Many families end up taking road trips over the summer in order to visit the beach, parks, or other fun destinations. Unfortunately, family road trips can also be very stressful for parents if they are not properly planned out. After all, children can become grumpy and frustrated when trapped in the car all day, and this can lead to you feeling tired and frustrated as well. The good news is many of the annoyances of family road trips can be avoided with a little bit of foresight and planning. Here are five ways you can prepare for a family road trip that will make it the best one yet.
Plan out your route before you leave.
Before you even pull out of the driveway, plan out your trip and the route you will take. Figure out how many hours per day you will be driving, when you will stop, etc. If you have smaller children, make sure you plan out some stops where they can stretch their legs and get some exercise. This could be at a park or rest area, for example, where there is some green space to get some movement in before heading back to the car. You could even do some research to see if there are any roadside attractions to stop at for a short break—world’s largest gnome, anyone?
Figure out some entertainment options.
You can bring audiobooks, movies, family-friendly podcasts, and more, but have a few entertainment options planned out before you leave. This can help shorten the long hours in the car. And think about some games you can play as a family—think: I Spy, finding something that starts with ‘A’ and working your way through the alphabet, or 20 Questions.
Have each child pack a “fun bag.”
Have each child fill a bag with books, toys, art supplies, magazines, or other entertainment options for the trip. Let them keep this bag beside them throughout the trip. That way, when they feel bored, they can find something to entertain themselves all on their own.
Stock up on drinks, snacks, and comfy pillows and blankets.
It’s no secret that children become cranky when they are thirsty, hungry, or tired. However, when you’re on a road trip, you may not be able to stop right away when your child is hungry or thirsty. To solve the problem, stock a cooler with drinks and snacks before you leave. That way, your children will never end up too hungry or thirsty. Additionally, bring a blanket and pillow for each child, so they can take a nap whenever they want to.
Practice safe driving.
Did you know that car crashes are a leading cause of injuries and deaths among young children in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention? In order to keep your children safe during a road trip, make sure you’re practicing safe driving. Avoid distracted driving and driving while drowsy. Make sure your car is in good condition before you head out. Make sure you’re obeying the rules of the road and not engaging in dangerous activities, such as speeding.
Additionally, if you have younger children, make sure they are in the proper car seat for their age and weight. The proper car seat can provide a lot of extra protection in the event of a crash. Make sure your child is properly restrained in the seat before you even start driving.
These are just a few ways that you can prepare for your family road trip and make it a little more enjoyable and safe for everyone. Follow these tips and enjoy your next vacation with your little ones.
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