Day trips with kids and toddlers are a 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 a family day trip. Don’t put your life on hold and/or deny yourself and your kids the experiences that the world has to offer.  Day trips are a great way to start traveling with your kids that will allow you to start building confidence for those longer trips.

Family Day Trip Distance

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 while getting to experience more of the location then of 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.  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.

Why We Love Family Day Trips

Moving a lot has afforded us the opportunity to experience adventures many places around the United States and the World.  One of the first things I do 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 while also gaining an appreciation of trying new things. The earlier you can start them traveling the better!  Let’s get started by planning your first family day trip!

Day Trip With Kids Planning Phase

 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. 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 trip more enjoyable for you and for them.  All of these things should be taken into account during your day trip with kids planning phase.

Family Day Trips to Big Cities

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 kid 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.  Alternate family day trips between the big city and smaller location. You might visit the big city 10 times before you finish all of the activities but it might take you visiting 100 times also.  However many times you decide to visit, try diving into something new each time. This will make the experience feel new and rewarding each time and not burn you out on the drive and family adventures of that city.

Rural Area Family Day Trips

If you live only within a rural area, don’t feel discouraged.  There are many things that are offered at rural locations for day trips with kids. Do you enjoy: fishing, hunting, hiking, biking, the list is endless, not to mention that kids usually enjoy all of these activities.  Rural areas offer new types of family day trip fun that you can enjoy. Even traveling to a river and hiking downstream for a picnic in a new area will excite your whole family. 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 as they try to chase down that bird that they just can’t catch.

What to Pack for your Day Trip With Kids

I know what you are thinking… Pack but I’m only going on a day trip?  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.  If you need a way to carry all of these items definitely check out our favorite travel backpack, eBags TLS Mother Lode Weekender Convertible

Traveling with a baby on your family day trip?  Here are things to consider taking:

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

Baby Carrier or Stroller – Whatever your preference and day activities fit best (Brighter Elements Carrier)

Traveling with a toddler?  Think about these things:

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 – accidents 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)

Stroller – Your little love will quickly turn into a monster when they get tired of walking, make sure you are prepared for when that happens (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 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)

Traveling with an older child?  Think about these things:

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 7 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

Get Out And Enjoy Your Family Day Trip!

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.  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, family 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 known about.

Eager for more ideas?  Check out these guides for planning your family vacation and adventures.  How To Start Planning Your Next Family Vacation and Adventure, Tips For Saving Money On Transportation,  Choosing Family Accommodations: Tips From The Mommy Experts and 8 Family Travel Must Have Items!

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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