For a family with children, traveling by car has its advantages. Kids are more comfortable in your car (not to mention calmer) than they might be on an airplane. It’s not a problem to pause for a bathroom break, run around and play for a little while, etc., when you travel by car. There’s also the fact that traveling by car is often times cheaper than flying.
However, any parent who’s made the mistake of taking a long car trip without proper preparation can tell you that these trips can make them…homicidal (OK, not really, but you get the picture). So, before you jump in the car with the family and head off to the World’s Biggest Ball of Twine, here are five tips you can use to make your family road trip a little bit easier:
- Bring Entertainment Options – Coloring books, crayons, toys, games and CD players will all keep your kids entertained for various amounts of time. If you have a DVD player in your car or a portable DVD they can hold in their lap, even better. IPads are increasingly popular as well. Finally, don’t forget the entertainment value of signing songs, playing I-Spy, license plate games, etc.
- Stock the Car with Snacks – You want to bring along some healthy snacks because a) they prevent crankiness due to hunger and b) they reduce the possibility that your children will constantly ask to stop somewhere and get something to eat. While chips and peanuts are good food for older kids, dried fruit snacks, chewy granola bars, and of course fruits work well for kids age 2 and up, and they don’t make a big mess either.
- Take Breaks Every Couple of Hours - You know your kids, and you know how long they can sit still before the urge to run and scream overtakes them. By taking breaks every few hours, you can get out of the car and stretch, walk around, maybe play a quick game of catch or climb on a nearby jungle gym. Mandatory trips to the bathroom during the breaks are a good idea too.
- Bring Medicine – If one of your kids gets a headache or becomes nauseous during the trip, you want to be prepared. There is nothing worse than seeing your kids in pain, so make sure to bring medicine such as aspirin and Pepto Bismol. These medicines can make your kids feel better soon, so the rest of the trip is not miserable for them. Also, if you’re planning on taking a trip that involves a lot of driving on winding and twisting roads, bring some medicine for motion sickness.
- Start Driving in the Evening – If you plan on taking a long road trip, you might want to start driving in the evening, so your kids will sleep through a lot of the trip. You can bring blankets and pillows to help your kids feel comfortable…just make sure you don’t fall asleep yourself!
With proper preparation, a road trip with your kids can actually be fun for you and of course memorable for them. Have fun.
About the Author: Jason Lancaster spent many summers stuck in the back of his parent’s Chevy, dutifully trekking across the Midwest. He’s also the editor of Tundraheadquarters.com, a website that reviews Toyota Tundra parts and accessories.