Road trips are a great way to enjoy your vacations. In 2019, a study found that almost 73 percent of Americans chose road trips over flying. This is probably because road trips are way cheaper than flying. Also, navigating chaotic airports always feels like a burden, especially when you are with your kids.
Even though the long road trips can be a source of great family bonding, yet too much time being confined in a car together can be very challenging. Especially, young kids tend to get bored easily due to restless sitting through the long routes with dull scenery.
A road trip with toddlers can either be a terrible chore or a fun-filled experience; this entirely depends on how well you are prepared.
Following are some great tried-and-tested tips for parents. Consider these tips before hitting the road to make your trip less stressful and a fun experience for the whole family:
1. Plan Your Route
Try to follow the recommended route on Google maps if your only goal is to reach your destination in the shortest possible time. But, if you love nature and want to maximize sightseeing on highways, you can choose the alternate routes as per your preference. This may add a few more hours to your journey, but it will be worth it.
At the end of the day, the 22-hour ride in the car on scenic roads is more entertaining and pleasing than the 20-hour ride on a high-speed expressway.
It is advised to always map out the journey before leaving the house. Use your smartphone and plug your destination in it or use a mapping website to evaluate the expected time of your trip. Knowing the route before will let you plan some short breaks.
2. Map Out Some Fun Pit Stops
Don’t miss the chance to find interesting places to stop for breaks. Remember, it’s not all about reaching the destination only. Stop off regularly as these little breaks will not just be memorable but are essential for kids.
Do a bit of research on your route and find local food shops, scenic roadside attractions, and other spots for a good rest stop. These spots may include a park, waterfall, museum, lakes, etc. This will provide you and your kids some outdoor stretching activities. Also, the kids will burn their energies being busy with outside fun. This will more likely result in them falling asleep inside the car.
You can also bring along a Frisbee, no-spill bubbles, or a ball as a safer option for your kid’s entertainment, just in case you don’t find a park equipped with playground rides.
3. Manage Car Sickness
If your kid is prone to traveling sickness, this may be quite challenging for you. If anyone within your family is expected to suffer from motion sickness, it’s always better to travel with some medical-grade disposable bags.
Also, try to avoid sickness altogether by having ginger or peppermint food products. It is clinically proven that these food products help to prevent nausea.
Another tried and tested tip to avoid car sickness is to let the queasy passenger sit at the front seat as it has less movement than the car’s back seat. Moreover, try to consume less food to prevent nausea. Also, spicy foods tend to worsen your sickness, so avoid it if you can.
4. Enjoy the Traveling Time Together With Different Fun Games
Offline games can be life-saving as it involves the whole family and the concept behind is to reduce the screen time of kids.
Games like license plate bingo or alphabet games using highway signs can be a great option to get your kids involved in watching the scenery around them. Or you can let your kids quiz you on continents and capitals by handing them the world map.
It’s always better if an adult can join the toddler in the backseat for different games for at least some time during the trip. Value your time on the road and avail yourself of this opportunity to spend the best quality time together by playing card games, offline games, working on simple arts and crafts projects.
5. Pack Healthy and Less Messy Goodies
With just a little bit of planning, you can track down healthier, in-expensive goodies along with low-sugar beverages to keep your kids’ hands and mouths busy while traveling. In this way, you will be able to distract your kids, and also, you won’t always be at the mercy of roadside food shops.
The in-expensive snacking options that are meant to please your kids can include whole-grain crackers, cereals, trail mix, and sliced fresh fruits. Or you may pack protein bars, hard-boiled eggs, sandwiches, and individually wrapped cheeses as a road trip snack.
Pack all the items in a separate container and slowly take them out to get the most out of it during your family road trip.
Consider eating your meals while on the way, rather than expecting your kids to sit still during a restaurant meal. For us, the best tip is to pack all the picnic goodies and plan to eat them at a park or rest stop along the way.
6. Choose Music for Entertainment Purposes
We suggest you play music during your road trip to keep everyone entertained. This way, your journey will be more enjoyable. Make a special playlist for your trip featuring everyone’s favorite songs.
Another option is to bring audiobooks. You will be adventuring in an imaginary world rather than being on a boring highway if you listen to the story together. Recent technologies have made it even easier. All you need is to download the stories to your smartphone and play them in your car via Bluetooth.
7. Be Well-Prepared for Emergency Situations
Whenever traveling with kids, make sure you have a roadside emergency kit in your car. Pack some frozen juice boxes, extra food items, water bottles, blankets, and basic first aid items like bandages and antiseptic spray. Don’t forget to pack large zip-lock bags to keep soiled clothes. Or they may serve as a toilet in case of an absolute emergency for your young kids.
Also, make a list of some emergency contact numbers like pediatricians, relatives, and roadside assistance.
8. Pack Spare Outfit for Everyone
Don’t forget to pack a spare outfit as anyone of you may need to change to get fresh. Make this a hassle-free task by arranging the spare outfits in packing cubes as they offer an easy way to keep the clothes in their place. You may assign every family member their own packing cube color scheme to make it easy for you to distinguish when in need.
You must take enough precautionary measures to be safe and make your kids comfortable on a road trip. A car seat or booster seat is of great importance as it allows the kids to remain seated and safely bucked