Family road trips can be a lot of fun if you and your children are fully prepared. There is nothing worse than a child having a meltdown in the back seat, because they are hungry and you ran out of snacks. Getting lost is another issue that can turn a fabulous road trip into a disaster. We drive a lot throughout the year and long to bring the kids along with us. We have driven locally, across Canada and throughout North America a few times. No matter if the trip was well planned or last minute, each time it was memorable.
Here are 6 tips that you can use to get the most out of your next family road trip:
- A few days before your trip is the perfect time to map out your route for your trip. Many times, there are multiple ways to reach a destination and you may want to choose the fastest route or the route where there is the least amount of traffic or road work. This is also a great time to find hotels, restaurants and possible rest stops along the way. Maybe even some touristy spots you can check out to stretch your legs.
- While you never want to over-pack for a trip, there are certain items that you will want to make sure that you have plenty of. These items include diapers, wipes, drinks, and snack items. An extra set of clothes for each family member can also come in handy if someone spills something or someone gets sick or has an accident. Sunscreen and a camera are good to have as well.
- Illnesses never take time off when you are on vacation, so you will want to make sure that you have a first aid kit, ibuprofen, Tylenol, and zip up bags for anyone who may be sick.
- Everyone will need their own bag of activities for the drive. Your children can have items like coloring books, reading books, travel games, and a favorite stuffed animal. Your bag can include a book or two, magazines, the newspaper, and a craft project like knitting or crocheting. The dollar store has a great selection of mini travel games that are perfect for travel bags.
- If you have a long drive for your trip, you may want to consider leaving in the middle of the night or really early in the morning. Your children can sleep in the car and you will miss a lot of the rush hour traffic in the morning. With the days getting longer, starting off just before the sun goes up will help you get a jump-start on your trip.
- There are multiple rest areas off of the major highways, but if you are on the back-roads, you will not find as many. When you are planning your route, you should find a few places to stop during your travels. Children have a lot of energy, so big open spaces like parks or rest areas with a lot of space are good choices. Each stop should be long enough to use the restroom and have about fifteen minutes to run around. You will all appreciate the break out of the car and your body will thank you for the stretching and moving opportunity.
A few other things we found the kids enjoyed bringing are; their own camera ( a disposable one is great)., They can take their own pictures and will watch closely for anything that may be picture worthy in their eyes. A tablet or other device to watch movies and play games. I get it, you want your children to talk and look at the view, but for long drives entertainment is great. We also had a teacher suggest a travel journal for our youngest. This way she could document our trip and share with the class when returning to school.
Family road trips can take a lot of work to plan and execute, but the time that you will be spending together will be wonderful. You may even be surprised at how well your children get along during this type of vacation. Plus, before you know it, you will have reached your destination and you will have a few days before you will have to get back on the road again, as you are heading toward home.