Ten Tips for Making Family Road Trips Bearable!


“Are we there yet?!”

“How much longer?!”

“I’m bored!”

Road trips can sometimes feel like they’re never going to end! With summer break just around the corner, you and your family may have road trips planned. To some, long car rides can be stressful and boring. Your children might be over the road trip after the first few hours (or maybe even the first few minutes). The thought of a road trip with kids may seem impossible. “How will we make it?” “Will there be fighting the whole trip?” Family road trips are doable, with the right kind of planning and preparation. Road trips are the time to laugh, play games, see new places and create memories as a family. There are many activities and games to keep the road trip fun and entertaining for everybody! Work with your family to think of ways that you can all enjoy the long trip coming soon. Below is a short list of ideas:

  1. Silly Putty: This can be a simple, entertaining activity to do. Whether simply playing with silly putty in their hands or making something out of it this can help keep your children entertained for a while!
  2. Edible Necklaces: Thread snacks with holes, like cheerios or pretzels onto a string then tie it in a knot as a necklace. Your kids will have their own portable snacks for the trip.
  3. I spy: “I spy with my little eye, something purple.” One of the easiest and most common car games. This is an easy to learn game the younger kids can play but it can also involve your entire family.
  4. The car color game: Try to find cars of different colors for points! Each color is worth a different number of points. For example, two points for yellow, three for orange, four for green, and five for purple.
  5. License Plate Game: This is another very common game. The goal of this game is to spot license plates from different states, either writing down the states or crossing off from a pre-printed list.
  6. 20 Questions: The first player will think of a person, place, or thing, and then everyone will take a turn to ask a “yes” or “no” question until someone guesses what the player was thinking of. It’s a fun and easy way to keep kids busy!
  7. I’m going on a picnic: This is an alphabet-based game. Starting with the letter “A” and going up the alphabet each person has to state an item they want to bring on the picnic. For example, the first player says, “I’m going on a picnic and I’m bringing apples”. The second player might say “I’m going on a picnic and I’m bringing a ball.”
  8. Road Trip Scavenger Hunt: This activity does require planning ahead and getting all the supplies needed. There are different ways you could format this activity. You could either make your own list or there are websites (http://www.momsminivan.com/printables.html) where you can print a “bingo” card with the different items on it. Like bingo for each spot on the board you put things that you might see while driving (like a police car, bus, house, a gas station, a farm). During the trip, each player marks off the items on their card that they see. First one to find them all wins.
  9. Song Trivia: Play a song from different playlists and the first one to guess the song name gets a point! You can do soundtrack playlists from different movies and shows that your children enjoy. You can also do today’s hits that your children listen to on the radio.
  10. Carpool Karaoke: Song Trivia can easily turn into karaoke! Whether it’s a solo or a duo singing in the car can be fun!

Remember, you can do this! Take a deep breath! We’ve all survived road trips, and your family will too. You will create awesome memories that will live on for years! You will be able to have fun stories to talk about during the holidays. My family and I still talk about different road trip memories from when I was in elementary school! It helps to plan ahead and find the right games or activities to keep everyone having a good time. To get a good idea of what your children would enjoy, get their input on what activities they would like to do. Some children may not enjoy all the activities but a fun way to make sure the decisions are fair is to put all the activities in a jar with popsicle sticks or on a piece of paper in a Ziploc bag and pick out one activity every couple of hours or less often depending on how long your trip is. A fun filled trip will make the ride feel shorter than what it actually is!

Adriana Beltran was an intern with MLJ Adoptions during her senior year at IUPUI.

MLJ Adoptions is a Non-Profit, Hague-Accredited adoption service provider located in Indianapolis, Indiana, working in Africa, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Pacific Isles. We are passionate about serving children in need.