When I was a kid, my family never flew anywhere. If we went on vacation, we drove. Once we drove from Oklahoma to Disney World- that is a long trip! My sisters, mom, and I loved to sing along to the radio, but my dad would get super annoyed after a while and expect everyone to be silent. Let me tell you right now: silence is an unattainable goal with three girls in the car!
Taking a long road trip with kids may sound like a dream vacation to you, or it may sound like a nightmare. If you are on board for road tripping with kids, maybe this blog post will help make your car-time as pleasant as possible!
Pack the car strategically. Remember last week’s packing tips? Here’s the next step: Line your bags up in the order you will be needing them. Place them into the cargo area/trunk/luggage rack in the opposite order. If you are staying over somewhere for one night, then heading out again, pack one overnight bag for everyone in the family (pj’s and clothes for the next day only). Put that bag and the family toiletry bag into the car last. When you stop for your stay-over, only get those two bags out of the car. this will make things so much easier for you when you are ready to get back on the road in the morning.
Stay hydrated. People may not realize how much water the body can lose while traveling. During a road-trip everyone is sitting still, not being active, but in the summer heat we still sweat no matter how still we are sitting. Be sure that everyone is drinking enough water.
Snack Time! Speaking of water, it’s a good idea to purchase bottled water and snacks ahead of time. Convenience store prices are way too high, and the selection can be pretty narrow. If you take the time to purchase snack items at a local grocery store, you can save time, money and you’ll have the opportunity to make some healthier snack choices. Be sure to buy some snack size zipper bags to portion out the snacks. Some healthy ideas for those little baggies are: dried fruit, small crackers, trail mix, granola/granola bars, dried cereal And if you have a small cooler: fresh fruit, cheese, yogurt (put a straw through the foil top for less mess) finger sandwiches. If you choose to make sandwiches for the cooler, you could reserve those for a picnic lunch along the way to save a little money.
Sun safety: Just like forgetting about hydration, many people don’t think about sun exposure while riding in cars. The truth is, at least one half of the riders will probably be in the sun at any given moment. It’s important to remember sunblock and shades for the windows to keep from getting sunburned before the fun even begins!
Now, if we could just keep the fighting and whining to a minimum… Most cars nowadays come equipped with a DVD player, or a portable one could be purchased for a car that doesn’t have one built in, but it can be grating on parents to listen to kids movies all day long. Here are some other ways to keep kids busy on long car trips:
- Travel Tickets- give the kids one “ticket” for each half hour of the trip. Take one from them on the half hour. When the tickets are gone, you’ll have reached your destination.
- Travel Scavenger hunt for preschool or older children.
- Coloring books and crayons
- Mad libs
- Singing silly songs, or playing a cd of silly kids songs
Whatever the age of your kids, hopefully these tips will help make your road trip more relaxing and pleasant.