Today’s post on how to survive a roadtrip with kids is sponsored by Amazon. All thoughts and opinions shared below are 100% my own.
When you think of road trips, what memories are called to mind?
I often think of traveling as a child, back then we weren’t required to wear seat belts and played games and even moved about some. We played the license plate game, I Spy, watched for words on billboards along with many others. We would sing, rather loudly. Mom would make fried chicken, macaroni salad and potato salad, cut up carrot and celery sticks and would stop along the way at parks or a rest stop. We would picnic and play to get some energy out and then head back out on the road. As a child, we made many cross county road trips, road tripped from Arkansas to British Columbia, to New York, to Florida. We loved to travel.
Things didn’t always go as planned. There were stressful times, car troubles, van troubles, flat tires and blown gaskets, it happens. But memories were made, many wonderful memories.
Fast forward to my own family and we love road tripping just as much as my family did growing up. There is a memory during one of our road trips five years ago I will never forget. It was in 2013, I had traveled to Chicago for a Disney Social Media Moms conference with my then three children, ages 5, 4 and 9-month-old. We took on the amazing Shedd Aquarium and visited the remarkable museums. We made so many core memories.
The following month the three of us packed up again to head to Orlando to meet my brother and his wife at Disney! When traveling with my three little ones, we stopped often. During one of our stops at a rest area with a park, my son exclaimed that he loved road trips so much he wanted our next one to be to Alaska! Alaska (along with Syndey) have been on his bucket list since he was about three years old. The travel bug had already bitten him.
Fast forward five years later, adding another little one and many thousands of miles traveled on the road, we have certainly learned how to survive a roadtrip with kids. Although these are not all my own, these are what make our trips more fun, how we survive, and why we are always ready to go again!
- Don’t expect perfection! – Seriously, if you are traveling with young children, really even without, road trips don’t always go as planned, expect that and be okay. It’s great to have a plan, but knowing that it will be okay if it doesn’t and when it doesn’t, don’t allow that to ruin the trip.
- Don’t over plan or rush the drive. – This may be easier said than done, but we have found that part of what makes road trips more fun is making sure the journey is the destination. We have found our sweet spot is really 4-6 hours of driving a day and then planning to see something or do something along the way. Yes, it makes a 12 hour drive a 2-3 day journey, but also each day we make memories as well. We really live in a country full of diversity and so much to see, so much to experience. Picking out gems in each state we travel through to experience, leaves the children with memories from that specific state.
- Pack lot of treats. – When we travel, we love to snack. It’s amazing how hunger can make the smallest child, right up to us as adults grumpy. Having a variety of nutritious snacks, proteins and special treats can turn almost any frown into a smile. With toddlers, or little ones, having snacks that they are able to feed themselves is key. Sometimes we purchase snack sized portions, or I create mini packages myself so it is easy even for the two year olds. Packing waters, juices and even some Gatorade is also a great idea, as these are very expensive to purchase along the way at gas stations versus a regular store.
- Pack a busy bag for each child. – On each trip we pack a bag for each child of things to keep them busy. They get to help pick out what needs to fill the bag, but we add all sorts of activities from crayons/colored pencils, coloring books or activity books for the older ones, travel journals, travel games, miniature dolls and small toys. Each child, minus the two-year-old is required to care for their own bags.
- Have screen free time. – Although the children’s Amazon Fire Kids Edition tablet are a necessity for travel, we make sure to also have plenty of screen-free time when we watch the landscape change, play games and have plenty of discussion.
- Charge + Gather all the electronics! – Although we didn’t have electronics when we roadtripped as children, they certainly do make the time in the vehicle much smoother. Prior to leaving, we gather everyone’s Amazon Fire Kids Edition tablet to charge. When they are fully charged, the battery can last up to 8 hours. Since we have four Kids Edition tablets, ear buds are a necessity to sanity! When driving a short day, the Fire Kids Edition tablets last the full day, but if we happen to drive longer, sometimes they need a recharge. Having portable chargers available to use (that are also charged) can prevent meltdowns.
- Download the right apps. – One of the best features of the Amazon Fire 7 Kids Edition tablet is that is comes equipped with 1 year of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited. It is hands down amazing!!! It is the first-ever all-in-one subscription that brings together all the types of content that kids ages 3-12 want. Of course the apps are huge, but even better is that once you download apps for road trips, you don’t need to be connected to wifi to use them! The kids can still read, play and watch the content they each enjoy, all without wifi.
- Within Amazon FreeTime Unlimited there are 15,000 books, movies, TV shows, educational apps, and games. That literally allows every child, no matter their age or interest to find things they love, and never get tired of what is available. With the Amazon FreeTime Unlimited, many of the apps, books and videos can be downloaded directly onto the Amazon Fire Kids Edition tablets to be used when wifi isn’t available.
- Caleb loves the Mickey Mouse appisodes, Toca Boa, Fisher Price Letters and Numbers, lots of PBS kids and much more.
- Miss B loves Toca Boca, Peppa Pig, all things Disney, Nickelodeon and PBS.
- Addie loves Toca Boca (see the similarities, the watch + read Disney books/videos, LEGO friends, Barbie and the Nail Salons.
Features I Love about the Fire 7 Kids Edition Tablet
Amazon FreeTime Unlimited
The massive library! The sheer variety of apps, books and videos is amazing.
Aside from the amazing variety on the Amazon FreeTime Unlimited, I love that the tablet comes with parental controls that work amazing on road trips. You can set limits on how long your children can play with various apps until they use their educational apps or books.
No wifi needed to use the apps, which is perfect for road trips! Once you download the FreeTime content on the Kids Edition tablet, it is available to use on the go, without wifi.
Expand the Memory
The Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition tablet comes with 32GB of storage. You can add a SIM card to expand the memory even more. We ordered once for each tablet because the kids love to download new books, apps and games.
Once you register your Fire Kids Edition tablet to your Amazon account, you can set up an individual child profile for up to four children. Your child’s FreeTime profile can then be accessed from any compatible device, including Fire tablets, Android phones and tablets, and compatible Echo devices. This comes in handy when one of the bigger kids brings their tablet somewhere when we have left the baby’s behind. With a few quick clicks we can change the profile and it is just like his tablet. (We’ve been rescued while out eating multiple times.)
Case + Worry-Free Guarantee
Kid-Proof Case that is easy to grip, light-weight and colorful but designed to be durable and ease parent’s minds because kids are kids! And Finally….The 2-year worry-free guarantee. This is a product designed for kids, so if anything happens to your child’s Amazon Fire Kids Edition tablet, you can simply return the tablet and Amazon will replace it for free!
Although I’m sad to say it, we’ve already had to use the worry-free guarantee. We bought our three older children new Fire 7 Kids Edition tablets back around Black Friday. They’ve been amazing and the children have loved them. On our last road trip to Disney, Miss B had an accident with her’s towards the end of the trip and more than a few tears were shed. I contacted Amazon through their chat and after chatting with three representatives, I had a packing slip and shipping labeled sent to me right in the chat box. I dropped it off with UPS and then a few days later a new Amazon Fire 7 Kids Edition tablet was delivered. It was very painless and simple.
Road trips are meant to explore, experience a new adventure and create memories.
I love that the children use their Amazon Fire Kids Edition tablets to help record their memories with photographs and journals. The years go by quickly and are rather limited before they are grown, I’m determined to make the most of each one of them.
Our upcoming travels will soon take us back on the road to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, Charlotte, South Carolina, Niagara Falls, New York and Yellowstone, Wyoming all before August ends. Do you have any upcoming road trips planned?
If you have other tips to share on how to survive a roadtrip with kids, please leave them in the comments below.