13 Clever Road Trip Hacks Every Parent Should Have Up Their Sleeve

Family road trips are the perfect way to soak up vacation time and gift your kids with unforgettable experiences. But let’s face it, journeying with…


Family road trips are the perfect way to soak up vacation time and gift your kids with unforgettable experiences. But let’s face it, journeying with little ones in tow isn’t always a walk in the park!

Finding ways to keep the kiddos entertained, especially during those lengthy drives, can be quite the task. Thankfully, the Reddit community has come to the rescue! A recent thread was buzzing with seasoned travelers sharing their top tips for making road trips with kids a breeze.

So, let’s dive into the 13 most popular road trip hacks that’ll keep the dreaded “I’m bored” and backseat squabbles at bay:

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1. Prepare For Your Return Home

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A unique road trip hack for parents traveling with children is to prepare for your return home. If you have everything prepared in advance, you’ll experience a smooth and comfortable return. 

A seasoned road-tripper who travels with their kids told Reddit, “If you’re anything like my family, we are wiped out when we get home and often a bit stressed. Having everything dialed in for us when we walk in the door allows us to stick the landing a bit more.”

2. “Pack A Sick Kit”’

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One Reddit user was quick to say, “The one thing worse than a kiddo getting sick on a long trip is being unprepared to handle the kiddo getting sick on a long trip.” We agree!

For most parents, motion sickness is part and parcel of a road trip with a small child. Therefore, you need to carry the essentials just in case. 

Fortunately, we don’t have to guess what those are because someone on Reddit told us what to pack.  They advised packing emesis bags, paper towels, ginger drops, wipes, and toilet paper. 

3. Purchase A Headrest Stand

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One of the top comments on Reddit told parents to buy a headrest stand for their children. According to one Redditor, headrest stands can be bought on Amazon and hung on the back of your car seats.

The same person told Reddit this item comes in useful because each kid has a device they can use to stay occupied and let you focus on the road. He also recommended purchasing Bluetooth headphones so the whole car doesn’t have to listen to whatever is on the screen.

4. Pack A Lunch Box

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A common tip on Reddit was to pack a lunch box before you set off. One top comment read, “I always pack a lunch box at the start of the day and have lots of snacks.”

By doing this, you won’t have to stop for food, which should help you reach your final destination quicker. The food you pack can also be used as a distraction.

If your child starts complaining about being bored, pass them a snack. The longer it takes to eat the snack the better!

5. Stop For A Couple Of Hours

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A lot of Redditors from the r/Parenting community think it’s important to stop for two or three hours at least once. One community member said, “I stop generally every 2 hours for a walk and play time depending on where we are.”

Meanwhile, another Redditor left a comment that read, “We take a long lunch, often stopping at a splash pad for at least a couple hours on lengthy summer trips.” Letting your children play keeps them from getting bored and it helps burn off energy.

If you’re lucky, they might take a long nap afterward.

6. Add An Element Of Mystery To Every Journey

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If you want to keep your kids occupied without stopping and spending money, follow Reddit’s advice and make every journey more interesting by adding an element of mystery. 

One Redditor commented, “I told my kids during our cross-Canada bus rides when they were little that we would be traveling through some pretty wild country, they might like to keep an eye out for wild Pokémon.”

Another reader does something similar but tells their children to look out for Big Foot. 

7. Let Your Children Pick The Music

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Another super simple way to keep your children occupied during a road trip is to let them pick the music. Someone who uses this hack told Reddit that “Everyone gets one song and we just keep going around.”

You might get fed up with Baby Shark, but this is a great way to keep your kids entertained!

8. Stop For A Milkshake

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Making pit stops for food and drink is a surefire way to keep your kids onside. However, the right option could keep your children occupied for longer, and someone on Reddit believes a milkshake is perfect.

The Redditor said, “Milkshakes take a while to drink so they keep them occupied for a bit.” Furthermore, she believes the best time to stop for a milkshake is when there’s an hour of driving left. 

We don’t know about you but stopping for a milkshake sounds pretty great. However, one user was concerned about the potential mess and car sickness.

9. Create A Kid’s Surprise Bag

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Road trips can be long and tiring so anything that keeps your kids engaged is going to make things easier. Some Redditors have found an amazing solution.

That solution is to make a surprise bag. The user who suggested this idea fills a small bag with activities and treats. The bags are then given to their children when they get bored.

One Redditor said, “This is what I do and it works so well,” while another told readers to, “Buy a bunch of random things from the dollar store and hand them out when the novelty of the prior one wears off.”

10. Drive At Night

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One of the simplest things you can do to make your road trip easier is travel at night. According to Reddit, night driving is a great solution to traveling long distances with bored children.

Someone told Reddit that they use this hack because “You can really get some of the long stretches of driving done without extending it for stops.” Another described the experience as glorious!

A lot of parents start their trip after dinner. They then set up a movie or audiobook for their kids and let them fall asleep.

11. Reward Good Behavior With Treats

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One community member shared an unconventional approach. She told Reddit “[her] friend takes a family size bag of M&M’s and when the kids are good they give them a couple and when they are bad they throw a few out the window.”

This is certainly a unique road trip hack but according to the user, it does work. Other Redditors loved the idea, one saying, “This is the funniest parenting technique that I think I’ve ever heard.”

Maybe this is something you can try next time your child misbehaves.

12. “Google Map Playgrounds Along Your Route”

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One Redditor told readers that he keeps his children occupied by finding plenty of playgrounds to stop at. He picks multiple playgrounds along the route and stops every one or two hours to let his kids run around and take a break.

Another Redditor who uses this hack commented, “This is my biggest hack too. If you are with another adult, one of you handles the kids at the park while the other heads to get gas.”

However, some readers disagreed, with one saying, “Stopping at parks is a great idea. But every 1-1.5 hours? How do you make any progress?”

13. Use Cloth Diaper Covers

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When asked for road trip hacks for kids, the r/Parenting community didn’t disappoint. However, one suggestion stood out more than others. That suggestion was to always dress babies in diapers and a cloth diaper cover.

The reasoning according to one Redditor is that “having elastic around the legs and back of the diaper really helps prevent car seat blowouts.” The same Redditor even offered brands parents can buy the covers from.

Their top recommendations were Thirsties and Esembly!

15 Road Trip Hacks You Need, According to Seasoned Travelers

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Looking for the best road trip hacks for your upcoming adventure? Road trips are immensely enjoyable, but they can quickly turn into a drag if you don’t get enough sleep, fail to pack the right snacks, encounter dirty restrooms, or lose network coverage. Proper planning and preparation are key to ensuring a successful journey. Check out these awesome hacks:

12 Scintillating Road Trip Ideas For The Ultimate Nerd

nerdy man behind the wheel of a car
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While we can all appreciate the simple joys of a picturesque road trip across the United States, adding an element of intrigue, mystery, or even nerdiness often leads to more memorable experiences. Reddit users recently discussed the best road trip ideas for the ultimate nerd. Here are 12 of the top responses:

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