Road Tripping with Kids with Corey Villicana and Kelly Sweda

It might seem like a huge task to some parents; a long journey ahead, driving for hours and wrangling the kids at the same time. But to other parents it's the perfect way to switch off and connect by showing their kids the great wide world around them. We chat to one such mama, Corey Villicana about her annual Spring Break road trip and her 5 top tips to conquer the adventure of road tripping with kids in tow. Read on below...

KellySwedaPhotography.Hannah_Cousins-5326 copy
KellySwedaPhotography.Hannah_Cousins-5357 copy
KellySwedaPhotography.Hannah_Cousins-5385 copy

This was the second year that we took a Spring Break Road Trip. Year one, we started from our home here is San Diego and headed north to my sisters home in Santa Barbara. From there, we traveled north along the coast, visiting Morro Bay, San Simeon, Big Sur, Carmel, Watsonville and Santa Cruz before returning back home. This year we started the same, San Diego to Santa Barbara, then traveled north east, visiting Paso Robles, the Central Valley, Sonora, the Sierras and San Francisco.

To me, these road trips mean the making of lasting memories. I want for my boys to look back and these trips and remember how much time and attention was poured into the experience, as well as the lasting memories of the California landscape that they wouldn’t have seen otherwise. I love when I talk to them or look at a picture of a waterfall or glacial lake that we spent an entire day hiking to and saying “We did that!” - thats the best. Family means more to me than anything and building on the already strong relationships that we have with one another is one of the greatest feelings in the world. One day, hopefully they will share stories of these trips with their own children, and travel the same way.

KellySwedaPhotography.Hannah_Cousins-5600 copy
KellySwedaPhotography.Hannah_Cousins-6099 copy
KellySwedaPhotography.Hannah_Cousins-6139 copy


1.Stock Up// Make sure that you have your vehicle fully stocked full of snacks, refreshments and things to do! Depending on where you are road tripping and the distance between each destination of our trip, you want to ensure a smooth and enjoyable ride for everyone!

2. Roadtripper App//I highly recommend downloading and using the Roadtripper App, available though the Apple Store- It allows you to easily enter the city and or address where you are staring your trip and ending it. Then you are able to plug in any known destinations sights along the way, your “wish list” of stops, attractions etc. The APP suggests the best driving route to take, estimates time and even gas milage between each point of interest on your trip map. Anther of my favorite features is that along your driving route, the APP suggests additional stops to make, depending on your interests. We have seen many things along the way that we wouldn’t have even know existed without this feature!

3.Unplug// It was early decided decided that our road trips with our children were the perfect opportunity to unplug from electronics and really make the concentrated amount of time together in the car count. We talk, exchange stories, listen to music, sing etc. Also, we bring along some games such as Road Trip Bingo and Mad Libs- both of which bring lots of laughs!

4.Get Moving// There are so many amazing hikes, trails, beaches and forrest to explore. Research ahead of time the ones that look most interesting to you and your family and make it happen! Most times when setting off on an “adventure” as we call them, the children drag there feet a bit, but as soon as were out of site of the car, they are fully submerged and interested in whatever it is that we are doing. Some of my fondest road trip memories are of the amazing landscape and coast line that we have seen for the first time as a family.

5.Document// Bring a camera, or two! Document as mush of the trip as you can! Oftentimes, I don’t always have the time to deeply reflect on the beauty along the road while in the midst of it, (road trips with children are a lot of work!) but once home and settled back into the normal pace of life, the imagery and video footage that I capture on these trips is invaluable.

KellySwedaPhotography.Hannah_Cousins-6155 copy
KellySwedaPhotography.WaGON_North_High_Res-5905 copy
KellySwedaPhotography.WaGON_North_High_Res-5953 copy

Thanks for sharing Corey and Kelly!

xx TBP

Photography Credits: Kelly Sweda Photography