The community pools are open, school is out until August, and the temperatures are high. For many of us, summer break means summer vacation season, whether it’s a small “staycation,” a quick day trip or a longer road trip with family. These are amazing ways to create fun memories and introduce our kids to new, exciting places…but we have to get there first!

Here are 5 simple road trip survival guide tips to help you enjoy the journey as much as the destination:

Visit the library before you leave.

Older kids who can read on their own can choose books that will keep them entertained. The “Who Was” and “What Was” series are popular in our home. You can also suggest a book that teaches kids about where you’re going. For younger kids who cannot read yet, find audiobooks that the entire family will enjoy listening to, like “The Escape From Mr. Limoncello’s Library.”

Use technology to your advantage.

Two apps that helped us survive a recent road trip were Waze and Roadtrippers. Waze helps you navigate potential traffic issues before you get stuck in them. Roadtrippers allows you to find all the Starbucks locations along your route. It also points out interesting places to visit along the way when you need to stop and stretch your legs.

Put together a travel kit.

This has saved our family from hearing the dreaded “Are we there yet?” question 500 times on the way to the beach. In a special bag – that stays hidden from your kids – collect things like coloring books, crayons, special snacks and even a binder of printable travel activities like road sign bingo and license plate “I-Spy.” (we use For younger kids, plan enough surprise items to share something new every 30 minutes on your trip, or every hour for older kids. You can also use it as a chance to teach kids how to tell time by giving them a Post-it note with the time they’ll receive their next surprise.

Pack healthy snacks.

Although road trips definitely feel like the best time to indulge in everyone’s favorite sugary snacks, everyone will feel a lot better with some healthy options. Plus, you’ll avoid the inevitable sugar crash. Baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, granola bars, apple slices and bottles of water will keep tummies happy while you’re on the road. Grab a travel container of wipes to help keep everyone (and your car) from getting sticky!

Extend extra grace.

No one enjoys being stuck in a car for hours, and trips sometimes take longer than expected. Make an extra stop or two along the way, or give the kids an iPad, headphones and a show to get through that final stretch. And don’t forget that an extra dose of grace and patience will help everyone enjoy the journey.

What are your favorite road trip survival tips? Share in the comments!

About the author

Crystal Stine is a mother, wife, author, editor and freelance communications consultant who loves to inspire others through the power of storytelling. You can connect with Crystal at

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