Tips and Tricks: Your Summer Family Road Trip

By Shay Brase, Publisher, Macaroni Kid Broomfield June 9, 2021

We love to travel together as a family.

Though very true, what I really mean is that we love to escape the day-to-day and visit places that bring us joy. We love to be in these places... not always the journey from point A to point B. The actual travel part doesn't really butter the bread of any parent with small children, does it?

With school almost out and road trip season approaching, I'm happy to pass along some travel tips that have helped my family of six make it through many flights and "Great American Road Trips" over the years.

Pre-packed snack bags for each child

Five minutes into any trip and everyone is hungry, am I right? Rather than play snack toss all day, we pre-pack gallon bags or lunch boxes for the entire day's travel. Our go-to items include granola bars, string cheese, apple slices, mandarin oranges (peeled!), and Goldfish crackers or pretzels. The kids know not to ask for anything else once their bag is empty... there is always more than enough to make it between meals. This also helps teach them to space things out for themselves, rather than eat everything at once and have to watch their siblings nosh later!

Bonus points for giving them an empty grocery bag to keep in the back for their trash.

Printable activities

Thanks to Pinterest, there are countless printable activity sheets to keep kids busy during travel. My preschooler loves road trip bingo, while my oldest to like to have printed maps to follow our routes and lists of every state's license plate that they can mark off as they see. Other ideas to search for are coloring sheets, word finds, and Junior Ranger kits. The JR kits are both engaging and educational if you plan to hit any National Parks on your journey. Click HERE to learn more about becoming a Junior Ranger!

Books/ audio books

Hit up the library before you go so you're stocked with new material! We love this console to keep our books, drawing pads, and Mad Libs organized. 

How about audiobooks? Most libraries offer free apps that give a number of free audio or ebooks each month. (We enjoy both Hoopla and Sora.)


If you've got hours in the vehicle ahead of you, consider trying a new podcast. Wow in the World, Story Pirates, and Big Life Kids podcasts are a few you'll here in my van on a regular basis. My husband and I like to listen to our own during road trips as well.

Netflix downloads and apps that don't require Wifi

Travel time is my favorite for relaxing screen time rules. Make sure tablets are charged and a couple of movies are downloaded before takeoff. This is as much for your sanity as theirs!

There are several apps that can be used without Wifi as well... perfect for in the car or in the air. We like Stack the States/ Stack the Countries, Sudoku, Chess, Toca Kitchen, and Sago Mini. HERE is a list of others that you may find helpful.

Check other MacKid sites!

Last but not least, let Macaroni Kid help you with stops along the way! We have a number of wonderful publishers across the map who have loaded their sites with advice on their areas and their events calendars with fun stops to hit along your way. Click here to search out other Macaroni Kid sites. 

Hope these help!

Do you have a travel tip that needs to be shared with other MacKid subscribers out there? Email me at and I'll pass it long!