For many, spring break means hitting the road. Whether you’re visiting family or going camping in the great yonder, spending hours in the car with children can be a challenge. The key to going from surviving to enjoying your time en route to your destination is preparation. With a little forethought, your children will look back on family road trips with fondness and nostalgia.
Five Tips For Spring Break Road Trip Survival
Leave at a strategic time
For children under six, leaving right after lunch is ideal. Have potty trained little ones use the bathroom and make sure babies have a fresh diaper. With a full tummy, your small children will be ready for a short period of window gazing before they fall into a deep sleep. If you’re driving with only older kids, early mornings are a great time to hit the road. They’ll be full of energy and excitement without all of the mental fatigue that comes from a busy day. Pack the night before so that all you have to do is pile them into the car and drive off into the sunrise.
Bring along tech-free activities
If your children don’t get car sick, pack a few books, crayons, a small whiteboard and dry-erase markers, and stickers. Interactive crafts will keep them busy and entertained as you concentrate on the road.
Plan to stop
It can be tempting to want to test the limits when it comes to seeing how far you can go without taking a break but don’t fall into that trap. Children need to stretch their legs. Make rest stops interesting by planning them at interesting locations. Spend some time researching the landmarks along your way. Not only will your rest stops allow for some recharging time, they might end up being a memorable part of the trip!
There’s nothing wrong with popping a DVD player into your car’s console or letting a child play on their iPad in the car. Technology can be a huge lifesaver. Geotracking apps, such as TrackMyTour and TrackMe, will allow your older kids to help co-pilot your trip and explore the world around them.
Remember that you’re not the first or last parent to get nervous about taking their kids on a road trip. Try to see the journey ahead of you as less of a burden and more of an adventure that your kids will be talking about for years to come.