Road trips are the best, especially when there’s peace and quiet along the way. Listening to your favorite tunes while driving down the highway can give you a sense of freedom, fun, and excitement. But when there are kids along for the ride, your drive has the potential to instantly go from a fun-filled adventure to a precursor to road rage. Planning ahead, however, can help you and your family avoid the pitfalls of such a traumatic traveling experience.
If your plan is to travel by car to visit family or friends over the Memorial Day weekend and you have small children, I suggest you make a complete list of all of the items you’ll need to keep those precious bundles of yours occupied along the way.
As a mother of three children, all very close in age, I knew I would have my work cut out for me when I had derided to plan a road trip to Florida several years ago. My kids were eight, eight, and six at the time, and even though they were pretty good at entertaining themselves, I knew being cooped up in a minivan for more than nine hours would be enough to challenge any person’s ability to refrain from being completely bored out of one’s mind. I wanted the trip to be memorable, too. Not in a traumatic sense, but in a very pleasant way that would make them smile whenever Florida was ever thought of or mentioned. So, here are several tips that I hope will make your trip as pleasant as they did mine, and that will help make your family road trip one they’ll never want to forget.
- Portable DVD player – Most kids love to watch movies. Sit down with your kids and allow each child to choose one or two DVDs to bring along for the trip, which leads me to my next tip.
- Library – Many libraries carry a lot of DVDs, as well as other items, that will keep your kids occupied for at least two hours on the road.
- Books – Again, make your local library one of your top priorities when planning a trip. Getting books so they can read is a great way to keeping them occupied. Reading can also be a great sleep inducer as well.
- Read-a-long CDs – Just in case reading a book makes your child a little nauseated like it did one of mine, check-out a few read-a-long CDs for some entertainment.
- Snacks – Don’t forget the snacks, but instead of the usual chips, candy, and sodas that will only have them more hyped up, make available to them a variety of healthy snack choices while on the road.
- Plan for stopping time – We all wish to just get to our destination, but don’t forget to enjoy the process of getting there. Depending on the length of your trip, map out your route and decide which areas would be the best places to stop to stretch, to eat, or to allow your kids to run around for a bit. This just may tire them out, providing you a little peace of mind.
- Camera – allot a time for each child to be the picture taker. While traveling through beautiful scenery, encourage your child (if old enough) to try and capture the most breathtaking photos possible. A disposable camera would probably work best.
- Electronics – Of course, we can’t forget about the portable electronic game consoles. Make sure that all consoles are fully charged before your departure, and don’t forget the games and chargers.
Most of these tips can be applied to plane travel, as well. Just make sure that the items you wish to use are brought along in your carry-on luggage and not packed away in cargo. Be safe, and happy travels.