Are you heading out on a family road trip as part of Spring Break? Planning, embracing the unexpected and a healthy dose of humor can make questions like “Are we there yet?” more bearable. Here are 7 travel tips to make that Spring Break road trip a memorable and relaxing experience:
1. Make Frequent Stops
The key for a successful road trip is to make certain that children avoid boredom. Stopping at a rest area offers children a chance to stretch their legs and burn off some restless energy. Also, after filling up your gas tank, allow children to briefly peruse the aisles at the station store. This might provided a much needed pause from the monotony of car travel.
2. Equip Your Kids With Technology
On the road, it is about surviving long hours in the car. Children often need distractions and watching a movie for an hour on a portable DVD player or iPhone will help keep them occupied. Some parents may say that children are too plugged into technology, but if specific time limits are set on viewing privileges, a balance between screen time and quiet is attainable.
3. Pack Snacks
On a long road trip, children will crave some fun snacks as they drive along unfamiliar highways and side streets. Plan ahead and pack a variety of snacks for the hours in the car. Keep them in easy-to-handle containers or Ziploc bags. Space out snack time during the car ride so that the children look forward to their next favorite food item.
4. Bring Activities and Toys
In order to keep children entertained, bring activities to keep them occupied. Paper, coloring pages, pens, pencils, and crayons can go a long way in keeping their attention. You can play tic-tac-toe or hangman, and let them doodle or color on their paper. You can also tell them to spot a particular car on the road, like a VW Bug, or play a quick game of I-Spy. Also, before heading out the door, let your children pick two toys that they want to take along as a part of their road trip experience.
5. Allow Them to Take Pictures
Encourage older children to take pictures of cool sites on the road. You can offer your smartphone or purchase a kid’s camera to show them that they are in charge of taking pictures during the trip. As an incentive, let them know that when you return home, you will print a picture of their favorite snapshot. This activity allows children to feel independent and offers parents some moments of silence while the kids take their snapshots.
6. Be Prepared
Road trips require preparation. If you have younger children, plan your trips around their nap time and bring a portable potty. With older children, pack wipes, plastic cups for snacks, and kid-friendly music so they can listen to some tunes while they are in the car. To ensure that you don’t miss anything, make a list and pack a week ahead of your trip so that you have the best chance of having family fun.
7. Expect the Unexpected
Having a carefree attitude will also help in your traveling experience. There may be some unexpected delays, like traffic and weather, that might increase your hours on the road. Try to handle these minor obstacles with perspective.
What are some of your tips for road trips?
Image: The Open Road by Adam Meek via Flickr