There’s no arguing that road trips are a fun and memorable thing to do as a family – and luckily, they’re often quite affordable compared to other means of family travel. And while it’s easy to see the many benefits to a family road trip, there are a few – perhaps – disadvantages that can be mitigated with proper planning and preparation.
With the kids crammed into the backseat for extended periods of time, they’re sure to get restless. Keep them entertained the whole way with these car ideas:
Play a game.
There are plenty of classic car favorites that your kids are sure to love. From I Spy, to Simon Says, Rock, Paper, Scissors, spelling bees, and more, there are many technology and supply-free games that are easy to plan, but are sure to engage the whole family.
Listen to an audiobook.
There’s nothing wrong with everyone reading their own book, and this is often a great distraction for children. To involve the whole family, play an audiobook aloud of something the kids are excited about – perhaps it’s an old favorite, or a new release in their favorite series. Audiobooks can be paused at any time for discussion, questions, and so on.
Bring a bag of tricks.
It never hurts to bring a few toys or gifts to surprise the kids with when you’re on the road. If your road trip is more than a few hours long, consider packing a few gifts that can be distributed every hour. Examples include:
- If you’re driving at night, bring a few glow sticks as an exciting treat for the children to enjoy
- A trivia game or other travel version of favorite board games
- Chalkboard and chalk
- Other small Dollar Store items
Pack good snacks.
Filling kids up on lots of sugar won’t lead to a calm road trip. But just because candy isn’t the best idea, doesn’t mean you can’t still have fun with what you pack. Kids often love the mini, single serve versions of everyday items like cereal. Or, instead of a candy necklace, make your own homemade version with cheerios, pretzels, froot loops, and so on. Or make up a few snack boxes with various fruit, nuts, cheese, cookies, and so on, all separated into individual compartments.
Pack a few coloring books to keep the kids entertained, or get a little more creative and print out a blank map of the route you’re traveling and have the kids color in the states, towns, and so on as you pass through them. This also helps educate the kids on where you’re going and how far you’ve come!
Play music for everyone.
Try to find some music that everyone in the family can agree on. If that’s not possible, compile a playlist that includes a few of everyone’s favorites and take turns letting the kids pick which song they’d like to hear next.
Letting everyone out to stretch and get a little fresh air is an important part of a successful road trip. Map out a few key pitstop areas in advance – including restaurants, picnic areas, and so on. Encourage children to get out of the car even if they don’t feel like they need to use the washroom, stretch, etc. – they’ll feel better if they do!
When the road trip is over, let the whole family unwind with a stay at one of our many extended stay properties in the US, offering kitchens, dining area, a large flat panel TV with premium channels, and high speed Internet access.