SQUIGGLE Spin and Seek is a fun hidden-object game that will keep everyone busy for hours! Spin the wheel and find the hidden objects you land on. Use the included color highlighter to mark each object once found. Spin the wheel again to select another set of hidden objects or try an entirely new page… they are all unique. Have a race! Compete against your friends and see who can find the 3 hidden objects first. Be careful, it’s addicting! It’s great for travel and you’ll never run out of batteries!
Squiggle Spin and Seek is a great way to keep kids occupied in the car when driving around town or when traveling!
Activities for Family Travel
Travel DVD players are amazing! We bring one with us and put the DVDs they pick out into a CD carrying case.
Kid CDs. Chances are that where you are going, the radio is going to cut in and out. Our kids love to listen to their music.
Coloring books and color crayons.
Handheld games (if you have them). I must say though, this is a toss up. Sometimes the handheld electronics cause more issues! (And if they bring a tablet or video game type hand-held game – bring headphones! You will thank me later!)
Books to read. Paperback, hard-cover, e-reader – however your kids prefer to read! Bring it! (Bring audiobooks too! That can be fun for everyone!)
Comfort for Family Travel
Dress the kiddos in something comfortable when traveling for long periods. We try comfy pants or shorts, flip flops so they can kick them off to relax and slip them on when we stop, and a shirt comfortable enough for the weather.
Pillow or pillow pet (they make great pillows for everyone, including mom!) Night time driving can be tough but if the kids can be comfy, its easier to fall asleep!
Favorite blanket and stuffed animal. Our kids each have a special blanket they sleep with and a special stuffed animal they sleep with. Those items get special treatment in riding unpacked with the kids.
Food for Family Travel
Non-perishable snacks such as crackers, bread, peanut butter, peanuts, pretzels, bananas, apples, oranges. Kid favorites that they can eat on the road when they are hungry or so that you have them on hand for the just in case.
Drinks. We usually buy a cheap case of water to have on hand and then usually a drink or two for the kids to have. The more you bring with, the less you have to stop, but you want to refrain from overly sugary drinks. Squirrely kids contained in a car for a long trip… you do the math. (And moderate how much they drink or you’ll be stopping to potty every 5 minutes!)
A cooler filled with perishable items to snack on. For us, that would mean the baby’s milk, lunch meat (two thirds of my kids love to eat lunch meat plain so it’s a good protein snack), string cheese, Stonyfield yogurt pouches or Stonyfield smoothies.
Click on the image to be taken to the printable PDF
Miscellaneous for Family Travel
Safety items: gallons of water, blankets, flash lights, flares. The safety essentials in case something happens with the car and you end up stranded.
Car charger for your cell phone. Fortunately, most vehicles have USB ports too so you can bring chargers for your tables and ereaders. You can usually find a way to plug in the hand held games too!
Toilet paper – just in case.
First Aid kit. I swear it never fails; the kids always manage to get hurt when we are away from a place that has first aid necessities.
The Joovy Foocot is a kid’s dream cot! Your child will love knowing where they will nap or sleep while they are away from their own bed. Parents love the flexibility and portability of the Foocot.
Setting up the cot in new locations will give your child a secure and early sense of where they will sleep, making bedtime or naptime much easier. Parents love the ease of use and compactness of the Foocot. It is perfect for travel, day care, sleepovers, cruises, hotels, camping and playing.
The Foocot has two storage pockets perfect for storing a flashlight, toothbrush, snacks, special toy or favorite book.
The Foocot supports a child up to 48 inches tall or 75 pounds. This very durable children’s cot is made of a sturdy steel frame with top grade 600D nylon fabric. Each Foocot includes a heavy-duty 100% cotton sheet (additional sheets sold separately). It folds ultra-small for travel convenience and comes with a travel bag made of the same 600D nylon.
For added comfort, the optional Foocot Quilted Mattress Pad is available (sold separately).
The Joovy Foocot is amazing for travel (and we are bringing it camping!)
Usually, we can get 2 people per bed and the Joovy Foocot works great for that third kid!
I know it’s a lot, but we are a family of 5 so that requires a lot of prep! Be sure to grab my FREE Printable Packing List to make sure you don’t miss anything. (It works best if you print one per person that you are packing for and then cross them off as you go!)