5 tips for making road trips with kids more enjoyable

 

By: Mary Gillespie

It’s that time of year again. For many of us, summer means at least one road trip to the cottage or other annual vacation destination. With kids, what used to be a straightforward drive from A to B becomes for many people a dreaded voyage into a dark underworld of bickering and whining.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Road trips with your kids can be an enjoyable part of your vacation experience. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your time on the road together.

1. Make sure your car is ready

Before hitting the road, make sure your car is in good running order. It never hurts to have a mechanic give it a quick once-over. Change your oil if needed, and make sure the brakes are in top condition. Nothing puts a damper on a holiday trip faster than a breakdown in the middle of nowhere.

2. Book accommodations ahead of time

If you will be stopping overnight, don’t take chances with accommodations. Book ahead to get the best deals and to ensure that you will have a room. If you have a CAA or AAA membership, take advantage of the discounts offered to members by many hotel chains.

A hotel with a swimming pool is a great way to give the kids a chance to burn off some of their energy after a day of driving. It also gives them something to look forward to during the drive.

3. Get on the road early

Even if you are not an early riser, it pays to get up and on the road before the rush hour starts. Pack the car the night before, and be ready to leave as early as you can. Bring a breakfast to go, and you’ll have several hours of relatively stress-free driving. You can be halfway to your destination before the kids are even fully awake.

4. Take breaks

Take a short break at least every three hours. Pull over somewhere safe and get out of the car. Sitting for long periods of time isn’t good for anybody: it’s important to stretch and keep your blood circulating. It can also be an opportunity to visit some interesting tourist sites along the way.

Remember, driving can be physically and mentally draining, so regular breaks will help keep the driver alert and safe on the roads.

5. Pack wisely

Pack a small overnight bag that is separate from the main luggage. That way, you can check into a hotel with a minimum of fuss and check out without having to repack the car. Keep toiletries, pajamas, a couple of changes of clothes and a swimsuit easily accessible.

It’s helpful to keep a pack of baby wipes handy, too, even you are well past the diaper bag stage. They are great for quick clean ups while driving.

Planning is the key to success for road trips with kids. This summer, plan ahead. Kids and adults will all be happier when they know what to expect.

Have a great trip!

 

Visit Mary’s blog: www.ketchupwiththat.com and follow her on twitter: @ketchupwiththat