My Road Trip Survival Tips

We just finished a 59 hour road trip, relocating our family from Airdrie, Alberta, to Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia. You can check out the highlights of our trip here.

Keeping five people in a truck cab happy for 10 days involved learning a few lessons along the way. Here are my top tips for an awesome long haul road trip.


  • Hit grocery stores for snacks whenever possible. It’s much cheaper than gas stations, and easier to sneak in some carrots once in awhile to break up the Doritos monotony.
  • Make the kids pee at every stop. No excuses. It never ceased to amaze me how much water one kid who “absolutely did not need to pee even a bit” could make once sitting on the toilet.
  • Ensure tissue paper, paper towel, wipes, water and car sick bags are within reach at all times.
  • Upgrade your Netflix account if needed to allow more than two devices to download. Check the kids phones (and your own!) before leaving the free hotel wifi every morning to ensure they’ve download enough movies and tv shows to last most of the drive.
  • Buy a multi-unit charging station for the vehicle and a wall plug version. It was easier to remember a single wall plug with four cords than multiple wall plugs.
  • We booked hotels just a day ahead of time as we weren’t sure how bad weather might affect the drive, but I checked the hotels frequently to make sure they weren’t filling up.
  • Some hotel rooms were too small for cots – we packed our camping rolls and used those to increase the sleeping surface count.
  • Keep the swimsuits in a separate bag easily accessible. At the end of longer driving days one parent can take the kids to the pool while the other handles unpacking, set up and checking in.
  • Book hotels with a pool if you’re going to have time to use it. If you won’t, spare the torture of the kids knowing it’s there and choose a no pool hotel.

What’s the longest trip you’ve taken with your kids? Any tips you’d like to share?

1 Comment

  1. Kathkeen says: Reply

    The longest trip we’ve done was Calgary to Winnipeg in one day with an almost four and two year old. We did a no technology trip (not sure why, maybe just to say we did?!) and the trick for us is always to have each kid with a personalized mini backpack full of stuff like colouring books, reading material, stuffies, snacks, water and a neck pillow and headphones. I had a cooler organized by healthy and treat foods and the treats came out when we needed a boost. It was a very smooth trip. We stopped a few times along the way, but kept the momentum going! That’s also key.

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