How to Road Trip With the Family

How to Road Trip With The Family: Top Tips

The family road trip is a right of passage when growing up, evoking nostalgic feelings that simply can’t be replaced. Although some road trip memories are fonder than others (such as listening to “Are we there yet?” over and over again), it’s important to remember that road trips are more about the journey than the destination. They’re a great way for families to spend time together without distractions from home. They’re also great because they allow families to vacation on their terms—without having to abide by any strict departure times or crowded airports. If the idea is appealing, but you’re wondering how you can keep everyone happy, fear not. We’ve got all the tips you need to ensure your road trip is fun for everyone, including the driver.

Leave Very Early or Very Late

The time you leave for your road trip is significant. After all, if you leave during rush hour traffic, you’re not setting yourself up for a very pleasurable experience. However, if you can leave right after dinner and before the kids’ bedtime, you can drive in peace while everyone is sleeping. Depending on the length of your trip, you may want to take turns with your spouse or another adult, so nobody ends up grumpy and tired. Just have your kids wear their favorite girls’ or boys’ pajamas and pack some comfy pillows to help them sleep. Another idea is to leave very early in the morning before the traffic gets too bad. You’ll have to make sure you’re completely packed in advance of your trip, though, and you’ll have groggy kids to deal with, but this is a good idea for older kids who might not sleep as easily as little kids and might want to be awake to see all the sights through the car window.

Keep the Driver Happy

An unhappy driver equals unhappy passengers. The driver has a difficult job trying to stay on the right route, avoid hazards, drive safely, and (most importantly) stay awake! Whether the driver is yourself or someone else, be sure to focus on driver needs during the trip above anyone else’s. As a passenger, you can keep them engaged in conversation or ensure they always have something to drink or snack on. If that’s your role, you probably have the most difficult job of everyone since you also have to make sure the kids are happy, so they don’t get too loud and disturb the driver. Just remember that it’s temporary and that any temper tantrums are just the result of being bored or tired—both of which are manageable.

Save the Electronics for Emergencies

Speaking of being bored or tired, your kids might not be used to the pleasures of simply looking out the window and watching the world go by if they’re accustomed to doing so many things online, whether it’s doing schoolwork, playing games, or whatever it might be. That’s just the way things are nowadays, and it’s exactly why road trips are so great. This is your chance to show your kids the country and let them experience things in person in ways that screens can’t do. For that reason, you might want to try your best to avoid electronics or save them for dire situations, such as if your car breaks down or you simply need a break from the chitter-chatter. You may be surprised at how enjoyable it is for them and how relaxing it can be for everyone. Try one of those classic road trip bingo games where everyone has to fill their bingo card with sights from the road.

Lots of parents have success with taking crafts along on their road trips. This is great because, even if your kids don’t seem interested at first, they’re more open to doing crafts when they’re right in front of them and they have nothing else to do. Chances are, when they start doing it, they’ll love it. Consider friendship bracelets, origami, or even simply coloring. Having a canvas tote bag full of fun new crafts can be a great way to provide ways for kids to experiment with new things and find their artistic side.

Have Snacks at the Ready

Yes, you can always stop at drive-thru restaurants if you’re hungry, but that’s not necessarily the healthiest option. And, it’s more expensive and takes more time than simply packing some healthy, feel-good snacks for when everyone gets hungry. Consider packing some healthy snack options in an insulated lunch box, at least for the beginning of your trip. Apples, carrots, peanut butter, or ranch dressing for dipping, crackers, and cheese are the types of things that will keep everyone going until you make an official stop for lunch, dinner, or breakfast.

Relax on the Rules

As a parent, you likely have some household rules that work well for your family, whether it’s in regard to what they eat, what time they go to bed, or how much screen time they get. But it’s a lot of work keeping everyone compliant with your rules, isn’t it? Remember that this road trip is supposed to be fun for yourself too. It’s not fun always being the bad guy all the time, either. Try relaxing the rules once in a while by letting everyone eat things they wouldn’t normally eat or stay up a little longer. This will make things easier on yourself, while also creating memories for your kids, as they’ll likely look back and say, “Remember when mom and dad let us stay up late and eat as much candy as we wanted for dessert?” It’s just one fraction of a 365-day long year, after all.

Schedule in Some “Me Time”

Oftentimes, family vacations are all about making the kids happy. But it’s extremely important for parents also to remember that this is their time as well. If there’s something you really want to do or see on your road trip, DO IT. Even if everyone else sticks up their noses at first, you might find that they enjoy it as well. It might be as simple as reading a book for a bit while the kids do crafts or even allowing them to watch a movie so you can get a few chapters in. Whatever it takes to keep everyone happy, including yourself, just do it. Don’t forget to dress for comfort too. Women’s loungewear is more stylish than ever these days, so make sure you dress for comfort without sacrificing style.

Road trips are the root of lots of family memories. Take these tips into account to ensure that your next one is memorable for all the right reasons.

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