20 Clever Road Trip Hacks So Moms Don't Lose It on Family Vacay

Kelly Ladd | Jun 14, 2016 Home & Garden
20 Clever Road Trip Hacks So Moms Don't Lose It on Family Vacay

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Whether you’re driving to Grandma’s house or to Disney World, a road trip is quintessential for all families at at least one point in your child's lives. Road trips are where you can make memories together and enjoy each other’s company, as well as experience fun adventures together.

We’ve come up with a list of 20 must-try hacks to make your family’s road trip go as smoothly as possible. From boredom-buster ideas to mess-free snack ideas, we’ve got you covered. These hacks will transform the inevitable question, “Are we there yet?” into “Wow, we’re here already?” 

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  • Magnetic Tic-Tac-Toe


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    Transform an old mint tin into a travel tic-tac-toe game. Place two different colors of gem stickers on little magnets. Then create a tic-tac-toe board in the bottom of the tin using washi tape. Let the tournament begin.

  • Pipe Cleaner Fun


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    Everyone gets fidgety on long trips. Keep your kids’ hands occupied by supplying them with some pipe cleaners. Not only will it keep their hands busy, but it’ll also allow some creativity to start flowing.

  • Mess-Free Dipping Snacks


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    Offer the family healthy personalized snacks by placing a few spoonfuls of peanut butter or ranch dressing in the bottom of a jar. Then drop in celery or carrot sticks. Your kids can dip on the go.

  • DIY Coloring Kit


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    Pass out individual coloring kits to the kids to pass the time. Stick post-it notes and crayons in plastic sandwich containers. We love this because it’s small enough to easily slip in the pouch behind the front seat.  

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  • Conversation Starter


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    Driving with your social media-obsessed tweens and teens? Get them talking by creating a conversation-starter jar before the trip. Write a list of questions and place them in a jar and throughout the ride have someone pull out a question and have everyone in the car answer it.

  • Mini Emergency Kit


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    Every good mom knows: You should always be prepared. Keep a mini emergency kit ready for those accidental boo-boos. Keep bandages, gauze, and ointment inside of a mint tin and place it in your glove compartment for those ouchie moments.


  • DIY Stitch Cards


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    Before the trip, create stitch cards for your little ones by cutting shapes out of craft foam. Give your child a piece of string attached to a small piece of pipe cleaner as the needle and then let them sew away. Not only will it keep them busy, but it will also help their fine motor skills.

  • DIY Lego Travel Kit


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    Hot glue a sheet of Lego base plate to the bottom of an empty metal lunch box. Then supply your child with numerous Lego pieces. The lunch box will contain all of the pieces so they won’t fall in between the cracks and is also an easy way to pack it up neatly when it’s time to put it away.

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  • Slurp Snacks


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    Make the trip as mess-free as possible by foregoing the spoons. Instead, stick a straw into the top of an apple sauce or yogurt container and let the kids slurp away.

  • Dirty Shoe Covers


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    Kids are notoriously messy. It’s like they are programmed to jump in mud puddles or step in a big wad of gum. Instead of getting your floorboards filthy, bring along a few shower caps that you can wrap your shoes in so you can clean them when you arrive to your destination.

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  • Card Storage


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    Did you know that playing cards can fit perfectly inside a plastic travel soap container? Never lose your cards again.   

  • Leak-Proof Ice Packs


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    Tired of ice packs leaking? Solve the problem by filling a sponge up with water, squeezing out the excess. Once frozen, just pop a few in your cooler.

    More from CafeMom: 10 Things to Do With a Pringles Can Besides Eat Chips Out of It 

  • Clean Car


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    Keep your car tidy by creating a trash bin out of a plastic cereal container. Simply line it with a plastic grocery bag and toss in your trash as you go. It’s so clever because it doesn’t take up much space and has a lid, so if it tips over nothing will spill out.

  • Backseat Navigation


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    Print out a copy or cut off a piece of a map and place it in a plastic protective sleeve. Give the kids a dry erase marker so they can mark where they’ve been and they can see where they are going.

  • Pit Stop Surprises


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    At planned pit stops along the trip, pass out surprise gifts to each of the kids. They can include activity books, card games, or other boredom busters. By spacing out the gifts, it’ll give the kids something to look forward to.

  • Stash of Cash


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    When you’re on a long trip, it’s always a good idea to have cash on hand for those just-in-case emergencies or even for unexpected toll roads. Be prepared and smart. Keep your cash out of site by stashing it in an everyday object like a mini M&M container. Thieves won’t have a clue.

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  • A Variety of Snacks


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    Everyone likes options. Give your kids plenty with an individual box of assorted snacks. Fill a bead organizer from the craft store with a wide variety of snacks, like dried fruit, nuts, crackers, and candies. Let them mix and match the flavors.

  • DIY Letter Game


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    Keep the kids busy for a while with this fun DIY game. Fill a water bottle with rice and colorful letter beads. Older kids can play a game to see how many words they can spell before they have to shake the container. Younger kids can practice their letters and colors by looking for them within the rice.

  • Two-in-One Fun


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    Here’s a fun two-in-one idea. Cover a baking sheet with chalkboard paper (available at craft stores). Then give your child magnets and chalk and let her creativity run wild.

  • Dice Keeper


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    Travel board games are fun. What’s not fun? Losing the dice. Here’s a clever solution to the inevitable problem. Place your dice in a small sealed container. Next time it’s your turn to roll the dice, just give it a shake. You don’t have to worry about losing the dice in between the seat cracks.

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