Building the perfect road trip for the young ones
Where ya’ headed?
A data scientist calculated that the optimal route for a road trip around the entire United States would require more than 224 hours of driving. With little ones in the car and a laundry list of things to do at home, that’s probably not so realistic.
No one knows better than you how long your little ones will tolerate being in the car without turning into three-headed monsters, so choose a place that won’t make little Kimberly throw a tantrum. Pro tip: get your kids involved in deciding where to go (from options you’re already A-OK with) and it’ll get them excited about the trip!
The lay of the land
Once you’ve settled on a location, plan out your pit stops in advance. In addition to meals and bathroom breaks, you can stop to shop, see a famous roadside attraction or visit a park to give everyone a chance to stretch their legs.
Be sure to check weather and traffic along your route so you don’t run into any unexpected surprises. If your kids are still kings and queens of napping (lucky you!), you may want to choose a time to drive when they can get a good snooze.
Keeping their tank full
From healthy snacks like fruits and veggies to not-so-healthy options like candy bars or cheese puffs, the more options the merrier. Let the kiddos pack their favorite snacks and drinks themselves. You’ll be guaranteeing that at least their bellies will be full and happy, which is always a good idea (unless you like negotiating with “hangry” kids, that is).
Good music can make a long drive go by faster. Prefer radio? You can research which stations you might like in the areas you’ll be passing through. Got some extra dough in the budget? Subscription radio services have plenty of family-friendly stations to choose from.
Not a fan of worrying if the next song will be inappropriate? Use family-focused playlists from streaming music providers like Spotify, or make your own playlists consisting of songs you and your family can karaoke with at full volume.
Passing the time
Avoid the dreaded “Are we there yet?!” by keeping the kids entertained and comfortable, while making sure they are secure in their booster or car seat (if needed).
For entertainment, you can rely on a lot of the same things you do at home, like books and tablets. You can also use the time in the car to share some wisdom, stories, or play games that involve the different things you see along the way (for a little nostalgia, try reviving “punch buggy!” or “I spy something…”).
Just in case
Before you hit the road, make sure you are prepped for the zombie apocalypse. Kidding… but be prepared for the unexpected. In addition to having a roadside safety kit, you should know what helpful benefits and services your auto insurance company offers. The quicker you can remedy the situation, the less time there is for your kids to get restless.
Road trips are all about family fun and experiencing new things together. By being prepared, you can be sure it will be a memorable experience for all the right reasons.