Road Trip Better with Your Kids
Heading out on a road trip soon? Our Spring Break is right around the corner, and it looks like we’ll be going on a long road trip to look at colleges this time around. So, this got me thinking about What Makes Road Trips Easier?!
Here’s a few tips and ideas that I’ve put together to help make your next road trip a huge success!
Road Trip Essentials
Don’t pack sugary snacks. Pack some fresh fruit, vegetables, sandwiches, and water for the road. Have a couple of surprise treats like candy or chips, but try to keep things healthy! Some of our favorites: apple slices, carrots with hummus, homemade beef jerky, bananas, and sometimes we’ll bake some egg cups for the road.
One of the best inventions ever for road trips, in my humble opinion, is the Portable DVD Player!! Before each trip I like to buy a few new movies that my kids haven’t seen yet and save them so they have something new to watch on the road. It helps make the long trip go a little quicker! We also make a trip to the Used Book Store before each road trip to load up on a few new books! Books and movies tend to work better if your kids are a little older. For younger kids, movies with a television series is a little easier. The 20-30 minute episodes tend to work a little better for them. Scooby Doo was always a favorite (an still is)! TRAVEL TIP: Audio books are a great way to spend car time together. Depending on the ages of your children, choose books that will hold their attention (and hopefully yours)! Also great if you get car sick from reading!
Depending on your kids ages, you may need more variety to keep them busy and entertained. These days, my kids are great at amusing themselves, even for a 10-hour drive. But, I definitely remember the days that their attention spans seemed like they were about 2-minutes – and the 10-hour drive seemed to take days!! Find some great games and books that have a variety of options with them. TRAVEL TIP: I highly recommend bringing some Ziploc bags to keep game pieces together. You don’t want to lose any pieces!
One of the biggest time killers for us early on with our kids, was the potty stops! It seemed like every 20-minutes we were having to pull over so somebody could get to a restroom. One year it finally occurred to me that we should bring our portable toilet in the car for the kids. We had a van and pulled one of the seats out and put the little toilet there. It was the best trip!! No more potty stops every 20-minutes!! TRAVEL TIP: If you bring your toilet, also bring along a supply of diapers, plastic grocery bags and wipes. I would line the toilet with the plastic bag, then the diaper. Roll the diaper up when done, use a wipe for both hands and toilet and tie up the plastic bag. Next meal stop, dispose of your plastic bags!
- If you have a multi-day trip, do the long day first and have a short day next. We usually do a 10-hour day our first day on the road and then the second day is always much shorter. This give us time to take a swim in the morning before we hit the road!
- If your kids are old enough, have them help in the planning stage. I’ve found that when my kids have time invested in the planning stage and have given input into our trip, they tend to be more engaged. Makes for a happier trip for all!
- Plan your days with the kids’ schedule in mind. Try to schedule stops when they will be awake and take advantage of that time to get them moving. And then, make sure nap time is driving time and hopefully have a little bit of quiet on the ride!
- If you’re staying at a hotel, choose one with free breakfast and a pool! A little swim after a long day in the car and before you have to hop back in helps a lot!!
- Plan a stop when the kids can get out and run around for a few minutes. It doesn’t take much to help get the wiggles out!
Have a Great Road Trip!
All in all, I have found that doing a little work ahead of time, saves a lot of headaches and hassles while in the car! It doesn’t take much, but it is really worth it!
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