By: Courtney Byrne
This post is sponsored by Motel 6, but all opinions are my own.
Who’s ready to hit the road? If you’ll be taking a road trip for Spring Break or you have one planned this summer, we’ve got some tips to share! After many years and many road trips with little ones, I’m sharing tips for surviving a road trip with kids.
Whether it’s a couple hours or a couple days in the car, it’s never a breeze with kids. To add to the craziness in our car, 4 of the 6 of us get car sick. We love traveling and many of our trips include a road trip – we drive to different places along the Jersey Shore in the summer, ski trips and even as far as North Carolina to visit family at the beaches there (14 hours for us!). So, over the years after much trial and error I’ve discovered what helps and what adds to the chaos.
10 Tips for Surviving a Spring Break Road Trip with Kids
- Pack a cleanup kit: paper towels, baby wipes and a couple of small trash bags (you never know when you’ll need it!)
- Fill a trash bag at each stop: whether we’re stopping for the night or stopping for a bathroom break, we have the kids gather any trash that’s accumulated in one of the small trash bags and we toss it. It helps to not have the car become a total disaster by the end of the trip
- Plan stops where kids can run around: instead of stopping at a restaurant where the kids will have to continue to sit, try and stop somewhere that has an outdoor spot to run, a play area, etc. We’ve even opted for a Target or Walmart so they can walk the aisles!
- Find a fun stop along the way that’s right off the highway: for example, there’s an exit on I-95 for the Pez Candy Factory. It’s about 2 min off the highway and only a few $ for kids to enter and was a ton of fun for my crew!
- Car sick tips: because if you have people in the car that get motion sickness… one of the keys to surviving the trip is keeping them feeling good! Don’t drive on an empty stomach. Even if you plan to leave super early in the AM, make sure they get up and have a good meal first. If you want them to watch a show, either use the car tv (if you have one) or get something (safety approved) to have the movie device on the seat back – letting them play on a device or watch a movie looking down in their lap is asking for an upset stomach!
- Have a change of clothes bag: have this easily accessible as you never know when you will need it! You don’t want to have to dig through a whole suitcase over a spilled drink
- Bring separate overnight bags: if you plan to stop for the night on the road trip, have a separate overnight bag so you don’t have to unpack the whole car
- Don’t plan your whole trip around their sleep patterns: because…they’re kids on a road trip and totally unpredictable! Plan around traffic, when you want to arrive, etc. I’ve found even if I leave right at bedtime or naptime it doesn’t guarantee they’ll sleep. Often, they just fall asleep in the car whenever they want…so plan around the best time for driving and just hope for the best with kids sleeping!
- Pack surprise backpacks: this is a new trick and it’s been great. I pack each kid their own backpack and leave it in their seats. They are not allowed to peek before the trip. There will be books, coloring, a few new trinkets (from $ store) and their snacks for the trip. They get so excited to hop in the car and get on the road because they know their “bag of tricks” is waiting for them. This also helps them know what snacks they have for the trip and not to keep asking me for snacks the while time
- Plan to stop: last but not least, my best tip for a road trip with kids is to plan to stop and give everyone in the car a break. My kids get so excited to stop overnight places. It gives them something to look forward to on the drive and time to stretch, sleep in a bed and jump around. It also gives the drivers (parents!) a much-needed break. Sometimes, even if it’s a day trip to see a new place, zoo, beach, etc. it’s great to find an affordable spot to spend the night and drive home the next day. It makes it easier and more fun.
And where to stop on a road trip? We recently checked out a Motel 6 and discovered how family-friendly they are! Many Motel 6 locations around the country have made major renovations and there’s even Studio 6 locations that offer larger rooms with a kitchenette, typically for longer stays. I was really impressed by how clean and comfortable the rooms were.
Motel 6 is super budget-friendly, so it won’t add a big cost to stay mid-road trip. If you need a spot to stay for Spring Break, you can use budget-friendly Motel 6 and save money for more activities at your destination. We loved how welcoming and friendly the staff were during our stay!
My oldest asked “why is it called Motel 6? Is there a Motel 7, 8, 9, 10 too?”. It made me curious, too so I looked up the answer: The first Motel 6 opened in Santa Barbara in 1962 as the first real economy motel designed for the “no-frills” traveler. The original price for a one night stay was $6 and that’s where the brand name came from! There are now over 1,400 locations across the US and Canada.
Besides being budget friendly and convenient here are a few more reasons Motel 6 is family friendly:
- Kids 17 and under stay free
- They’re pet friendly
- They have Pools
- Most have laundry facilities (key for fellow families with car sick kids!)
- Free WiFi
- Free morning coffee (much needed on a road trip!)
Wherever your next road trip takes you, I hope these tips make it much easier to survive the drive with kids in tow! A road trip with kids is never a “quick trip” and requires patience and an eye on the prize/destination. Remember to take your time and find a Motel 6 to rest a bit and have a little fun!