‘Are we there yet?’: Traveling with kids overwhelms parents after 5 hours, survey shows

NEW YORK — Kids asking their parents, “Are we there yet?” is the least of their problems once they’re on the road. A recent survey of 2,000 parents of kids 10 and under sheds light on some of the struggles and joys they encounter while traveling with their little ones.

It reveals that parents start getting overwhelmed five hours into their road trip with their children. Still, a quarter (24%) prefer traveling via car instead of flying to their destination – perhaps because 72 percent of parents pack at least one bag or suitcase for their children while on the road.

Planes, trains, and automobiles

Overall, 39 percent say traveling by car or plane can be equally difficult, and 12 percent have no preference. Sixty-five percent of parents noted they have an easier time keeping their kids comfortable when traveling by car.

Although there are plenty of moving parts, 69 percent think traveling wouldn’t be the same without their little ones because they keep the vacation fun. Seven in 10 take their kids on every trip they go on (71%), and a similar percentage look forward to bonding with their kids on vacations without any distractions (72%).

Parents also shared some of their favorite memories of traveling with their children, such as singing in the car together, going on cross-country road trips, and witnessing their excitement at seeing somewhere new. Two in three parents feel they can bond with their child through meaningful conversations on road trips.

According to the survey conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Diono for its Lifetime Journey Care launch, two-thirds of parents agree that the most difficult part of traveling with their kids is keeping up with the messes, especially those with more than one child (70% vs. 50%).

Nearly six in 10 parents reported having a hard time cleaning up messes on the go (59%), with bathroom accidents being the most common after their child is nestled in one spot for a while (41%). Others cited drink spills as being the hardest to clean up when they soak into the crevices of a car seat (36%).

Traveling With Kids

Parenting travel hacks make trips go smoother

Parents shared some of their go-to travel hacks, like traveling at night so their kids are asleep, having travel trays and seatbelt pillows on hand, and making frequent pit stops so the trip feels shorter to their kids.

Toys (38%), snacks (38%), and electronic devices (35%) are some of the keys to smoother road trips. Despite being prepared, however, 71 percent of parents still need to purchase extra necessities – such as diapers or snacks – at their destination after almost running out of supplies during the trip.

“Whether it’s singing car karaoke or spending some quality time with a tablet, kids and parents are finding the joy of the journey together,” says Diono CEO Tim Maule in a statement. “Car seats that grow with your child are both safe and fun to help kids get excited for the road ahead.”

The average parent triple-checks their kid’s car seat to make sure it’s safe enough to strap them in. Still, one in seven parents lacks confidence that they’re installing the car seat correctly.

“The survey showed that a third of parents need to seat three passengers across one row of their vehicle several times a week, and even more utilizing this feature at least once a week,” Maule says. “We’re delighted that parents take safety so seriously that they’re double and triple-checking their car seat. Car seats must be used properly every single time in order to keep kids safe, and no matter what kind of seat you choose, proper installation is the key.”

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About the Author

Chris Melore

Chris Melore has been a writer, researcher, editor, and producer in the New York-area since 2006. He won a local Emmy award for his work in sports television in 2011.

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