Throughout the year many families plan their vacations. Whether it be a summer vacation or a holiday break, between low gas prices and weather, now may be the perfect time to hop in the car for a long family road trip.
While long stints in the car leave many kids asking “Are we there yet?” take a look at these tips to have them instead asking about the next road trip.
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Make the Journey Part of the Fun
Car travel doesn’t have to be a necessary evil required to reach a destination. Make the drive part of the fun. In addition to classics like the license plate game, many new entertainment options are available that the whole family can enjoy.
Younger kids will like simpler games like eye spy while older kids may prefer trivia or other time-tested favorites. Additionally, look for interesting stops along your route. If a billboard offers an interesting detour, take it.
Break Up Long Drives
Most kids don’t like to sit still for hours on end. Take frequent breaks at regular intervals to interrupt long stretches of road. Let the kids stretch their legs and blow off energy at rest stops and other roadside attractions.
While taking breaks will add to your overall travel time, the stress reduction likely will pay off tenfold. By taking regular bathroom breaks, you also reduce the unfortunate chance of being stuck in traffic with a child who needs to use the restroom.
Bring Plenty to Do
While many cars now have rear-seat entertainment systems, consider packing old-fashioned or educational activities for your children. If your family is taking a road trip during the school year, bring homework. If traveling over summer break, bring books or brain games.
One alternate activity that can get the whole family involved is listening to a good audiobook or podcast. With an enormous library of available titles, there’s something for everyone.
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Being that I don't have kids myself, I am not able to recommend specific toddler car toys, but my friend Kristin has 10 that she recommends!
Discomfort can make any kid irritable. To keep the whole family happy, make sure you have weather-appropriate attire, as well as other comfort accouterments to keep the backseat peaceful. If the weather will turn much hotter or colder at the destination, make sure you bring a change of clothes.
If there’s room, consider packing a blanket and pillow for the kids. It may also be a good idea to pack tissues, hand sanitizer, and upset stomach medication, particularly if your child is prone to carsickness.
Plan a Budget and Stick to It
This final tip is for your sake. After all, you can’t have a happy family road trip without happy parents. For your own peace of mind, plan a realistic budget, and stick to it. Consider allocating a small portion of your budget for splurge activities and other unexpected expenses. Adhering to a budget will reduce stress on your part and lead to a happier trip for all.
A road trip can be an awesome bonding experience and a time for the whole family to get closer. While things inevitably come up on any road trip, these simple tips will hopefully reduce stress and make the trip more enjoyable for the whole family.
How about you? Do you have any kid-friendly road trip suggestions to add?
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