Friday, May 18, 2012

Traveling With Older Kids

I found a ton of tips on traveling with little ones but there is just not that much information on traveling with older kids. I guess people think we've already figured it out by the time they get in the double digits.
So, a 9 hour trip with a packed car; No extra space and 3 kids squished into the back seat. I, of course, had to at least try to avoid the fast food stops I knew were coming along with the resulting delays and blah feeling from eating that crap.
I don't believe in total deprivation but I do prefer to save junk food for special times. This makes it much more special for the kids and they get excited about the little stuff. :-) I'll call this a special time but it could also be in the "desperate times" category.
I'll start with keeping them entertained. If you have any ideas, please add them!!

What to do! 
Movie Time for One

*DVD Players -(RCA Dual Portable DVD Player). These were great! I highly recommend them. I got a great price on them at They played everything except for our DIVX movies. I did have to get an amplifier because the sound wasn't so great with headphones. Did you know you can get amplifiers that are splitters as well so kids can plug up more headphones to the DVD player? That's one of those things I just never needed to know. :-)

*Car-friendly arts and crafts
 -pipe cleaners
 -coloring books
 -mazes/trivia books
 -travel bingo (favorite for all of us)
 -etc...Take your kids to Michaels and let them pick some stuff out. They like it more when it's their idea.

 -Find the latest book that they might like and bring it along. It's great to have during those times when they get bored during the vacation.

*Handheld Electronics
 -You know they can't live without them. :-) Is there a new game out? Peace in the car might be worth the cost (sometimes not, though).


Breakfast Burritos -These were great in helping us get an early start! I just scrambled eggs and put them in flour tortillas. I threw them in the freezer in a pan with aluminum foil on top then just baked them as soon as I got up. I used the tried and true 350. If you don't have time to finish baking them (or start) just microwave with a damp paper towel. (Okay, mine were tacos but I got the authentic tortillas from the local Mexican restaurant/store.)

Breakfast Burritos

Salad in a Jar-These turned out great! They'll last for days and taste just as fresh as when you make them. I had the kids make their own so that they would want to eat it. I got thick slices of turkey from the deli for ours. Some delis won't do the really thick slices-Whole Foods did. (Get the bigger Mason jars with the wide top.) We put croutons in another jar so they'd stay crunchy.
Salad, Fruit and Nut Bars, String Cheese, Deviled Eggs

Sandwiches-I made these the day before we left then put them in the freezer. Just make sure you put the meat on one side and the cheese on the other with the mayo and stuff in the middle to keep the bread from getting soggy. They fit great in a plastic shoe box (Target).
Sandwiches, chocolate bars, yogurt

Sausage Balls-The recipe calls for almond flour. I used 1/2 almond flour and 1/2 regular. I think I'll just use regular next time. They were good warm but I didn't care for them as much cold. The recipe is a good one, though. *Tip for the butter: Use a cheese grater for the butter.

Snack Bags- I put each thing in a snack baggie then put the snack baggies in a huge plastic bag for each person. This worked great!!! No extra space needed for boxes, no extra trash everywhere, no having to share, no having to find things for everyone the whole trip!! Here's the list of what I put in but you can customize it for your tastes. I was going to add popcorn but didn't get around to it. I made up extra baggies for the return trip and just refilled everyone's bags when it was time to go back home.
-Dried Apples
-Trail Mix
-Dried Bananas
-Sunflower Seeds
-Vanilla Wafers
-Fruit Rollups (simply fruit)
-Envirokids Crispy Rice Bars
-Nature's Path Peanut Choco Granola Bars
-Yogurt Covered Strawberries
-Gummy Bunnies Fruit Snack
-Marshmallows-mini vanilla (great to have if hot choc. is a possibility)
-Jelly Beans
-Chocolate Wafers
-Cheddar Bunnies
-Graham Bunnies
-Sour Cream and Onion Bunnies
-Napkin with plastic utensils 
Snack Bags

Deviled Eggs

Fruit and Nut Bars (Larabars)

Apples (cut and wrapped with a rubber band-worked great!)

Healthy Snack/Meal-(container with the green lid, from Target)
-Baby carrots
-Grapes (paper towel under them will absorb excess moisture)
-Diced cheese
-Thick chunks of turkey
Healthy Snack, Apples

String Cheese

Gogurt- I froze these before we left so they'd stay colder

Chocolate Bars-Froze them the night before

Frozen Waters-These worked great! They stayed cold and kept the kids that drink too much (for the car anyway) from having bladder issues. Keep in mind that water expands when it freezes so prepare for the initial bottle opening.

*Note on the Coleman Cooler. I didn't think about this until it was too late to order one. It worked fine but I wish it would have gotten colder. It is able to plug into the car or the house so that was a nice feature. It fit in the trunk of the Honda Accord. I'm not totally thrilled with it, I think there are better options out there, but it does work. It beats using a bunch of ice.


  1. your tips were great not only for traveling with kids but for everyone! I hate wasting time and money waiting for junk food that will only make you sick on a long car trip! Cant wait to try the sandwiches in the freezer- will be great for the beach.

  2. Another post in pinterest had the snacks stored in empty coffee creamer containers. Great option for all of your snacks also to keep them from getting crushed or spilled all over the car.

  3. Wonderful ideas. Taking grandkids to meet up with cousins, we were kind of out of the habit of traveling with kids. Found all kinds of tips for little ones, but not so many for the bigger "I'm bored" group. Thanks.