When was the last time you took a family vacation? Sure, you might be one of the 87 million people who enjoy recreational boating, but there’s a difference between going out on the boat every weekend and taking an honest to god road trip with your family.
If you’re ready to take a family road trip before the warm weather goes away, here are a few essential tips to keep in mind.
Pack Plenty of Snacks for Everyone
If you’ve ever been on a family road trip before, you’re probably already aware that hunger is the number one complaint. When kids are hungry, they get cranky. When you’re hungry, you get cranky. That’s why it’s so important to make sure you pack enough snacks for everyone. Remember that the average human needs to eat every three to four hours, so the amount of snackage you bring along needs to reflect that. If you’re stopping once for a big meal in the middle of your trip, make sure you’re planning your snacks around that. And finally, make sure you’re packing individual snack portions that won’t make a huge mess! If you’re stuck for road trip snack ideas, here are a few to consider.
- Single-serve trail mix packets
- Cheese sticks
- Portioned and sliced fruit or veggies
- Pre-made sandwiches
- Soft granola bars
- Single-serve bags of chips
- Popcorn or crackers
- Yogurt tubes
When in doubt, pack a few snacks that your kids will love at any time of the day. It’s also a good idea to bring water bottles and a few juice boxes for everyone to stay hydrated on the road.
Choose the Scenic Route
The scenic route might take a little bit longer in terms of driving time, but it will be well worth the sights you see. For example, if you’re driving to the northeast, consider making your way through Delaware. The state has almost 26 miles of Atlantic coastline, which makes it the perfect scenic route if your kids have never seen the ocean before. In addition, try to plan your route so that there are specific sights to see along the way. Plenty of scenic routes through the U.S. have roadside attractions that are perfect for the whole family. Not only do they give you a chance to stretch your legs, but there are bound to be some great photo opportunities for you and your family when you visit the world’s largest ketchup bottle. If you’re nervous about the “are we there yet” debacle, try playing some car ride games with your kids. Craft a list of things you want them to look for while you’re on the road, and have them tell you when they see one. Not only does this get them interested in the scenery, but it also gives you some peace of mind.
Help Everyone Pack an Entertainment Bag
Part of ensuring a peaceful family road trip is keeping your kids occupied while they’re in the car. Older kids might be content to look out the window every now and then or spend most of their time on their phones, but younger children might need a little bit more help. Regardless, it’s a good idea to make sure everyone has their own carry-on entertainment bag with them for the car ride. And as long as it won’t make a mess or disturb anyone else too much, there’s really no limit on what can go into these bags. Just make sure they’re small enough to fit in your child’s seat with them. Some kids might want to bring a notepad and colored pencils. Others might want a way to watch a movie on the road. When you consider that fiber optic cables can transmit data at almost 15.5 terabits per second, it becomes much more feasible to plan for things like movies on the road. Stuffed animals, handheld video games, and books are all great options to put into your kids’ entertainment bags.
Planning a family road trip might seem a little bit stressful at first, but you’ll thank yourself once you get on the road and there’s no disturbing of the peace while you’re driving. Happy trails!