Having traveled several times to Pittsburgh and back with small children, I have learned a couple of things about surviving a road trip with kids. It’s all about survival—just kidding (well, sort of!). The trip to Pittsburgh is about 10 hours (a couple of hours more if you factor in much needed stops!).

Believe it or not, we have done the trip every time without a DVD player! What are our secrets to success? Here they are:

  1. Bring snacks—LOTS of snacks! Juice boxes are good too. I packed a giant snack bag of healthy treats for the kids. Since it’s fall and nearing Halloween. I decided to get festive and get the Snyder’s sack of pretzels—the one that’s decorated like a large Jack-o-lantern-and some of the Annie’s Bunny Grahams in little treat size packages (also decorated for Halloween). We also packed coconut water/100% juice boxes, trail mix, apples, and some sugary treats for bribes!
  2. Be smart about the toys (and number of them) that you bring on the trip! On this trip, I limited the boys to the number of toys they could fit in their dinosaur box (from Neat-Oh). The box unfolds into a play mat, which I love! It was an easy way to give them a visual for the amount they could “pack” and filing the box was a fun activity. It was slightly humorous to see what they decided on. Items included: a kaleidoscope, a hammer, various cars, and bubbles. When we got to my grandmother’s house, they used the mat as a way to “contain” their toys!
  3. Stop every few hours or more often if needed. I know this drives some people nuts—my father would never stop on road trips—but it works really well for toddlers and young children. If you prepare them ahead of time by telling them where the next stop will be, it gives them something to look forward to. On one trip, for example, we planned to hit the Crayola museum in Easton, PA. The boys loved it, and they still talk about it. There are so many fun places to stop like recreation areas, local attractions, eateries, etc. You can even let the kids give their input on stops—that way they feel like part of the decision making process.
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What are you tips for enjoying the road with little ones?

Neat-Oh provided 30 Something Mother Runner with the Dinosaur Collector Toy Box and Play Set for review. All opinions are my own. 

Jessica Morrison

2 comments on “3 Tips for Surviving a Road Trip With Kids”

  1. I admire you for making it that far without a DVD player. Our trip to Maine was half that distance, and we caved and put the DVD player in the car. We only watched one movie, though, and relied on toys (dry-erase boards and dry-erase crayons, matchbox cars, stickers), audiobooks, and iPods loaded with their favorite music to get us through the rest of the trip. It went well!!! And yes, stops are SO necessary – we all would have gone nuts if we had tried to drive straight through.

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