Thinking about taking a road trip? We’ve got the family road trip 101!
The summer months are the perfect time to plan get-togethers with family and friends. With the warm weather and beautiful sunshine, come opportunities to get together and spend as a family whether it be a picnic, pool party or big reunion. The beautiful weather helps with the traveling aspects of things as well. There is nothing worse than driving in slushy, cold weather—especially when you have your children on board. There’s a good reason, summer is the peak time for family road trips!
Whether your trips are short or long, you’ll be sure to hear, “Mom! Are we there yet?” at least half a dozen times during your journey. It’s the mantra of family road trips and if you don’t hear it chances are your child is either asleep or preoccupied with something really cool. After hours upon hours in the car things can get a little nutty, or not depending on how prepared you are. Some kids love the car and others not so much.
With over 7 road trips under our belt already this season, I thought I would share 10 of our favorite tips and ideas for a successful and stress-less family road trip. What are your favorite tips?
1. Pack your own snacks and water 1 of 10
You'll save a lot of money on drinks if you bring your own reusable bottles filled with water and can keep control on the salt and sugar intake by packing healthy snacks you can't find at the gas station—grapes, apples, healthy crackers, muffins, etc.
Tip: Forgo the juice boxes and stick with water. If your tot or child ends up spilling it, you don't have to worry about sticky stains!
Photo credit: Holly Leighanne on Flickr
2. Movies 2 of 10
If you don't have a built-in DVD player in your vehicle, you can still provide movie entertainment by downloading movies onto your iPad or purchasing a portable DVD player. Martha Stewart has a great iPad holder that slides over a headrest - genius! I prefer to use the movie option in moderation. You'll see why in my next tip.
3. Get the conversation started 3 of 10
Don't forget to talk to your kids and ask questions during your trip. Talk about the scenery, play Eye Spy, ask about their day, ask about what excites them about their summer, make a destination wish list and sing along to CDs or songs on the radio. Shut off the electronics for a bit and spend quality time with your family. It's the best time to do so as no one can get up and go anywhere.
4. Play a few games 4 of 10
Eye spy is a popular road trip game in our family, but there are many others you can play. For example, give each child a card with all of the letters of the alphabet and numbers from 0-9 that have been printed neatly across. Have them see who can cross them off first, by checking the license plates of vehicles you pass by or follow.
Another great game is Bananagrams!
5. Audiobooks 5 of 10
This is one of my favorite tips. Audible has many different audio books you can purchase and download onto your digital device. Access your library through USB in your vehicle and have your kids listen to children's classics. You'll be shocked at how quiet the vehicle gets!
If your vehicle isn't equipped with a USB jack, you can always download the files at home and burn them onto a CD!
6. Journal it 6 of 10
Head to Walmart or Target and pick up a ruled notebook and coloring pencils (don't bring crayons as they tend to melt) and have your child document your trip with drawings and journal entries. If you are stopping at a hotel along the way, they can even glue mementos in each page.
7. Bring the wipes 7 of 10
These are such a life saver and I like to keep a full container in the car at all times. Dirty faces, sticky hands or spills clean up in a flash. Wipes are also great as a pick-me-up when you are tired, hot and feel grimy after hours on the road.
8. Load up the eReaders 8 of 10
Instead of bringing bulky books, load up your e-reader with a variety of books and magazines for various ages. Mine is known to have everything from the New York Times to Cat in the Hat.
9. Take turns driving 9 of 10
My husband is very adamant about driving. He likes to do all of it and it irks me to no end as I want to give him a break and take over the wheel for a bit. On our last trip, I insisted and the drive was more enjoyable for him and I. He was able to take a break and I had a change of pace from sitting and waiting.
10. Coffee 10 of 10
I don't drink coffee unless absolutely necessary and when driving long distances, it is absolutely necessary! Caffeine is your friend on long hauls!
Find more of Nadia’s writing on her site Child Mode. You can also find her on Disney Baby and Hip Baby. Love social media? So does she! Follow her daily on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest.