Summer's in full-swing, which for many of us means it's family road trip season! Before you gas up the car, here are some road trip tips to make your time on the road zooms by.
Map out your family road trip
Before leaving home, be sure to map out your journey even if you have a GPS system in your car. Visit a mapping website and type in your destination. This will not only give you a realistic picture of how long your road trip will take, but also you can plan out some stops along your route. Do a web search for fun things to do in towns along the way. At minimum, plan to stop at a park or two during your trip to allow kids to get their wiggles out and let parents stretch their legs. A ride through a car wash can provide a fun diversion too!
Listen up on the road
Playing some road trip tunes that please the whole family will help make your journey more enjoyable. I also suggest bringing along books on disks or downloaded to an MP3 player. Listening to a story together can turn a boring stretch of highway into an adventure in an imaginary land.
Use snacks as distraction
One of my favorite ways to keep kids' hands and mouths busy when traveling is with oodles of snacks. Pack healthy goodies in separate containers and slowly dole them out to get the most bang for your road trip buck. I especially like the Snack A Pillar tower; fill it with whole grain crackers, cereals, trail mix, and sliced fresh fruits. Other suggested road trip snacks include protein bars, hard-boiled eggs, and individually wrapped cheeses. Throw in a couple of “forbidden” treats too for a whopper of a distraction when you need it most!
You may even want to consider eating your meals on the go and stopping to play instead of expecting children to sit still and use their inside voices during a restaurant meal. Another option is to pack lots of picnic goodies to eat at a park or rest stop along the way.
Stay safe and comfortable
When I was a kid, my brother and I climbed into the “way back” of our spitfire orange station wagon with its wood paneling and pretended to be on a space ship during long road trips. We spread out on pillows and blankets from home and, if our parents were lucky, we napped for at least a portion of the journey. Those days are gone, my fellow Travel Mamas and Travel Daddies. We now know how important it is for kids to remain seated and safely buckled in a car seat, booster seat or seat belt. To make the trek more comfy for your children, bring along a neck pillow or mini Pillow Pet and a favorite blankie or stuffed toy.
Of course, you should also make sure your car is up-to-date on tune-ups and oil changes before hitting the road. Bring along an emergency first aid kit too filled with bandages, antiseptic wipes or spray, and a pair of scissors.
If traveling with more than one adult, it works best if one grown-up can join the children in the backseat for at least a portion of the trip. Look at your time on the road as an opportunity to spend some quality time together playing travel games and working on simple arts and crafts projects.
Avoid motion sickness
Be sure to bring along some Dramamine for Kids. This new chewable formula comes in grape flavor and is safe for kids ages 2 to 12. If your offspring are prone to motion sickness (like my daughter is), this is best taken an hour before setting off on your trip. If motion sickness begins to rear its ugly head unexpectedly, however, Dramamine will still lessen the nausea caused by movement. I always pack a bucket too, just in case motion sickness strikes without warning!
For adult motion sickness, I am sure to bring along Dramamine Less Drowsy formula. Speaking from experience, it also helps if I take a turn at the wheel. For additional information on avoiding or handling motion sickness while on the go, check out the Road Warrior Alliance website filled with handy tips. You can even get a free Dramamine sample just for submitting a motion sickness tip or story on their site.
What's your favorite family road trip tip? Let us know in the comments below!
A Note from The Travel Mama: This post brought to you in partnership with Dramamine. This story includes affiliate links. As always, all opinions are my own.