Road trips with kids are awesome for about the first 20 miles are so then the whining usually sets in and nobody is having fun. It’s inevitable; not many people find sitting in the same position watching trees and fence line fly by stimulating and enjoyable. Especially kids with their shorter attention span and boundless energy have a harder time with long road trips.
Some good planning on your part can make it more enjoyable. The most important thing to remember for surviving a road trip with your kids is that someday they will be grown up and they will go on their own vacations and road trips. Right now they are still yours, even at their most frustrating the memories you make with them at home and on the road are priceless. Pack some patience, your sense of humor and sense of adventure and enjoy the ride!
Before you even begin packing the car there are a few things to do…
Safety Check – If you have younger children with boosters or car seats take the time to check them to make sure they are still functioning properly, adjust straps for safety first then comfort. Be sure all seatbelts are properly functioning. If they don’t have headrest pillows, consider picking up one of these to keep them comfy.
Dress for comfort – Loose fitting, elastic waist pants and t shirts, shoes that slip on and off easy. (These will come in handy for you too when you overindulge at some greasy spoon along the way too!) Buttons and tight waist bands do not make for comfortable traveling.
Pack Snacks – Easy snacks that are nonperishable and not too messy should be packed it a basket or bag that is within arms reach to fend off crabbiness from hunger- individually packaged items like: Goldfish, gummy fruit snacks, dried fruit, applesauce in squeeze packs, popcorn in zippered bags, juice boxes, and bottled water.
Plan stops – If it is an extended road trip try to plot out stops for overnight hotel stays along the way. At the least designate a town or a time for stops, this way you and the kids have end points to look forward to along the way. Short stops should be taken along the way for bathroom breaks but also to stretch your legs. If possible, find a park or somewhere the kids can run a bit and get the wiggles out.
Consider traveling at night – While it is not always possible, it makes it easier on the kids. If they are sleeping for the longest leg of the trip, you won’t hear “Are we there yet?” quite as much and there is also less traffic at night.
Load up on activities – Tablets, handheld video games, and portable dvd players with a handful of movies are great to bring along. (Don’t forget the Animalz headphones!) If you don’t want to just pop them in front of technology for the entire trip, there are tons of printable travel games on the internet that will keep them busy and maybe even teach them a thing or two. Crayons and coloring books, chapter books for the older kids, small action figures and even toy cars can keep them busy too.
In the end, all that truly matters is that everyone arrives safe, healthy and happy! Happy travels defined……
What are some tips you have for roaptriping with kids?