It’s that time of year again, summer vacation. This is the time of year when families everywhere start planning family road trips. If you are amongst those planning a family road trip this summer, than stay tuned because what I am about to share with you will make this year’s road trip the best ever.
There are really three things to consider when you are planning your family road trip. You want to make sure you pack the right stuff. You want to make sure you meet your kids’ needs (this means everyone is happier). And you want to make sure you keep the kids busy in the car on those long trips. So, let’s unpack these three things (okay, so that was supposed to be funny….).
Packing the Right Stuff
I remember as a child my mom would create these elaborate checklists detailing every aspect of our road trips. I always thought she was going a bit overboard, but now that I have kids of my own, I find myself doing the same thing so nothing is forgotten.
As you are packing for your trip, you might want to consider making checklists of your own. This will help you determine what you need to pack, but they are also very helpful as you are getting ready to return from your trip because you can double check the list to make sure nothing has been forgotten.
Be sure that you pack enough clothes for your trip and that you pack for a variety of weather types. It might be the middle of the summer, but you never know, a long sleeve shirt or jacket could save a chilly evening.
You also want to make sure that you pack stuff for your kids to do while you are away. Packing a few familiar and fun toys, books, and games will not only provide activity for the kids, but it will also give them a sense of comfort to see these things while they are away from home. And whatever you do, don’t forget to pack the loveys!
Meet the Kids Needs
As you are traveling, it is very important that you remember to take care of your kids’ physical needs. They have little bodies, and they have to go to the bathroom, eat, move, and sleep more than we do as adults.
While you are on the road be sure to stop about every one and a half to two hours for a potty and stretch break. Keep snacks in the car so they can eat when they are hungry, and respect their need for sleep by providing downtime when necessary.
By respecting and meeting your kids’ physical needs, you will have much happier kids and that will make everyone’s trip way more fun!
Keep the Kids Busy in the Car
There is nothing worse than the “Are we there yet” chorus being sung from the back seat of the car. Boredom on the trip is very common among the younger set, but you can be prepared to head it off before it even starts.
Make sure that you keep some travel friendly books and toys in the car for your kids to play with as you drive. FYI: Legos do not make good toys for the kids to play with while you are driving. One hard step on the brake and pieces are everywhere. Not cool!
As you go to various states, always pick up state maps. I always try to pick up one for each child and give them to them as we are driving through that state. We are able to talk about some of the features of the state we are going through, you know the lakes, mountains, rivers, and cities, and they are able to follow along with our route on the map.
Also, you can play games as you travel. I spy and scavenger hunt games are always fun to play in the car and can be modified to fit the age and skill level of all children in the car. There are several prepackaged games that can be purchased, but it is just as easy to make up your own as you are zipping down the highway.
When you have exhausted all of the toys, books, maps, and games and you still haven’t reached your destination, it is always fun to have a portable DVD player. Just plug in the kids favorite movie and before you know it you are a couple of hours further down the road, the kids are happy, and you are having the best road trip of your life!