Road Trip Sanity Savers

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This summer my family is On the Go with Melissa & Doug. I’ll be sharing some of my favorite travel tips as part of their ongoing weekly series along with Marnie from Carrots Are Orange and Zina from Let’s Lasso the Moon.

We just finished an 8 hour road trip to Orlando with the girls so this week I’m sharing my favorite sanity savers for all that wonderful tight-quarters family togetherness that comes with that much time in a car!

Do you have any great road trip tips to share? Leave me a comment, I’d love to hear it!



1. Keep it clean!!:

On an average day around town I would be mortified to let you see the inside of my car. Crumbled crackers, random shoes, crumpled receipts–my car has it all. But ahead of a big road trip, I take a large garbage bag out to the vehicle and empty it of every single last item. Even the car seats!

A quick run through a car wash that does both inside and out service is about $15 in our area. SO worth the money!! Starting with a clean slate helps you to take advantage of every nook and cranny of your vehicle. Take note of all the cup holders and pockets and hooks you may not have noticed before. You’re about to need them.

  • Find a good spot for a garbage bag to hold wrappers, napkins, tissues, etc.
  • If your back doors have pockets, consider placing a container of baby wipes in each one. They’re perfect for quickie clean-ups of all kinds and for wiping off dirty hands before/after eating snacks.
  • Choose creative entertainment for the kids that won’t leave pen marks on your freshly washed car. Little Pea was ecstatic to play with the Melissa & Doug Surprize Ink travel set. The magic marker included with the set only reveals color on the coloring pages included and won’t leave marks on the seats or clothes.

2. Keep them comfy!!: 

Nothing makes kids crankier than being uncomfortable. These little tips help avoid the biggest causes of annoyance.

  • Feet dangling from raised car seats can cause tingling after an extended period of time. We secure small pieces of luggage just beneath their feet to take advantage of the space and give them a spot to rest their tootsies (rather than propping them up on the back of our seats!!)
  • Keep the traveling lovies you need right in the cabin of the car. They make great pillows or wraps if the temperature dips.
  • Use those cupholders you’ve now recently discovered from your clean up to host water bottles & snack cups.

3. Keep them entertained!!:

Boredom is for sure the biggest concern on a long trip. Remember to bring a mix of activities that are both short term distractions and longer term involved projects.

  • Shorter term distractions like these coloring activities and this awesome Pinball Arcade game are perfect. Keep a clipboard handy in the pocket in front of their seats, it makes a perfect portable desk top to stabilize both.
  • Longer term distractions like this fantastic Travel Bingo game, this License Plate game, or discussion starters like the Trip Talk Box are activities meant to be worked on over the course of your trip.
  • Have a special playlist planned out for your iPod with music your family doesn’t listen to very often. If your car doesn’t hook up to an iPod, borrow a few new cds from the library. For our trip to Disney we listened to an awesome mix of songs from Disney musicals mixed together with some pop favorites for mom & dad.


Did you enjoy these tips? Looking for more great information on traveling with your family? Be sure to check out the Melissa & Doug On the Go hub and the awesome Pinterest boards we’re keeping:


This post was sponsored by Melissa & Doug. I was compensated for my time and provided products to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. You may view my full disclosure here.

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  1. Jamie says

    I made an activity binder for my little one and put all of the activities and coloring pages in sheet protectors and use dry erase crayons(much less messy than markers). Just wipe clean and start over, this works well with the younger ones who don’t care if they do the same pages over and over. I leave it in the car and use it for trips and wait times in restaurants and drs offices.


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