Kevin Wagar shares tips for road-tripping with kids on Road Trip Ready Podcast.

11 Tips For Stress-Free Road-Tripping with Kids – Episode 5

Road trips with kids can be a fun and memorable experience for the whole family. Whether you have infants or teenagers, there are tips and strategies that can make the journey smoother and more enjoyable. Kevin Wager, an experienced travel writer over at Wandering Wagars, and father of two teenage boys shares his insights and experiences road-tripping with kids. Enjoy these valuable road trip tips for families. 

Continue reading or listen to this podcast episode here!

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In this episode, we cover:

  • [4:09] The impact of travel on kids
  • [6:19] Differences in road-tripping with kids of various ages
  • [12:43] Planning kid-friendly road trip stops
  • [15:01] Essential gear for road trips
  • [23:45] Navigating children’s schedules and travel
road trip tips for families

Why road trip with kids? 

One of the key advantages of road trips is their accessibility and flexibility, making them a more convenient option for families, especially those on a budget. This is particularly true for Canadians, who often deal with high travel costs when flying domestically. 

Family road trips allow you to explore at your own pace and make spontaneous stops along the way. Unlike other modes of transportation, such as tour buses or trains, road trips promote exploring places that may not be included in typical tourist itineraries. If something catches your eye, stop and check it out without the limitations of a set schedule. This includes remote areas and hidden gems off the beaten path!

Lastly, road trips can be educational and enriching for children. Deepening their understanding of the world around them, children can observe and learn about different landscapes, cultures, and communities on the road. They can even gain research skills through the planning process. Consider involving them in picking destinations and activities, which promotes decision-making and independence.

Kevin Wagar: “I can look back and I can say the amount of learning that’s happened with each new destination that we visit has been astronomical. Every place that we go, we learn about new cultures, we learn about new points of view. We learn about new food and experiences, and every time we learn something, it causes a shift in our own perspective about the world around us.”

Whether you’re thinking about road-tripping with toddlers or teenagers, here are eleven practical tips for road trips with kids that will help you create unforgettable family adventures. 

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1. Start Early

Kevin and Christina Wagar are a typical Canadian family who love traveling. They made a bold decision to travel as a family to incredible destinations, exposing their kids to different cultures and experiences. For them, traveling is an irreplaceable educational component that enriches their lives and broadens their perspectives.

Starting early has allowed their children to develop an appreciation for travel and they aim to inspire other families to experience the magic of travel through their own eyes. They hope that parents will show their children just how amazing this world is.

Kevin Wagar: “When they’re babies, that tends to be when parents are the most afraid of traveling and road-tripping with their kids because we look at kids as these fragile little eggs that we can’t risk damaging. But the truth is that they’re far more resilient than we ever give them credit for.” 

road tripping with kids

2. Start Small 

When parents hesitate to bring their kids on road trips, it’s often due to concerns about the challenges that come with traveling with children. Some common worries include dealing with screaming, fighting, frequent bathroom breaks, and the infamous “Are we there yet?” question.

If long car rides with kids scare you, start small, especially for families with young children. Kevin suggests, “Do a camping trip at the local provincial or state park. Or do a road trip to a small town nearby and check it out. Look for a cool restaurant.”

Families can ease into the road trip experience by starting with shorter trips and building confidence over time. Taking that first step, no matter how small, can lead to bigger and more adventurous journeys in the future.

3. Consider all interests

Kid-friendly road trips are engaging and educational. When planning a road trip with kids, it is important to consider their needs and interests. This includes mapping out spots along the route to offer breaks and opportunities for exploration. 

While parents often gravitate towards children’s museums and play places, countless other experiences can also be child-friendly. The key is to approach any experience in the right way. As long as it is not dangerous or inappropriate, pretty much anything can be child-friendly. 

Kevin recommends short hikes, visiting viewpoints with scenic views, or even participating in food tours. The goal is to make children active participants in the experience rather than being dragged along as an afterthought. 

Kevin Wagar: “We always like to talk to the kids beforehand and say, hey, what do you guys want to do? What’s interesting to you? So we can ensure that every trip includes something they’re also interested in. That way, everything is balanced out. Everyone gets to have an experience or two within that trip that’s focused on them, and the rest of us get to enjoy it from their perspective.” 

4. Plan Ahead

Before embarking on a road trip, plan ahead. This includes choosing destinations, mapping out routes, and considering your children’s interests and preferences. When it comes to staying organized, use packing cubes to separate clothes for each family member, have a separate laundry bag for dirty clothes, and pack charging cables for all devices. 

5. Pack Snacks and Entertainment

One of the challenges of road-tripping with kids is keeping them entertained and satisfied. Pack a variety of snacks that are easy to eat on the go, such as fruits, granola bars, nuts, sandwiches, and crackers.

How about road trip activities for kids? Bring along games, books, and electronic devices to keep them occupied during long stretches of driving.

6. Make Frequent Stops

Kids have shorter attention spans and may get restless during long drives. Plan for frequent stops to stretch their legs, use the restroom, and explore interesting places along the way. This can break up the monotony of the journey and provide opportunities for fun and discovery. 

Listen to this podcast episode on Spotify. 

7. Embrace the Chaos

Road trips with kids may not always go as planned, and that’s okay. Embrace the chaos and be flexible with your itinerary. Practice patience. Allow for unexpected detours and spontaneous adventures. Sometimes, the best memories are made when things don’t go according to plan.

8. Create a Comfortable Environment

Ensure that the car is comfortable for everyone. Bring pillows, blankets, and favorite stuffed animals to help children feel cozy and relaxed during the trip. Consider investing in car organizers or seatback storage to keep essentials within reach.

Kevin keeps his kids entertained during road trips by allowing them to use iPads or small devices with games and movies. He emphasizes the importance of making the journey enjoyable by hyping up the destinations and teasing what’s next. 

9. Engage in Educational Activities

As we mentioned, road trips provide unique learning opportunities. Encourage children to observe their surroundings and ask questions. Play games that involve geography, trivia, or spotting different landmarks. 

10. Maintain a Positive Attitude

Road trips can be challenging sometimes, but maintaining a positive attitude is key. Children often pick up on their parents’ emotions, so staying calm and patient can help create a more enjoyable atmosphere for everyone.

11. Capture Memories

Document your road trip by taking photos, recording videos, and keeping a travel journal. Encourage children to write about their experiences and draw pictures of the places they visit. These memories will serve as a lasting reminder of your adventures together as a family.

Read Next: 20+ Travel Books For Kids That Will Inspire Wanderlust

Road-tripping with kids can be a rewarding and enriching experience. Following these tips can make the journey more enjoyable for the whole family. Remember to plan ahead, pack snacks and entertainment, embrace flexibility, and have fun. The journey is just as important as the destination, so make the most of your time together on the open road. Happy road-tripping!

Other Episodes You’ll Enjoy Next:

Practical Tips To Road Trip With Pets – Episode 4

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