Tips for Mastering the Family Road Trip

With summer now upon us, I am excited to share a guest post by Marie Nieves about ways to have an enjoyable family road trip! As you set off this summer for your own road trips, family time, and adventure, my prayer is that you may be blessed with safety and lifelong memories. – Nathana

Most youngsters are prone to showing defiance when removed from their common environment (their room, the company of their peers, etc.). Road trips can be troublesome due to the long ride in the car. As the pumped air circulates through the car with the smell of stale Cheetos, kids become antsy, and begin to complain about boredom.

Looking back at my technology-ridden childhood I recall taking long road trips to my aunt’s house. I always wanted to have a portable gaming gadget. This made me ponder what’s worth keeping from my childhood era and what we can incorporate from the modern paraphernalia.

Instead of reliving the scene from Shrek where Donkey keeps asking “Are we there yet?” until everyone goes berserk, make a plan that would bring more ease to the family trip and please even the tiniest of passengers. Here are several simple tips for avoiding mayhem on your family road trip:

Video Games
I wouldn’t want to prohibit the presence of a tablet or a smartphone altogether, but remember to employ such entertainment in moderation. Don’t let the little ones play on their own. Challenge them, and let everyone (except for the driver) take turns playing some game and trying to get the high score.

Engage in a competition and encourage your children to cheer for their teams (#teamMom and #teamDad, for example). Also, install some educational applications and you can rest assured that your children are spending their time intelligently.

Arts and Crafts
Kids can be outstandingly focused when they’re using their hands to play or create something. Still, allowing a ball or some similar object into the car could lead to pandemonium. Make sure to resort to low key activities that don’t demand or inspire wide movements and erratic behavior, such as drawing and coloring, beading or origami, for example. 

Audio Books
Oftentimes reading in the car can make kids feel car sick, but yet it is an enjoyable way to pass the time. Solution? Checkout a couple interesting audio books from your local library! If you have teenagers, they may be interested in listening to podcasts together as a family–if you can find a topic that interests everyone . . .

I’m sure you’re familiar with the term hangry, and the condition is even more frustrating when kids are the ones hangry. Healthy snacks and meals are a staple, but rewarding your kids with one visit to McDonald’s or a similar place of their liking is pardonable if they behave nicely. A good supply of yummy, healthy snacks can keep everyone in the car happier! Also, bring plenty of water to keep everyone properly hydrated, especially in the summer months. 

Healthy Snacks

Pack enough comfy pillows and blankets for the kids’ car naps. When it’s early in the morning and you want to seize the day, children may still be too sleepy and might need to sleep longer. Plus, this passes the time easier for everyone. This in mind, you can also drive at night time and spare your kids the trouble of a really long ride.

Car Sightseeing
I always loved to hear about the “scary cave” on the way to my grandma’s house. It kept me on my toes throughout the whole ride. Assume the role of a professional guide and dig up some cool facts to tell your kids about the places and sites you pass by. Also, watch license plates and see who can spot the one from the furthest away. If you have the flexibility to do so, stop at cool spots along the way to let your kids sightsee and stretch their legs. #MakeSomeMemories #EngagingLife

family vacation

Rested Drivers
Make sure you have at least two seasoned drivers on board who can take turns when the other one gets sleepy or tired. Alternatively, you have a choice to share accommodation through one of the popular services and get properly rested on a budget.

Smart breaks
Kids tend to eat up or drink too much without thinking much about the toilet availability. Considering they have proportionately small bladders, they really do need to go to the bathroom more often than an average adult. Plan your pit stops ahead and avoid potential car mishaps or bladder issues.

Medical Emergency
Pack up the necessary medicines.  Also, have the numbers and addresses of the doctors and hospitals (in network if possible) on the road in case of an emergency. Better safe than sorry.

The very basis of any successful road trip is planning, planning, and some more planning. Jot down everything that comes to your mind and use our tips to append the list with some smart hacks. But the second most important factor in a successful family road trip is flexibility. Plan and prepare, but keep your cool when your plans change. Life happens. 

What pro tip for traveling with kids would you recommend?

About the Author

Marie Nieves is a lifestyle blogger who loves unusual trips, gadgets and creative ideas. On her travels she likes to read poetry and prose and to surf the Internet. Her favorite writer is Tracy Chevalier and she always carries one of her books in her bag. Marie loves to share her experiences and talk about practical solutions. She is an avid lover of photography. You can find Marie on Facebook or follow her on Twitter and G+.