Wherever the destination of your next family vacation may be, traveling long distances with children can be more of a stress-creator than a stress-reliever. This is especially true for road trips, where driving long distances with kids in the car can be a frustrating experience. The stream of questions, complaints and yelling seems endless. But what if you could lessen the madness, keep your kids occupied and be prepared for anything that happens on the road? Ensure smooth sailing for your next long drive by planning the details of your trip in advance. The following tips will make your journey more pleasant, as well as safe should anything unexpected occur.
Here are 7 Planning Tips for a Family Vacation
Play Games with Your Surroundings
Literally. Occupy your children on your family vacation by making a game out of the trip itself. Have them count how many blue cars you pass, how many New York license plates they see or how many bridges you cross. While this won’t keep them busy for the entire trip, it will help take up a substantial amount of time, keep their minds off the long distance and let them be creative at the same time.
Let Your Kids Pick their Activities
Before your trip – especially if it’s a long one – take your kids to your local toy store and let them each pick out a new game to play in the car. This is a small investment in the long run, and it will mean that your children are actually excited for the drive. If your children tend to fight with one another, buy the same inexpensive game for all of them.
Bring Family Vacation-Friendly Snacks
It’s no secret that kids become cranky when they’re hungry. Keep them happy and satisfied by bringing a variety of snacks that are easy to pack, such as granola bars, fruit snacks and juice boxes.
Make it About the Music
Give your children music options while in the car. Try bringing music that everyone likes or buy a new album that everyone can look forward to. If you have teenagers and know you can’t all agree on what music to listen to, make sure they bring their mp3 players along.
Plan Your Route
The drive is already long enough, so don’t add more minutes on the clock by losing your way. A GPS is very beneficial to long trips since it’s hands-free and easy to use on-the-go. Be careful though, as a GPS may have small errors in the suggested route. Ask for directions too from the people you’re visiting. Having good directions is important for safety as well, since a wrong turn could lead you into a bad neighborhood or an area you are not familiar with.
Add in Quick Stops
Parents and kids alike dread the long, boring drive. Add some variation to your trip by adding a few stops. You’ll of course have to stop for gas and bathroom breaks, but check in advance to see what else is on your way. Maybe there is a notable restaurant or landmark you can visit. Take this into account when determining when to leave your house to begin your family vacation. This will add variation and excitement to an otherwise boring trip. Moreover, it breaks up the time and gives your kids something to look forward to.
Join a Motor Club
There’s nothing worse than getting stuck on the side of the road with a flat tire, no gas or a dead battery. Except if you’ve got kids in the car! To keep your family safe and to keep these situations to a minimum, sign up for a motor club. Emergency roadside assistance is especially important to have in case of a car accident, and it is crucial when you have children. Not only will you have the help you need, but there may be additional benefits that the whole family can enjoy as you travel. Aside from roadside assistance, you may be able to receive deals on hotels, shopping and entertainment.
Follow these simple steps for your next family vacation road trip, and you will find your travel more manageable and even enjoyable!
Lindsay T. is a staff writer for Allstate Motor Club, an auto club that provides emergency roadside assistance and a variety of other travel services. Visit Allstate Motor Club for more on travel deals, driving resources and membership information.