You’re going on a long vacation drive with the whole family. Sure, it sounds scary. But take a deep breath. With a little planning, it’s easy to turn the drudgery of a road trip into family fun time.
As you zip toward the sunset, try some of these tips to keep the whole car happy.
Tricks and tips
Timing is everything. Leave before dawn. You can avoid traffic and often get a few hours of driving in while the family snoozes. Use your GPS, or map it out beforehand, to understand your options for rest stops and restaurants.
Dine while dashing. A full (or snacking) kid is a happy kid. Bring treats that kids don’t always get at home, whether a new cereal, fun granola bars or something the kids helped you make. Add their favorite fruits and veggies to your snack packs and you won’t feel so guilty about the occasional fast food stop along the way.
Break out the oldies but goodies. Introduce the kids to
counting cows, I Spy, Name that Tune, My Grandmother’s Cat, and all those games your parents used to pacify you as a child.
Learn to love electronics. From in-car televisions to tablets, phone apps and handheld gaming systems, electronic entertainment is one of the easiest ways to keep your kids busy. There are plenty of inexpensive or free educational and interactive apps to download, so do a little research before the trip and stock up on some healthy electronic states of being.
It’s not just about the destination. The journey is memorable too. Plan fun stops along the way (if there are any) that everyone can look forward to. Halfway-there stops are always great and provide a much-needed stretch and sightseeing session before the last leg of the journey.
Be crafty. Bring along stickers, crayons, ribbons, tape, coloring books and blank paper within portable lap trays for kids to keep them occupied and amused. Give them some creative ideas and direction, and let them go about creating
Make sure to pack the following items. You’ll be glad you did.
- Bottles of water
- Children’s Tylenol
- A digital (or disposable) camera
- Hats or caps
- Paper towels
- Ziplocs or plastic grocery store bags for wet clothes, garbage, shell collections, etc.
Most of all, bring your spirit of adventure. Sure, there’s a possibility your kids could lose their enthusiasm for the trip as the long miles accumulate no matter how upbeat and positive you act. But it’s almost guarantee that if they sense any negativity from you, they’re going to take that as your tacit approval for them to feel miserable, too.