Road Trip Hacks for Parents

Road trips can be the best thing ever and bring your family closer together. Of course, they can also be stressful (just like parenting in general!). To get the most out of them, use a few hacks. They help ensure a road trip doesn’t become memorable for all the wrong reasons.


You can never have too many entertainment options. Here are some ideas.

  • Audiobooks
  • Podcasts
  • Tablets and headphones (with games and TV shows preloaded)
  • Books and e-readers
  • Travel games

If you see a lot of family road trips in your future and are getting a new (or used) vehicle soon, consider those with comprehensive infotainment systems. A new Ram for sale, for example, could prove a valuable asset on trips.

Of course, no road trip is complete without family games. Fun ones include, “While You Were Sleeping” and “21 Questions.”


A packing list can do wonders to make sure you don’t forget anything essential. Make a checklist that includes clothes, first-aid supplies, and car maintenance tools. Assemble an emergency kit, too. Include any seasonally specific items, a flashlight, and a spare tire. Take your vehicle in for maintenance service, and explain you’re going on a road trip.

Research your route, and look for scenic stops where you and the kids can stretch your legs and run around. Keep an eye out for playgrounds, and pack bubbles, hula hoops, and jump ropes so the kids can let off steam at a “boring” rest area if necessary.

Also, childproof the vehicle if you have not already. You may need locks on the doors or windows. If your children use car seats, double-check that they are installed correctly. Many communities offer opportunities for car seat checks, and you may be able to get one at your police or fire station.

Depending on the length of your road trip, a shorter dry run or two can come in handy. For example, if you’re driving cross-country, taking a one- or two-day trip a few months or a month before the big journey can help you come up with situation-specific hacks.


Hungry kids mean cranky and whining kids. Messes are no fun, either.

Keep drinks and perishable food in a small cooler (no stopping at gas stations all the time!). Buy cases of bottled water and other drinks your family enjoys, and refill your cooler with ice from the hotel each morning. Also, portion snacks into bags, containers, or repurposed items such as old coffee creamer bottles to prevent overeating and to reduce messes.


Seatback organizers can help you keep toys and snacks within easy reach. Also, trash is going to happen, and it may end up being more than you think would be possible. Keep a trash bag or bin in the car, and empty it at rest stops when possible.


Road trips can make for great bonding experiences. A positive mindset and lots of preparation and organization should help you make memories with your kids to last a lifetime.