What it Feels Like to Take a Road Trip with a Carsick Child

Plot your route, fill the coolers, and don’t forget to pee before you leave the house: It’s family road trip time! An annual tradition of trapping your loved ones in a hot metal box for hours on end, breathing in one another’s toots (IT WASN’T ME I SWEAR) and begging Dad to change the radio station while making memories on your way to a fun final destination. Weeeeeeee!!! My advice for an extra-special time? Check your packing list for potential puke scenario supplies, for you never know when a kid’s tummy will decide that life on the road is simply not one it approves of. May these mothers’ harrowing tales be warning enough to encourage you to be prepared.


“Taking a road trip with my carsick daughter feels like I’m going to war with an evenly matched opponent. A little detail can be the difference between victory and defeat.” – Herchel S. of Jacksonville, FL 

This mom had planned out a week’s worth of outfits to last her kid a week’s vacation. The problem? That sweet little projectile vomiter went through every last one of them during the two-hour trip there. Maybe next time drape her in layers of drop cloths, instead?

“It feels like traveling with a ticking time bomb made of hot dogs and corn. I have many stories. She yacked in the car en route to Disneyland and I didn’t have a towel (idiot) so I whipped off my t-shirt on the freeway and threw it at her, arriving at the happiest place on earth in my bra.” – Amy W. of Los Angeles, CA 

The most important part of this story to note is that her dad was riding shotgun. YEP. So if you don’t think ahead and pile a tower of towels in the trunk, you could end up topless in a car with the man who gave you life. AWKWARD.

“It feels like carrying a hand grenade that may or may not explode.” – Kristin S. of Austin, TX 

And that hand grenade can come in the form of chunks of ham sandwich that spatter the entire interior of your new SUV. But don’t worry: a garden hose, few rolls of paper towels, and some help from professional detailers can help with that. (Is Scotch-Guarding an entire vehicle an option? It should be.)

“I grabbed a towel from our bag and tossed it towards her in the third row seat. It sailed through the air, still folded, and landed perfectly square on her chest, and she promptly threw up all down her front and the towel. It smelled awful and is simultaneously one of the grossest and proudest moments of my parenting life.” – Leigh Ann T. of Austin, TX

Proof that “vomit radar” is a real thing to be proud of as a parent, and so is very good aim.

Can you empathize with these stories, and have one of your own to tell? Share it in the comments—and if you happen to have any tips to help us prevent the puke or keep it from ruining our road trips, we’re all ears!

More Mom Truths: