Road trips are a staple of family adventures, but they can be exhausting for the unprepared parent.
When everyone is in a car for long periods of time, it’s easy for problems to arise—especially when traveling with children. However, with some careful planning ahead of time, it’s easy to overcome the obstacles and have a blast with family on a road trip, no matter how small your kiddos. We’ve put together a list of some great road trip hacks that will ensure your next car-bound family vacation is a great one. And all it takes is a little forethought!
Related: Is Your Car Road Trip Ready? Easy Checks Anyone Can Do – and What a Mechanic Should Look at – Before You Hit the Road
Plan Your Family Road Trip Destinations Ahead of Time
This sounds like a no-brainer, but it’s so important to have a rough idea of where you’re aiming to go on this road trip. Depending on the trip, the family fun could either come from the journey or the destination—but you’ll be thanking yourself if you have a rough itinerary plotted out ahead of time.
Planning ahead can help to alleviate boredom and prevent everyone from being in the car for too long. Plus, it can help you accept input from family members which is crucial to having a fun road trip. Kids, especially kids of different ages, have different wants and needs during family trips so it is important to have them give input before setting off. And even if you just want to head off and have fun, you’ll still have a rough idea of the best rest stops and gas stations to hit to ensure everyone is comfortable.
Electronics Are Your Friend
Many families might be reluctant to let their kids stare at a screen during road trips. While they don’t need to be on electronics for the entirety of the trip, using electronics as a way for kids to distance themselves for a while can be useful.
Kids, especially kids with a large age gap, are prone to irritating one another. When conflict starts to escalate, consider allowing them some time on electronics to cool down and mentally step away from one another even if they can’t physically distance themselves. It’s a great way to keep them occupied when there’s nothing exciting to hold their attention, and you’ll definitely enjoy a few moments of just being a driver, not a peacemaker.
Frequent Breaks During Family Road Trips for Happy Parents & Kids
As previously mentioned, having everyone in close proximity for long periods of time could naturally lead to some irritability. As such, it is important to give everyone a chance to get outside and stretch their legs, even if it is just in the parking lot of a gas station. Additionally, you will want to ensure everyone has a chance to use the restroom. Try to talk to your kids ahead of their destinations and let them know that if they need to use the restroom now is the time to do so.
It can also be helpful to practice taking longer trips. Both you and your kids will have a sense of how long they can travel without getting antsy or needing to use the restroom.
Bring Plenty of Snacks and Water
Perhaps the most important tip of all, make sure to have everyone pick out some snacks and bring along some healthy snacks and water. Letting everyone pick some snacks to take can boost morale and prevent begging for restaurants while on the road. Further, kids will have different tastes as to what snacks they prefer so consider letting them go grocery shopping with you ahead of time, or let them help to make the shopping list. Pack a cooler with everyone’s favorite goodies, and you’ll have happy campers the whole way.
Family road trips can be a blast, but there are some potential issues that you should address and prepare for. However, if you talk to your family and see what they want it can be easy to plan the perfect family vacation that is sure to result in happy memories to be cherished for years to come.