Taking a day trip with kids and even your toddlers are fantastic way to start building travel confidence for you and your children.  Do you want to travel but don’t think you have the time or budget to get away?  Consider doing a family day trip adventure! I know a lot of moms and dads that think traveling with young kids is out of the question.

At Mommy And Me Travels, we are living proof that you don’t have to wait for your kids to get older to enjoy the world. Don’t put your life on hold and/or deny yourself and your kids the experiences that the world has to offer.  Day trips with kids are a great way to start traveling that will allow you to build confidence for those longer family trips.

Family Day Trips

Why We Love Family Day Trips

As a military family that moves a LOT, this has afforded us the opportunity to experience adventures many places around the United States and the Globe.  One of the first things I do after our move is go to google maps and pin my new location.  This gives me a great starting point for searching out our next family day trips.

If you don’t move often, no worries, start by exploring the things around you now.  Traveling with your children will help them to gain an interest in exploring the world and an appreciation of trying new things. The earlier you can start them traveling the better!  Let’s get started planning a day trip for your family!

Also join our family travel facebook group where you can ask your specific questions and get help from everyday people like you and me!!!

1. Traveling Distance For Your Day Trip With Kids

The thing to remember about a day trip with kids is that it needs to be something you can drive to and from in one day.  Make sure to ensure that you have more time to experience the location then the road. You may ask, how do I decided a good distance to travel?  We find that a good length of time on the road is max 2 hours each way. If you try to push much longer than 2 hours, you will quickly realize the younger kids will start to get restless in a car.  Try to keep your little ones entertained anyway possible.

Family day trips are one of our favorite things to do on the weekend. We aim at doing at least one family day trip a month.  On the other weekends we like to explore locally in our backyard.  This allows us to set up our family adventures for each weekend easily and efficicently.  

Family Day Trip Location

2. Find Your Family Day Trip Location 

Go to your favorite map website, pin in your location, and print map as large view area.  Measure out a point 2 hours (or your ideal time) by driving to the north, south, east, and west.   These are your starting points. Draw a circle around your area connecting these points.

Now research the towns within your circle and see what hidden gems might be available for you and the kiddos to go explore on a day trip.  You never know what you will find until you look.

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3. Ideas On Planning Your Day Trip For Kids

As a reminder, kids of most ages are not going to enjoy seeing churches and museums (unless of course it is a children’s museum). Finding things that your little ones will enjoy doing will make traveling with them on family day trips all the more fun.  Theme parks, zoos, children’s museums, easy hikes, beaches (if you are in that area), swimming spots, train rides, boat rides, the list goes on and on. Just make sure the day is filled with fun things that your child can touch, feel, taste, and explore.   Interactive days will make the family day trips more enjoyable for you and for them.  All of these things should be taken into account during while planning your day trip with kids.

Big City Day Trip With Kids

4. Planning A Big City Day Trip With Kids

Are you starting to feel overwhelmed about visiting a big city in one day?  Don’t be! If within your circle is a big city, try to decide on only 1 or 2 events for the day (make at least one of them family friendly).

Don’t try to over plan the day and cram too much into one trip. Big cities offer lots of activities and always have new things available to see and do, think different festivals year round.  Alternate your activities when you visit a big city.

You might visit your big city 10 times before you finish all of the activities but it might take you visiting 100 times.  No matter the amount of times you decide to visit, try diving into something new each time. This will make the experience rewarding each time and not burn you out on the drive and family adventures there.

Rural Area Family Day Trip

5. Planning A Rural Area Family Day Trip

If you live only within a rural area, don’t feel discouraged.  There are many things that are offered at rural locations for next family day trip adventure. Do you enjoy: fishing, hunting, hiking, biking, the list is endless.  Bonus, kids usually enjoy all of these activities.

Rural areas offer new types of family fun that you can enjoy. Traveling to a river and hiking downstream for a picnic in a new area will excite your whole family.  Is there a Shut-Ins near your location?  If so, definitley add those natural waterparks to your adventures.  

Kids also LOVE animals. Make finding birds, butterflies, squirrels, and other animals in your area an adventure for your little ones.  It will keep them occupied and probably give you plenty of laughable moments and memories as they try to chase down that bird that they just can’t catch.

Day Trip Packing List

6. Day Trip Packing List For Your Family Trip

I know what you are thinking… a day trip packing list but I’m only going to be away for the day?  Even family day trips need a little planning to ensure a smooth experience for you and your kids.  Bonus is that all of these items can be found at local stores or with your Amazon Prime for free shipping (click here for your FREE 30 DAYS).  If you need a way to carry all of these items definitely check out our favorite travel backpack, eBags TLS Mother Lode Weekender Convertible Jr.  Below are day trip packing list for each group of kids :) 

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Day Trip Packing List For A Baby

Here are the essential baby items that you need to include in your day trip packing list: 

[ ] Diapers and Wipes – make sure to pack enough plus a few extras just in case

[ ] Easy transport carrier for baby items – we always used our portable diaper clutch

[ ] Extra Clothes – you never know when there will be an accident

[ ] Food – Pack at least a few snacks and if your baby is still small, enough formula (if you use it)

[ ] Toys – Packing a few rattles or a favorite stuffed animal will help keep baby entertained on the ride

[ ] Baby Carrier or Stroller – Whatever your preference and day activities fit best (Brighter Elements Carrier and Baby Jogger City Mini GT Stroller)

Day Trip Checklist For Toddlers

Use this day trip checklist for toddlers to make sure you don’t forget anything:

[ ] Travel Activity Tray – This is our lifesaver in the car when traveling with our toddler.  It is used to color, playing with legos, and also keeping snacks off the floor.  

[ ] Food – Kiddos get hungry often when they are bored, like sitting in a car, having snacks on hand will help with those hunger fits

[ ] Extra Clothes – Ooops still happen when toddlers are involved, be it spilled milk or an accident in the pants

[ ] Toys – Let your toddler pick out 3 of their favorite toys (appropriate sized of course).  Josh’s favorites are coloring books, legos, and stickers.

[ ] Stroller – Your little love bug will quickly turn into a monster when they get tired of walking. Make sure you are prepared for when that happens. We always travel on road trips with our Baby Jogger City Mini GT Stroller.

[ ] First Aid Kit – During this phase of life falls are bound to happen, make sure you have bandages and anti-bacterial wipes ready.  We always keep a larger first aid kit in the car.  Don’t forget to add the mommy kisses to make it feel better ☺

[ ] Medicines – I like to keep these non-liquid children’s Tylenol, Motrin, and Benadryl on hand for when we travel on family day trips, just in case (don’t forget to check with your kids doctor before giving any meds)

Day Trip Packing List For Your Little “Big” Kids

If your family includes a kid that is older than a toddler but not quite yet a preteen, then make sure you don’t forget these items on your day trip checklist:

[ ] Food – Same as a toddle, kids get hungry when bored

[ ] Extra Clothes – accidents still happen even as kids get bigger

[ ] Electronics or Books – Even for a short drive, things are smoother when kids are entertained in the car.  We love the Fire 8 Kids Addition because it doesn’t require wifi while using if you plan ahead.

[ ] First Aid Kit – make sure you are ready for those “oh my goodness” moments

[ ] Medicines – See the above list and check with your doctors

Now that we have covered the above essentials, check out these great tips provided by the travel experts themselves, the kids!  Hilarious and Surprisingly Useful Travel Tips from Kids and also these Must Have Travel Items For Families

Make Family Memories

Get Out And Enjoy Your Day Trip For Kids!

Getting out and enjoying family adventures, especially when the kids are younger, helps to build strong family ties and gives you and your family memories that will last a life time.  Family day trips with kids can sometimes seem overwhelming but I hope that armed with the above information you are ready to tackle this exciting family experience. An added bonus, day trips are normally budget friendly and easy to accomplish.  Even traveling just for the day will provide you an experience that you might never have even thought about.

Don’t miss all of our family trip planning tips and tricks.  Join our facebook group page Little World Adventure Travelers – Create Family Memories With Your Kids.

Do you have ideas to share?  What are some of your favorite activities on day trips?  I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

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Day Trip With Kids - 6 Tips and Tricks

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