One of the favorite pastimes of the adventurous souls is the classic road trip. Ever since I’ve been allowed to drive I have loved to pack a bag, jump in the car, and see where the road takes me. These days it is not quite as simple. With the addition of my son I would quickly be turning the car around if I put as little preparation into my trips as I used to. Luckily with the proper planning and preparation, road trips can still be fun and are sure to still be an adventure.
For the past several years I’ve been training my son in the art of the road trip, slowly building his tolerance for longer drives and painstakingly learning the tricks of the trade for a successful road trip with kids. In addition to the basics of a smooth road trip, there are a few more things to consider when bringing the young ‘uns along for the ride.
In the Travel Channel’s blog titled Family Road Trip Survival Guide, Travel writer/blogger Erin Gifford @Kidventurous offers a survival guide to creating a successful road trip with the family. Gifford believes one of the top benchmarks of a road trip will be snacks. Providing snacks will keep the kids occupied in additional to simply feeding them. She advises readers to remember that the type of snacks are just as important as the snacks themselves. Don’t fill your kids up on sugary snacks that make them want to bounce off the walls of the car and torment their siblings. With nowhere to separate or escape this could be a recipe for disaster. Gifford also suggests packing each child their own backpack full of activities and snacks that each child will be responsible for. Leave some space for collecting memories along the way.
In Road Trip America’s blog titled Tips for a Great Family Road Trip, Mark Sedenquist @RoadTripAmerica offers his top tips for creating memories to last a life time on the road. While Sedenquist on the importance of snacks he adds to the entertainment category with the recommendation to bush up on the history and geology of the area you will be driving through. Sure your kids might groan and appear to not be listening, but they are actually absorbing the information creating a more enriching experience than simply plopping an iPad in front of them. You may even be surprised by the development of an actual discussion. For the older kids, and even scaled back for the younger ones, Sedenquist recommends holding a family planning session. Discuss the route you will be taking with visual aids and even let the kids help plan a day’s itinerary if they are capable of doing so.
You’re sure to discover a myriad of obstacles along the way, here are the top three things to remember to have fun while discovering the open road with your children.
EAT - Planning and preparing an abundance of snacking options and places to stop and dine in is a must if you want to avoid bad attitudes.
ENTERTAIN - Remembering to bring a variety of activities to mix up the drive time will save your sanity. Make sure the gadgets are fully charged and don’t underestimate your ability to entertain with your wits.
ENCOMPASS - Include your children in the process. Having a responsibility is not only a distraction, it gives your children a sense of purpose and a chance to learn.
Remember there will always be bumps in the road of a road trip just as there is in the road of life. Spending this time with your family and teaching your children through first hand experience will bring everyone memories and lessons to last a lifetime.
Time to hit the road. Talk soon!
HOLLY MANN: As an Independent Contractor of Vista Travel Consultants, Inc. a member of the Virtuoso Network, my access to the highest quality of vetted global travel partners allows me to create rich, culturally immersive, and liberating travel experiences.