It just isn’t summer without a road trip. Air travel can be expensive; so for most families, traveling by car is the more affordable choice for long trips. But when you put several people in a car together for hours on end–particularly when some of them are young children–you’re in quite a pickle. Road tripping with kids doesn’t have to be difficult, though. With these tips, your car ride can be enjoyable for everyone.
1. Decide on the best time to leave. If your kids aren’t morning people, the last thing you want to do is drag them all out of bed for a 5 a.m. head start. That’ll just make everyone cranky! Choose a time when most of the kids are in a good mood, but also plan ahead for sleep. Leaving during the evening may be ideal if your kids will sleep through the night.
2. Pack your own snacks. Convenience store stops add up quickly in terms of time and money. Pack things that won’t make a mess, like apples, water, string cheese and pretzels. For more no-mess snack ideas, check out this post.
3. Take along some entertainment. Yes, I mean the tablets, smart phones, MP3 players and DVD players along. I know, screen time isn’t ideal for kids. But when it comes to your sanity during a 12-hour car ride, a little screen time is worth it. If you’re dead set against screen time, physical books or audio books are a great choice for entertainment.
4. Pack hand sanitizer, wipes and spray disenfectant on long car trips. Public restrooms are unpleasant at best and completely disgusting at worst. But when ya gotta pee, ya gotta pee.
5. Make a few pit stops along the way. We all tend to be rigid with our schedules when traveling, but there’s something to be said about diverting from the beaten path. If you see a sign for an interesting site, restaurant or park, go for it! It’ll give everyone a chance to stretch their legs and decompress.
No matter where you’re going, make an effort to be patient and enjoy each other’s company.
Have a great family vacation.