1. Pack a Variety of Entertainment
“Mom, are we there yet?” “Dad, how much longer?” “I’m bored”
How many times have you heard these things during a short little road trip or vacation? If it’s anything like us, then it can be one too many times!
This is why it is so important to pack a variety of entertainment options. Some of the items that we bring with us (before we resort to screens) are:
- Travel bingo – Everybody loves a good ole game of bingo, and we try to make it more fun by having a reward for whoever wins!
- Books – Each of our girls can bring a book or two with them into the truck. We also have some books that always stay in the truck.
- Coloring books – We definitely have our fair share of half-colored coloring books in the back of our truck. …Not to mention broken crayons and dried-out markers with missing caps!
- Homeschooling/extra learning materials – We love to have our kids learn more about the area we are traveling to. We sometimes print off some information sheets so they can learn a few special facts related to wherever we are headed.
2. Plan Fun Stops
If we have an extra-long day of driving ahead of us, which for us is anything over three hours, then we know we need to schedule a stop that is not just for bathroom breaks but also something we can get out and do.
Once we have our route planned, we try to find something along the way that might be a great way to get out and stretch the legs but also be fun.
Whether you are traveling in a motorhome or a towable (a fifth-wheel in our case), you can likely find a place to park and take an extended break.
For us, this may even mean finding a shopping center with a pet store where there is room to park so we can get out and let our girls just walk around the store and look at all the animals.
Remember, it doesn’t always have to be extravagant; sometimes the easiest thing is the best thing!
3. Junior Ranger Program
Take advantage of the Junior Ranger programs available in many national and state parks. It’s an educational and fun way for kids to engage with the natural environment and history of the area.
Ask about these programs not just at national parks but at state parks as well. Some city or county parks may offer similar programs. We view these as additional learning opportunities that allow us to find out more about the local culture and heritage and help to keep the kids engaged.
Most parks also provide a learning booklet that we then utilize as an activity inside the truck during travel days.
4. Meal Planning
Snacks and meals can make or break a travel day or road trip with kids.
Ask me how I know!
Our travel day meal planning and prep starts the night before.
We try to make a meal we enjoy the night before and then plan on having leftovers for dinner on travel day so we don’t have to worry about cooking a whole meal. It needs to be something that the kids will like two nights in a row.
Since we are traveling with a fifth-wheel, we do have access to our kitchen if need be, but that would require us to put out a slide, so we personally prefer not to do that and just pack our lunches and snacks.
And, yes, it is important to make the word “snack” plural.
Our pro tip here is to pack a cooler with lunches and plenty of snacks to keep everyone happy!
5. Travel Games
Similar to packing entertainment, we like to also play visual games so our kids can look out the windows and see the area that we are driving through.
We love playing “I Spy” or “First Person to Spot….”
This keeps the kids engaged in really looking out to see the new areas we are exploring.
For example, we were driving through Colorado and all we wanted to see was our first moose! So, we had a game going of first person to see a moose gets to choose dessert! We ended up finally seeing our first moose, but we also spotted different types of trees and mountain landscapes that we then later went back to learn more about!
The most important part? No kid complained about being bored.
6. First-Aid Kit
This tip for traveling with kids is pretty self-explanatory, but something that needs to be on this list.
We have a compartment in our truck that fits our first-aid kit, so we have the majority of what we would need in case something happens.
It may seem like a no-brainer, but it can easily be overlooked.
7. Let Them Be Part of Planning
One way we help ensure that the kids will have fun and stay engaged is to include them in the planning.
Do we let the kids plan our entire route and trip?
No, definitely not.
However, we do ask the kids to let us know things they may want to do in certain areas, and then we figure out a way to make that happen for them. This gives them something to look forward to while on a long drive, too.
There is starting to be a theme here of stopping the question of “Are we there yet?” mentioned at the beginning.
8. Kid-Friendly Playlist
We have a few different playlists, podcasts, and trivia games ready to go for travel days.
Our girls love listening to trivia podcasts, and the whole family stays entertained competing against each other and learning new facts.
We also have kid-specific playlists that they can choose from and listen to some of their favorite songs and sing-alongs.
9. Nature Exploration
This is a tip that will help in multiple ways.
First, it will help keep you from going stir-crazy inside the RV. The RV can be a tight space, even in larger fifth-wheels, so getting outside and exploring nature can help with that.
It will also help your children learn more about the local ecosystem. Our girls find new bugs and plants and trees in different parts of the country, so we use that as an additional learning opportunity to understand the local geographic region.
Getting out and exploring nature as a family will also create bonding moments and core memories for everyone in the family.
The safety of our family and, specifically, our children, is always our top priority. There are certain things we do to help ensure this.
First, whenever we leave the RV, we always have a set of walkie-talkie radios with us. Depending on where we are, there may not be any cellphone signal, so radios help us communicate.
We personally do not let our children go to the playground, ride bikes, or leave our campsite without a parent. If you do allow that, though, we recommend that you provide them with a walkie-talkie and also a children’s smartwatch that has GPS-tracking capabilities. I know, that may sound extreme, but with safety being our number one priority, we take it very seriously!
We also make sure our children know our site number and how to get back to our campsite or how to get to the office if for whatever reason they become separated from a parent. This can help them get to a safe place if needed.
We hope that these tips help you create an enjoyable and memorable travel adventure with your kids. Be sure to follow us on Instagram, YouTube and Facebook @Type1Detour on all social media channels for more tips and full-time RV travel life content.
We are Chris and Amanda Stocker. We are a full-time RV travel family of four documenting our journey traveling the country with two of us (Chris and our oldest child) both living with Type 1 diabetes. We want to encourage others to get out and travel and live the life they want. We share all the fun, exciting places we have visited; tips for traveling with kids; and RV tips and tips for traveling with a chronic disease, like Type 1 Diabetes. So, be sure to follow us on your favorite social media platform.
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