Going on vacation with your entire family can be an incredible experience, but taking a long drive to get to your destination can be rough, particularly if you have young children. It can be challenging to get your kids to sit still and behave for a car ride that lasts longer than an hour or two. However, with the right strategy and tools to keep the kids occupied, you’re likely to have an enjoyable, low-stress vacation.
In this article, we discuss some tactics you can use to survive your next family road trip. Whether you’re traveling to a relative’s house for the holidays or taking a leisurely drive through a scenic region of the United States, we hope these tips help you have the best experience possible.
Leave Early in the Morning
Very few people are excited by the idea of waking up early and hitting the road, particularly if that means wrangling the kids into the car as well. However, there are undeniable benefits to getting an early start on your travels. For one thing, it’s likely that your kids will be tired and they may even sleep through the first portion of the trip. This can give you some much-needed peace and quiet to start your travels off on a great note.
Additionally, by the time lunchtime rolls around, you’ll be well on your way to your final destination. If your drive was only a few hours away, you might have even arrived already! Starting your drive early can also help you avoid traffic and reduce your risk of getting into a collision. Having to file a car accident lawsuit at the very beginning of your trip would certainly put a damper on everyone’s spirits!
Pack Enough Snacks
No one wants to be stuck in the car with a hangry passenger. To avoid any unpleasantness, be sure to pack plenty of snacks that you know your kids like. Some snacks that might go over well include fresh fruit, string cheese, cracker packs, cookies, and sandwiches. If you’re going on an extended drive, make sure to pack perishables into a cooler so they don’t go bad. Having some non-perishable snacks in the car for emergencies can be a wise decision as well. When time allows, you may consider stopping for a picnic lunch during your drive so the kids can explore and get some energy out.
Bring Activities to Keep the Kids Occupied
Anytime you find yourself in a car with young children for an extended period of time, you’re going to want to make sure you bring plenty of activities to keep them occupied. Kids have a short attention span, so you’ll want to have multiple activities to keep them entertained. Keep in mind that there’s a fine line between “keeping the kids happy” and “making a giant mess in the car.” Be sure to bring activities that won’t get too messy or get on the interior of your car. Some items you may consider bringing include books, toys, and sticker books.
Letting your kid watch a movie or play games on an electronic device can make the time pass quickly as well. It can be beneficial to limit the amount of time your children spend on electronic devices, though. Encourage them to take breaks periodically to enjoy the scenery and family company.
Take Plenty of Breaks
It’s wise to schedule plenty of breaks to your trip, in addition to whatever unplanned bathroom breaks will inevitably be required. Driving long distances can be exhausting even for experienced drivers. You’ll probably want to switch drivers every so often, grab the occasional coffee, and maybe even take a short rest.
Kids tend to appreciate when their days are planned out. Although it can be challenging to determine the exact time that you’ll take a break from driving, you can give your kids a general timeline. You can tell them that you’ll take a picnic lunch around noon or stop at the next town you encounter, for example. If you know of any interesting sights or attractions along your route, you may consider visiting them to keep your kids excited despite the long car ride.
Let the Kids Nap if They Fall Asleep
Especially if you start your trip in the early morning, it’s likely that the kids will doze off at some point. This can give the adults in the car a much-needed break, so you should definitely encourage your kids to get some shuteye if the opportunity arises. You can bring pillows and a comfortable blanket to help your child sleep more comfortably. However, they should always remain seated in an upright position with their seatbelt on. This keeps them safe if you need to swerve suddenly or a collision occurs.
Building the Foundation of a Successful Roadtrip
Planning for a long roadtrip with children can be tough, but it’s well worth your time to iron out as many details as possible before backing out of your driveway. By planning activities, preparing snacks, and mapping out your route well in advance, you give yourself the best chance of experiencing a relaxing, stress-free trip.