surviving a winter family road trip
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Christmas is in just 12 short days, and for many people that will involve loading up the car with people, gifts, and luggage to head on a long winter family road trip. Family road trips at any time of year can be overwhelming and stress full, but during the winter where everything is in another level.

Much of my husband’s family is about an 8-hour drive away from where we live, and while we have never made the trip at Christmas we have made it in the winter more than not. This, of course, involves packing up three kids and make the journey.

These are the tricks that I have accumulated over the years to make travelling with our boys a tad easier and in some cases, safer.

Let them pack their own bag

Kids, or mine at least, get excited when they have some independence. Letting them pick and pack their own clothes really helps them be excited about what is happening and going somewhere. I send mine with a number of shirts, pants, socks etc so I still know everything they need is taken.

Leave early

On the way out of the city, we started our journey at 4 am. Cruel I know, worse for me than the kids.  Our hope was that they would sleep for the first part of the trip. Little H is usually asleep the moment he was buckled into his car seat and Big H doesn’t make it out of the city. L can usually power through nearly the whole drive but he is a unique boy. The later we leave the more they seem to fight.


Neither of my kids can read yet but that doesn’t stop them from flipping through books and making their own stories. I bring a handful and this keeps them busy for a few hours.


I am not an iPad mom. But, I believe there is a time and a place and so we have a couple of personal games systems that we let them play with when they really got stir crazy and that kept them busy for a bit.

Have something for them to look forward to at the end of the drive

This can be as simple as ice cream or a toy or anything that they are going to want to get.

If possible have a pool at the hotel

This is probably our best move. L has never been a strong sleeper so when staying in a hotel we prepare for the worst. Making them super tired always seems to do the trick. Swimming, even for a half hour is always sure to exhaust my kids so before bed each night we went for a swim by the time they hit the pillow they were already asleep.

Bring their bedding

Our kids each have a special pillow and blanket they can’t sleep without. By bringing them with us it is close enough to their actual bed that it wasn’t a big deal.

Bring an extra full outfit

My boys, always seem to need an extra change of clothes no matter where we go. L somehow manages to get syrup all over his shirt he is supposed to wear to dinner. Big H loses a pair of pants. Little H explodes out of his diaper. Seriously just bring extra clothes.

ALL your winter gear

Be prepared for the worst. In the event that your vehicle breaks down or you get lost, or any other of the million things that could happen you want to be prepared. No heat in the winter means you’re going to be cold. Have everything you need to be as warm as possible.


Remember these are little people who normally move 100 miles/minute. Being strapped into a vehicle for hours means that energy isn’t being expelled. They are going to misbehave.

Travelling isn’t easy for anyone, let alone with kids. We usually make it through unscathed and are able to enjoy our time at wherever we were headed.

What are your best road trip tips?


One of the things we did when you were small was to plan our stops around malls. we could take bathroom breaks get food and let you children run off some of your energy. Also if you are running out of things to keep kids occupied a trip to the local Dollar store can be a fairly cheap way to find some things to distract bored minds

Danglish Mamma

I love road trips but has never really tried one with all our girls at once..
we did drove from Denmark to Italy once wth 2 of them but they were like 2 and 6 months old

This is so helpful. Were taking our first holiday road trip for Christmas this year & even though were not going a long distance any car ride with a six & two year old is rough lol.

Love all your tips!! We are about to make a 5 hr drive with a 4 month old and 4 yr old soooo things could get interesting 😂 These will for sure come in handy!

It is important to pack for things that will keep the kids busy or else its going to be one hell of a ride 😉

great tips .. leaving early is something we do too for road trips to beat the traffic and we let the kids sleep in in the car until they are ready to wake up and hopefully we are done with a big part of our journey..

Thanks so much for these great tips just in time bc we’re leaving to NM on Christmas and this is perfect!

These are great tips! I loved playing travel games in the car, like trying to find a license plate from each state. So fun! I’m the type who likes to leave waay early too. With a baby, planning around her bedtime makes it so much easier. And as a kid, I slept through most of the morning part of all of our trips too – that makes it easier!

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