The Family Road Trip: A Survival Guide for Parents

The Family Road Trip: A Survival Guide for Parents

 

When planning a family vacation, one factor you must consider is whether you are going to drive or fly. While there are advantages and drawbacks to both, you may opt to drive if you are traveling with your children, especially if they are toddlers or preschool age. While driving with the family can give you more control over a road trip, it can also be a challenge for any parent. If you are ready to hit the road with your clan, there are some tricks and tips you can use to make ensure the road ahead is a smooth one.

 

Map Before Your Pack

 

Packing for a road trip can be an important part of proper preparation. However, before you pack, you should plan your route. Print out maps, gather traffic and construction information for each state you plan to travel through, and be aware of the weather conditions that might exist in each area. Understanding road conditions, how long it might take you to drive through certain cities, and what delays you might encounter can help you pack your kids’ in-car bags with more certainty.

 

Combine Gas and Rest Breaks

 

If you have a definite itinerary or need to reach your destination by a certain day in order to fit in all of your plans, then consider combining your rest breaks with stops to fuel up. Not only will this mean fewer stops that might eat up driving time, longer stops for fuel mean your family can get out of the car, use the restroom, and even browse for fresh snacks inside a convenience store while you fill up the car.

 

It may be easier to combine rest breaks with fuel stops if you make a plan first. Review some of the highest-rated fuel apps for your smartphone to help you calculate how far you can go on one tank of gas and then search maps for gas stations or travel centers you can reach by the time you will need more fuel. This can help you avoid frantically looking for gas stations when the tank is low.

 

Have an Arsenal of Games Ready

 

Few things are more stressful than driving long hours with a car full of bored or cranky kids. While electronics may be able to distract them for a few hours, you might drive into areas where connectivity is limited or nonexistent. However, you can head boredom off at the pass by having a variety of verbal games ready.

 

Depending on your children’s ages, you can play TV or music trivia, ask them to count how many colors they can find in the car, or play travel versions of classic board games. The more games you have in your arsenal, the less likely your kids will get bored.

 

Pack Creature Comforts

 

If your road trip involves driving across several states or at night, then packing some creature comforts for your kids can help ensure that they remain comfortable. Soft fleece blankets with their favorite cartoon or movie characters on them, cozy or fuzzy socks, and travel pillows of all shapes and sizes can help them nap or relax Look into travel pillow options before you leave so you can buy one for each member of the family.

 

Pack Rest Stop Activities

 

Rest stops are typically not exciting for kids, but you can make them fun by packing some toys for them to enjoy there. Jump ropes, sidewalk chalk, scooters, and inflatable beach balls can all be used to make up impromptu games at rest stops, which is especially beneficial for younger kids who need to stretch their legs and expend some energy.

 

It is important to consider safety if you are going to pack these toys for your children. Make sure you pull into an area designated for your vehicle type, keep them well away from the parking lot, and do not them wander into areas that might be hiding dangerous or venomous wildlife. Many areas that may contain snakes or spiders are usually marked, so keep an eye out for such postings.

 

Taking road trips with your kids can either be a fun-filled adventure or one big headache, depending on how well you plan your trip. If you plan ahead, pack smart, and consider the needs of each individual family member, your road trip can be a joyous event that all of you will remember for years to come.

 

 

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