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Tips and Tricks for Road Trip Success with Kids

Hitting the road with kids can be a challenge. Preparing ahead of time to have the best route, appropriate stops, and lots of things for the kids to do will help to make your trip a success! Here are my tips and tricks for take a road trip with kids.

I received a 1-week loaner of a Toyota Sienna. All opinions are my own. 

Road Trip Success with Kids



1. Pack Snacks – Kids are always hungry, and getting stuck in the car seat with nothing to munch on is a major bummer. Pack small individual baggies of snacks that are easy to hand out on the road. Some of our favorites include nuts, grapes, goldfish, PB&J sandwiches, animal cookies, and fruit snacks.

2. Use Your Tech – A perfect distraction on a long drive is letting your kids use the tech gadgets you might normally limit during the day. Give them time on a tablet, a handheld video game system, or watch a movie on a portable or built-in player. Movies are our favorite distraction as a single movie easily clears an hour and a half of your drive without complaints or fights over who gets what device.

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3. Give Them Space – Spread everyone out in the car as much as you can. We use all three rows in the minivan with one kid on each end of the bench. If you have a lot of luggage to tote along, consider a roof rack or one that attaches at the back of your vehicle on a hitch. Not over-stuffing the car will allow everyone to sit more comfortably.

4. Bring Something Personal – Let each family member bring a personal item or two in the car outside the luggage, such as a pillow, blanket, stuffed animal, or similar item. It will give them comfort when they want to snuggle up in their spot in the car for a nap.

5. Take Frequent Stops – When you’re traveling with kids, stops are essential! Plan to stop, even if just for five minutes, about every two hours. Pull over at a rest stop and let them run or stop in at a park to really stretch out their legs. Make sure everyone takes a potty break, too. Planning and taking those stops will keep the kids from being cranky on a long drive.

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6. Travel at Night – If the driver can handle the late evening hours, a great way to travel is to leave in the late afternoon and end with half of the drive with the kids asleep. Our kids fall asleep around 8pm while on the road so we try to plan our driving time to get the last 4-5 hours of our drive after 8pm. Driving too late into the night will make the driver have a rough night’s sleep (or morning when the kids are all awake and don’t let them sleep in).

7. Make the Road Trip Fun – You can keep traveling fun by letting the kids help with the trip. Hand them a children’s map and let them follow along. Point out landmarks, animals, neat vehicles or other sights along the route. Play road games like I Spy or a scavenger hunt. Or, tell stories together.

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We got away last weekend for a long weekend trip to Las Vegas. My little sister was getting married and so we took the 4.5 hour drive north to spend time together as a family. It was so nice to catch up with family as we all stayed in a large rental home together during our stay. During the trip, we had the opportunity to drive a 2015 Toyota Sienna during a week vehicle loan.

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The Sienna comfortably fit our family of six both on the drive to and from Las Vegas, but also as we traveled to the strip and other locations during our stay. There were many times we filled the car fully to the 8-seat capacity and everyone was still comfortable despite a full vehicle. We all loved the built-in blu-ray player that kept the kids entertained and happy wherever we were headed.

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The 2015 Toyota Sienna has lots of smart features built-in that make it a perfect family vehicle. Some of our favorite features included:

  • Built-in GPS that indicated turns right on the driver’s panel near the speedometer
  • Built-in shade screens on the back windows
  • Middle windows that can be rolled down
  • Sliding bench rows that made it easy to get the back passengers in and out
  • 8th seat that can be removed and stored when not needed
  • Blu-ray player and wireless headphones
  • Keyless start
  • 100 watt power outlet in the front console
  • Driver Easy Speak – an intercom that lets the back row easily hear the driver

Actual features will depend on trim package and options selected, but overall there’s nothing to be disappointed about when choosing the Toyota Sienna.

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