Road trips are an extremely popular way of taking vacations. In the United States, 76% of travelers choose road travel over air.
Road trips have a plethora of advantages. They give family members adequate time to bond with each other, away from the regular home routine. Besides, they present a unique opportunity for travelers to see more of the country than fly. It is often more economical to drive, not to mention easier than steering frenzied airports, especially when traveling with young children.
All the same, sitting cooped up in a car for long hours also comes with its own set of challenges. Young children can often feel tired or restless from just sitting and binging on a snack-filled diet, making them cranky and sluggish.
To avoid this, we have carved out a list of top 7 helpful tips for parents to make their road trip less hectic and much more enjoyable.
1. Don’t overdo it
It is important to understand that babies and young children do not have the patience to sit in one place for long hours. So, it is best to plan shorter trips that do not make the kids agitated.
If you have to travel a short distance, it is advisable to schedule a drive during the daytime, especially when your child takes a nap. If the distance is very long, it is better to break the journey into comfortable parts with frequent stops for eating, resting, and playing.
2. Avoid mobile activity and play offline games
Too much activity on the mobile, especially in a moving car can make the children feel even cranky. To avoid wasteful screen time, you can play classic card games with your children to keep them engaged and interested.
Games such as Uno, Alphabet Game, State License Plate Game, etc. are great options for school-aged kids. These games will not only help them stay involved but also facilitate learning effectively.
3. Collect all the tools and toys needed for a kid-friendly trip
Another effective way to fight backseat boredom is by carrying a lot of exciting tools and toys for your children. Fortunately, several organizational gadgets and car toys are available in the market that can keep the kids interested while causing minimum chaos.
For instance, you can go for special coloring kits that only transfer the color to actual paper, and not skin, clothes, or even your car. It can easily make your child busy for a long time. In terms of organization, you must carry small-sized trash bins, collapsible dishes, and seat-back bags to keep the car tidy. Don’t forget to carry your roof top tent if you are going for an outdoor camping trip.
4. Carry healthy snacks
Vacations generally equate to the high consumption of fast food. Because it is so easy and relatively cheap to find casual restaurants everywhere, travelers easily fall into a fast-food rut. But with a little amount of planning, you can readily find healthier alternatives that are just as inexpensive.
On the way, you can easily find supermarkets or local farmer markets that offer fresh foods. The key is to find foods and snacks that aren’t too full of sugar, and at the same time, don’t create a mess. You can look for sandwiches, salads, muesli bars, rice crackers, hard fruit, and low-sugar beverages.
5. Find ways to manage travel sickness
A lot of children experience car sickness. If you think that your child could be one of them, it is advisable to travel with all the necessary supplies, such as disposable bags, paper towels, sanitizer, etc.
Besides, you must try to give your child certain foods that prevent nausea, for instance, ginger or peppermint food products. Alternatively, foods that further agitate the sick feeling must be kept away.
6. Take frequent breaks
Family road trips are not races. So, to keep your child fresh and active for long, take a lot of breaks in between. Toilet breaks, eating breaks, etc. after regular intervals will help to keep monotony at bay.
You can also build in time for interesting sights that come on the way. Exploring quirky off-beat sights will allow you to develop a better bond with your young ones. It is important to allow time for unplanned side trips and be spontaneous. You must not feel stressed if you can’t stick to a schedule.
7. Listen to music during the journey
Music is one of the best ways to stay relaxed and entertained during a family road trip. Indulging in different genres of music will keep the spirits lifted and help the children stay interested. Music is also very helpful when you are traveling with babies or toddlers. It is an easy way to expose the young ones to the sounds of words.
Before starting the trip, make sure to create a playlist that mixes all music varieties that will appeal to everyone in the car.
These tips will surely help you have a great and enjoyable road trip with your children. But remember, even the greatest of the plans don’t work sometimes. So, don’t feel agitated or frustrated if, at any point, you find it hard to please your kid. After all, trips are all about spending time with your family.