If you’ve ever taken a road trip with a group of friends, or as a solo adventure, you’ve probably learned a thing or two about how to navigate, where to stop, and how long you can drive without getting cramped. But you’ve never lived until you’ve experienced a lengthy road trip with small children.
Family road trips can be a wonderful experience, or they can be a literal nightmare on wheels. But if you know a few road trip survival tips, you’ll be able to make it to your destination and back again without issue.
The secret to taking a trip with kids is to keep their needs in mind every step of the way. And if you adhere to this principle, you may be surprised by how enjoyable your trip can be.
Here, we’ll explore a few essential tips for traveling the open road with children.
Unless you want to hear the words “are we there yet?” echoing in your eardrums over and over, you’re going to want to plan on stopping more than you normally would. And this is simply because children need engagement and interaction much more than adults.
Look at it this way: The more often you stop, the more you’ll be able to explore new areas and points of interest. So the best strategy is to pre-plan your frequent stops at interesting attractions along your route that you know the kids will enjoy.
For example, if you’re heading out west, there are numerous natural attractions such as dinosaur fossils, ghost towns, roadside curio shops, and the like all-around major routes. You’re going to want to take advantage of places like these so the kids can get out and stretch their legs while being entertained at the same time.
Pack Plenty of Entertainment
You may be inclined to rely on portable DVD players or in-car WiFi for the kids to watch their favorite shows. But rather than eat through your data plan, be sure to bring along other forms of entertainment as well.
Word games are a great distraction while on a road trip for older children, or for the younger kids, old-fashioned road games such as I-Spy can probably buy you a couple of hours as well.
Additionally, traveling with kids also means that you’ll need to bring along items for outdoor activities as well. This is where a frisbee, football, a baseball, and a couple of baseball mitts, or any outdoor sporting equipment will work. And these are ideal for stopping at outdoor recreation facilities or at rest stops with open spaces.
Remember, cater to the kids, and you’ll save yourself hours of grief in the car.
If you’re going on the road with kids, safety is going to be critical. Because the last thing you’ll want is to be stranded on the roadside, or be involved in an accident with small children.
Before heading out, ensure that your vehicle has been looked over by a trustworthy mechanic. And have any issues fixed prior to leaving.
Additionally, check to make sure you have some form of roadside assistance on your insurance policy such as a towing allowance. And bring along a road-safety kit which contains road flares, tire patching equipment, and the like. If you do get into an accident, make sure you get to a safe location and take pictures of the damage, as those will prove useful when establishing a case and recouping your injuries.
Finally, you may also want to bring along a means of personal self-defense just in case your life or the lives of your family are threatened. But only do so legally. As such, check ahead along your route and ensure that you understand the laws regarding interstate transport of self-defense items.