When all you seem to do is work and you feel like you and your family are in a desperate need of a vacation, taking a road trip might be the perfect idea. However, with your whole family in the same car for that long, you might end up feeling more stressed by the time you return home than you did before you left. That is, unless you plan the trip thoroughly and prepare for some of the most common situations that might happen along the way. So, if you want to go on a family road trip, here are some of the things you need to keep in mind and be ready for.
Before you go anywhere, you need to pack your family. Do this ahead of time and make sure you load everything that you can into your car the evening or even the day before the trip. That way you’ll lower the possibility of forgetting something important and that precious moment when you actually leave will be much less hectic. Making a list of what you’ll pack might help as well. Pack enough clothes for each day you’re away, but also keep a fresh change of clothes for each of your kids and yourself at hand, in case somebody spills something all over themselves while on the road. If you aren’t completely sure about what you should pack, take a look at these 35 essentials and go from there.
Ideal Departure Time
Anybody who’s ever travelled with kids knows that it’s next to impossible to keep them entertained and calm for a few hours at a time, unless they’re asleep. Being that you’re familiar with your kids’ sleeping habits, adjust your departure time to when you think they’ll fall asleep and stay that way for a while. Some parents leave in the middle of the night, in order to reach their destination early in the morning, around the time their kids usually wake up. Others leave at the break of dawn, while their little ones are still drowsy and are likely to fall back to sleep as soon as you lock them in their seat. Not only will the drive go smoother, with fewer stops and tantrums, but you might also get some peaceful alone time with your partner. Having a relaxed and uninterrupted conversation sounds amazing, doesn’t it?
When on a family road trip, you’re going to have everybody you love most in the car with you, so you better make sure they’re as safe and as comfortable as they can be. If you’re driving your own car, get it inspected and serviced by a professional, so that it’s in its best shape before your trip. If your car isn’t as new or as big as you’d like it to be, perhaps it’s better to rent a vehicle, especially if the trip is long and you’ll have to spend a lot of your time driving. In such situations, a 5 seater SUV hire is the way to go. The best rental agencies give better rates if you’re renting for a week or longer and they are meticulous with passenger safety, especially child safety. You can even get a car with integrated satellite navigation, so that you’re always aware of the traffic changes and you can adapt your route to the conditions on the road.
Those how-much-longer questions and constant arguing and complaining are all too familiar to those who usually travel with kids. That’s why they never let themselves be caught off guard, and neither should you. You need to have all your bases covered, meaning that you have a whole range of activities for your kids to enjoy while you or your partner are driving. Although tablets and phones may seem an efficient way to get your children to be quiet and focused on something other than the fact that they’ve been in the car for longer than they’d like to be, you should also come up with other, more creative ways for them to have fun. There is a plethora of games they can play in the car and you can even play some of these with your kids. This can be an excellent opportunity to spend some quality time with them, spark their imagination and creativity and bond with them. Even having a chat with them will do for a while, so take advantage of every minute you can spend with them.
Even though you might want to make the best of your trip by visiting some famous diners or restaurants along the way, you might want to skip the fast-food drive-thru places and opt for some healthier food for your little ones. If you bring your own snacks, not only can you rest assured that they will eat well, but also that the snacks won’t be too messy. Slicing some apples for them, baking some tasty, but dryish pastries or packing some nuts as a snack will leave your car cleaner and the children happier. Above all, avoid sodas and sugary drinks and give them water instead, as it’s better for them, particularly so when they’re in the back seat of a moving car.
When you’re adequately prepared on time, you’ll certainly have a more enjoyable trip and will be able to concentrate less on what can go wrong and more on creating phenomenal memories with your little ones. With these great tips, you’ll be able to do just that.