Traveling can be one of the toughest parts of summer, especially for families. As a mom of two kids under age seven, I know how hard it can be to do your daily errands with kids, much less travel with them. For the past six years, I’ve taken my kids on cross-country drives to visit family at least once a year. There are several ways you can make traveling easier if you follow a few summer travel tips. Double check that you pack the following essentials to make traveling much easier. 

Summer Travel Tips for Families

First, check that you packed some good reading material. Whether you are working on a fun summer novel or some magazines, you will need to unwind when you reach your destination. Now is not the time to pack technical reading material that is hard to get through and understand. You need to let your mind relax after a stressful trip or you won’t enjoy your vacation.

Another item you need to pack is a swimsuit. Even if you aren’t headed to the beach, you may still find an unexpected moment when having a swimsuit is useful. On one trip I took, we unexpectedly stayed at the Marsha Washington Inn in Abingdon, Virginia in the middle of winter. I never would have thought to bring my swimsuit, but the hotel ended up having a heated pool and outdoor hot tub. Having the chance to hop in the water made traveling much less stressful.

My new favorite swimsuit is the Panel Swimsuit from Platypus Australia. The coloring is really fun. I love the fit because it’s modest enough for a mom, but it looks pretty and flattering. One of the features I like is the removable strap because you can get a great tan without tan lines. I wore this bathing suit last weekend. Even though I had to chase two non-swimming kids, the bathing suit offered good support and looked nice.

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As you drive to your destination, being prepared will keep you calm. Place a good pair of polarized sunglasses in your car and a second pair in your purse. Long drives can be very hard on your eyes. You want your sunglasses to be easily reachable at all times in the car. It can be incredibly frustrating to misplace your sunglasses when you’re driving on a sunny day. The second pair will ensure that you still have a pair to use during activities.

Sunglasses can be inexpensive, stylish, and fit well. To try out an affordable pair, I received the ivory Crush sunglasses from Eye Buy Direct. The white frames looked relaxed and fun for summer. I liked that the sunglasses fit my face well. You can see how they looked on me on my Instagram page where I pulled off a pretty carefree look, while taking two young kids on a grocery shopping trip. Even small errands can be difficult with kids! At least you can look nice, even if your travels leave you a little more stressed than usual. 

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Although packing for yourself matters, packing the essentials for your kids is critical to the success of your trip. Small snacks can keep kids happy in the car. Bring snacks with you that are easy to reach and that aren’t messy. One item I rely on would be Stasher bags. These small, non-plastic bags carry plenty and zip at the top. I’ve used these to carry goldfish, crackers, and cookies on the go. The bags are sturdy. I liked that my children didn’t spill their snacks as they were eating.

Double check that you can easily get to the important child care items in the car. You can even use the Stasher bags to carry toiletry essentials you might need in the car, such as diaper cream, baby wipes, hand sanitizer, and bandaids. Travel with a small backpack or tote bag that only contains toiletries so your essential items will be easy to locate at a rest stop. 

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As you travel, stop every few hours to let the kids run around outside. They can get their energy out so they sleep as you drive. Long drives are hard on everyone, but kids are especially not used to sitting still for a long amount of time. Rest stops are good places to pull over because there’s usually some outdoor space where you can run or toss a ball. Plus, you can grab snacks and require that everyone try to use the restroom.

One item you should have on hand would be extra socks. Kids will kick off their shoes and their socks on the drive to get more comfortable. Pack extra pairs so you can be stress free when you stop and get out of the car. I use the Foot Cardigan sock delivery service because the socks are super cute. My kids love seeing what type of style they’ll get. The quality of the fabric is really nice and comfortable, which is perfect for a long drive. 

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Pack with the kids’ comfort in mind. In addition to comfortable clothes, check that you have a nice, comfortable pair of polarized sunglasses for each kid. One of the first companies I ever reviewed was Real Kids Shades back in July 2013. This is still one of my favorite brands for kids’ sunglasses, and I’ve tried many in the past three years! My daughters especially liked the cool, bright colors of the frames and the stylish shape. As a mom, I love the sunglasses since you can buy the polarized versions that offer the best sun protection. Check out Georgiana in her Real Kids Shades sunglasses and Foot Cardigan socks.

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These summer travel tips for families will make traveling much simpler. Do you have any tips that work great for you? Share in the comments section below!


I received a free item, but it in no way influenced my opinion!

About The Author


Theresa has been writing since 2010 in magazines and online. Her lifestyle and parenting expertise has been featured in publications, including ShopSmart and Scholastic. She earned an M.Ed in Elementary Education from Vanderbilt as well as a BA in History from Flagler College, and she is a certified teacher.

24 Responses

  1. Rada (

    Great tips! We always have to grab our water, sometimes we forget to grab it and then the kids are miserable. So now, it’s the first thing that we grab.

  2. Susan Mary

    Great tips, Theresa! My favorite one is Tender is the Night. Love Fitzgerald, and love anyone taking a great book to read!

  3. Desteny

    I have an almost one year old daughter and we have no plans to travel further than 3 hours from home at any point this summer! Keeping her calm in the car is pretty tough, she’s always hated it! Right now we just make sure we have tons of toys and snacks 🙂

  4. Hannah

    Great ideas! I always travel with extra pairs of socks, even if where I’m going is hot because you never know when your feet might get a bit chilly. I’m the same with a swimsuit– you never know when you might want it!

  5. Joie Betterly

    Great tips. I love your panel suit and sunnies. I keep a small cooler bag filled with small snacks to grab and go. It keeps food items from getting soft or melting.

  6. Elena

    I am not a mom yet but I have nieces and nephews and your post has great tips but I will add on your list hats for the kids and for you because sun is quite dangerous 🙂

  7. Shann

    Great list! We’re going on a trip too, so this is perfect. Extra socks, sunglasses, and food bags are a must!

    • theresa

      Thank you! They are some of my favorite picks for this summer. I have been wearing them all the time now.

  8. Jaime Cummings

    Try and put yourself in your kid’s shoes. Remember what you were like as a small child, or teenager, and how you liked to travel and be treated and the things you enjoyed doing!

  9. Amber

    Stash bags are a great idea! We are road tripping from Cincinnati to Pensacola next month and packing is such a headache. Thanks for the tips 🌞


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