If you ever plan a long road trip with your family, then knowing these tips for long road trips will make sure you are prepared and ready to handle anything that you might face. For example, you want to make sure that you have plenty of things to keep your kids occupied as well as enough to keep you satisfied throughout the trip. The following tips will make it simple for you to know exactly what you need to do in order to get the best road trip experience possible.
Keep Your Car Clean
It’s going to sound silly at first, but you really want to make sure that you enter your road trip with as clean of a car as you can have. I know there is a good chance that your car is going to get dirty over the course of the road trip and that’s fine! But your life will be so much easier if you start clean. Ideally, you can try and keep organized throughout your trip but that might be tough. As long as you start with a clean car, you’re going to find that it is easy for you to ensure you have access to anything you might need throughout the duration of your trip. Once you reach your destination, try and clean the car again to make sure you’re ready for the next trip.
This one should seem obvious, but you want to make sure that you have plenty of snacks to last the duration of your road trip. Not only do you want to bring the snacks for your kids, but you should really make sure that you have snacks that you and the other adults are going to enjoy. I can tell you right now that you don’t have to worry about over packing when it comes to snacks because they’re always going to come in handy. While you should make frequent stops as mentioned below, having some snacks can help cut down on the number of short stops you have to make.
Spend Some Time In The Back Seat
If you are the only adult heading on this trip, this particular point isn’t going to apply to you in anyway, but if you are traveling as a couple, then you can utilize this tip to help keep your kids as happy as can be. By moving to the back seat for a little while and giving your kids some one-on-one time with you. You can choose to play a game when you are back there with your kids or just talk with them! No matter which you choose, I would say to stay away from technology so that the face-to-face interaction remains strong.
Tips for Long Road Trips: Activities
Use Phone/Tablet Apps
Don’t use phone or tablet apps if you are utilizing the face-to-face tip that was mentioned above but if you are looking to find a great way to keep your kids entertained on their own, then some fun apps can be a great way to pass the time. Of course, I recommend downloading as many apps beforehand as you can so that you have access to everything without needing to use your data or a Wi-Fi hotspot in order to download them. Additionally, ensure that you split the time with the tablets equally among your children unless they have their own that they can use.
Depending on the board game, there are some that can be tough to play when it comes to riding in a car, but there are some that are a little easier to play and there are others that make on-the-go or travel versions so that you have no problem playing when you are on the go. Of course it is going to depend on the game, but make sure that you choose a game that allows your kids a chance to not lose a bunch of pieces. Card games can be one of the best options because cards are typically harder to lose than other game pieces.
Many people don’t think of this as an option because it does seem like a little bit of an outdated option but it can still be a great way to make sure your kids stay busy at all times on the trip. If you don’t have a CD or DVD player, you can always use a phone or iPad in order to play the music or watch a movie as well. Some families calculate travel time by how many movies can be watched during the trip. No matter what you do, make sure that you have plenty of music or movies that your kids are going to enjoy. And don’t forget the headphones! You want to make sure that your kids are enjoying the music or movies by themselves and not disturbing the whole car.
If apps and board games aren’t going to keep your kids entertained, then you can try and come up with a bunch of different toys to bring along with you to keep your kids entertained. This can be another good options because it allows you to use the toys once you reach your final destination as well. If you want the best advice, I recommend trying to find a basket or bin to keep all the toys in. This will encourage your kids to only take one toy at a time and it will keep your car looking clean at all times as well.
For other activities, check out our post on 16 Things to do on a Family Road Trip
Tips for Long Road Trips: Comfort
Take Plenty of Breaks
There are a lot of people that want to get to their destination as quickly as possible. I get it. There’s nothing more annoying than spending more time on the road than you need to and making stops can be an easy way to add a lot of time onto your trip. However, I recommend taking frequent breaks throughout because it will really help your kids. It gives them the chance to stretch out and run around for a little bit. You don’t need to take incredibly long breaks, but short, five minute stops can make all the difference. Of course, you will need to make a longer stop when it comes time to eating a meal.
Find Good Places To Stop
When you do make your short stops along the way, make sure you are stopping somewhere that can be beneficial for everyone in the car. Ensure that you have a place where everybody can relieve themselves and ensure that there will be space for your kids to run around for a bit and burn off some of that energy that they have built up from staying in the car so long. If you can, try stopping at a rest area, park or library as all of these places are going to have things that tailor to all members of your family. Google maps is the obvious tool to check out what’s on the way to your destination.
Follow Up Lunch Breaks With Bathroom Breaks
When you do make your bigger stop to eat lunch, dinner or any other large meal that you need to eat, you’re going to need to remember that you’ll need to follow it up with a bathroom break shortly after, especially if you happen to have younger kids. If you have older kids, you can get away with not stopping as frequently but plan on a stop about 30 minutes after eating if you have younger kids. Luckily, this can be a quick stop and you can get right back on the road as quickly as possible.
Make It As Comfortable as Possible
Perhaps the most important piece of advice I can give you when it comes to taking a long road trip with kids is to make the entire experience as comfortable as possible. Make sure that your kids are comfortable in the car and make sure that you are comfortable in the car as well. If you are going to be traveling at night, you should give your kids pillows and blankets so that they have no problem falling asleep. Additionally, make sure that you and every other traveling partner in the car has everything they need to enjoy the car ride.
When you are on a long road trip, it’s important to remember that it is not supposed to be a tall or daunting task! It is supposed to be fun and you’re supposed to enjoy the road trip, especially when you are on your way to the destination! If you stick to all of these tips for long road trips that I have discussed above, then when it comes to extended car travel with kids, you will have no problem enjoying the road trip that comes before and after your vacation. The more comfortable you can make it for your kids and yourself, the more enjoyable it is going to be.