If you’re planning activities that you and your kids can do for summer, you may want to consider going on a family road trip. Load everyone up in your car and embark on scenic drives cross-state to see the natural beauty and diversity of different places in the U.S.
As with any endeavor with young children, you should plan everything carefully. This way, you avoid anyone ending up in tears — whether it’s you or your kids. Before the trip, make sure to assess whether your young ones are ready to stay in the car for long hours.
If you feel that this year is the summer you can introduce them to road trips, here are five tips to help you get ready:
Look for Off-highway National Parks
When planning your itinerary, you can maximize your trip by searching for off-highway parks. These are places you can drive through for a scenic route from your home to your ultimate destination.
The United States boasts of numerous national parks that will show off the country’s beautiful landscapes. You can even use the drive as a learning opportunity by researching the park’s history and other interesting facts. Although they may seem like a detour, the diversion will be worth it since your kids can see the magnificent geographical formations first-hand.
Plan for Stops
While you’re creating your itinerary and the hours you need to cover for a day, give some allowance for pit stops. You don’t need to keep a strict schedule, though. What’s important is that you take note of how long your kids need after drinking and eating their snacks to use the restroom. Make sure to use pit stops wisely since this can cause delays in your family road trip.
Buy Some Car-friendly Snacks
Snacks are crucial for keeping your children happy in the car during a family road trip. Hunger pangs and being stuck in an enclosed space for a long time do not make for happy kids. However, make sure to only pack snacks that are car-friendly. This means no liquids in a wide-mouthed container or anything that leads to a mess.
Hard-boiled eggs are a classic protein-packed snack that is easy to prepare. To make it even more mess-free, you can peel the shells ahead of time. Fruits like grapes, apples, and bananas are also delicious and sweet. In our family, we pack some healthy sandwiches as well since these can double as meals if we don’t want to make a stop at a restaurant.
Prepare In-car Activities
Aside from snacks, prepare some things that your children can do inside the car to keep the boredom at bay. Although watching movies and TV shows can help, it might lead to feelings of dizziness and nausea.
These are other options you have for entertaining your kids:
Toys: Pack your children’s favorite toys. Just make sure that they’re not made up of pieces that can get lost in the car.
Arts: You can prepare art tools, such as crayons, coloring books, markers, and dry erase boards, where your kids can draw and write anything they want. They can also create sculptures using tin foil and other materials.
Games: Classic games like “I Spy” or the “Alphabet Game,” can keep boredom away for a few hours. Feel free to make your own versions of these games with your family.
Music: Listening to music is also a great way to entertain your kids. Although not everyone might have the same tastes, you can take turns choosing songs.
Get Your Kids Involved
The best way to get ready for a family road trip is to brief your kids and get them involved in the planning process. Have them pack their own bags, help with preparing the snacks, and choose the activities that your family will do during the long drive.