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Top 6 Tips for Taking Kids on Road Trips

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Are you thinking of going on going on a family road trip this year?

As things begin to open up, more families are looking into wanting to take the family vacations that they had to cancel last year. While some popular venues are still closed, many are beginning to open up to limited numbers with carefully instituted health precautions to make the experience as safe as possible.

While many families are open to the idea of getting away on a much-needed family vacation, they are not quite ready to travel by plane or public transportation. This is why more parents are looking to drive. Yep, they are planning on embarking on the all-American ROAD TRIP!

I am a huge fan of ROAD TRIPS! Yes, it takes longer to get to your destination, but they can be way less expensive and a lot of fun for the family. Yes some of my fondest memories growing up are tied to family road trips we went on (especially the 12,000 miles 6 1/2 week road trip we went on when I was 14.)

While Road trips can be fun and memorable they can also be stressful at times. Especially if it’s a long road trip and you have kids. There are definitely things you can do to make your road trip easier and more enjoyable.

1- If possible, start your travel in the early morning or the evening.

We have found that for long car trips our kids are more likely to sleep for more of the trip if we either leave early in the morning or in the evening after dinner.

If we are leaving in the early morning we try to get our kids into the car without fully waking them up (pre-breakfast). Then we make them cozy by tucking a soft warm blanket around them. When we do this, the darkness, and movement of the car often sends them right back to sleep for hours before they wake up wanting food and entertainment.

Likewise, if we are planning to drive through the night, we like to set our after dinner when it’s about twilight. Again we tuck our kids into their seats and then let them pull out their tablets and headphones to enjoy for a bit before the darkness and movement of the car sends them to sleep.

2- Pack Travel Bags for each of your children.

We have found that travel bags have been literal lifesavers when traveling with kids (no matter what form of transportation we use.). They are also great for while you are out and about or having downtime at your vacation accommodations.

These bags are filled with an assortment of items for each child’s entertainment as well as some favorite snacks and a drink.

You can find out more about how to create the perfect kid’s travel bags in my post HERE

3- Schedule breaks to stretch your legs.

Anyone who has gone on a long car trip knows how important it is to get out of the car occationally to stretch your legs. This is especially true for kids. Even if your kids are happily entertained they will still gt stir crazy being buckled in for soo many hours on end which can cause them to act out and be cracky… Either that or they will start to get hyper and start bounding off the walls of your car.

We often will look for a local park when we stop to have our meals, (whether we get fast food or eat the food we packed in a cooler) This way we can eat outside in the fresh air and then the kids can spent 20-30 minutes running around the park getting excess energy out before getting back in the car for the next driving stint.

4- Pack a cooler/box with food and snacks.

Kids aren’t the only ones who get hangry. Adults can too. This is why packing food for your long road trip is always a must. When packing food we would recommend packing a variety of healthy and snack treats to switch things up on the drive.

Having easily accessible food while driving will not only help you save money (since you won’t have to spend it on expensive fast food) it will also help you to keep going longer.

I particularly like bringing a cooler in addition to a small box/bag of snacks. I like having a cooler because that allows me to bring items that normally need to be chilled like cheese, yogurt, cold cuts for sandwiches, fruit, and drinks. Additionally, when you get to the hotel you can fill it with the food you want to have for quick and easy breakfasts in the case that your room doesn’t have a mini-fridge (like milk (for cereal), juice, cream cheese (for bagels), fruit etc). And you can keep your food cold with ice from the hotel ice maker.

5- Pre Download Audio Entertainment

While the kids are happy with the entertainment you packed for them in their travel packs, it’s also a good idea to prep some travel entertainment for you too.

Yes on long car trips my husband and I love to get in some quality talk time together. However, on long road trips it’s nice to just drive and listen to something engaging like music, audiobooks, and podcasts.

You will find out real quick that you can’t rely on your radio since on long road trips you will find a lot of places don’t have any good stations to listen to. Additionally, you wont be able to live stream audio books or pod casts (even if you have unlimited digital on your cell service) because you will hit areas you just don’t have service. Which is why, I recommend downloading onto your phone or car compatible audio device) the music playlists, audiobooks, and podcasts you want to listen to while driving before you leave home.

6- Switch up Drivers.

This one isn’t always possible. However, if it is possible we highly recommend switching up who drives every few hours to keep the driver fresh and alert allowing you to drive a lot farther before you have to stop for the night.

Doing this will cut down on your actual travel time to and from your destination, which your children will thank you for.

Whatever your destination is for your upcoming family road trip I hope you have a fantastic time with lots of fun memories that your family will cherish. You deserve it!

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