Summer is racing towards us, which means that many families are gearing up for the proverbial road trip. We all remember the Griswolds driving their way towards ‘Wally World’ like in the old National Lampoon movie. It spoofs the pitfalls and pit stops that can plague any family trip; however, there is some honest truth in what National Lampoon was gently spoofing.
Savvy families know that, even though everything may not go smoothly or perfectly according to schedule, the fun of any family road trip is in the adventure itself and actually spending time together. Here are five family-friendly road trip tips on how to make the most of this family tradition.
The two biggest issues in many families on a road trip are: bathroom breaks and sibling squabbling. Of course, there are a few others, but these two issues tend to be the biggies.
Bathroom Breaks — Always keep a lookout for a budget chain hotel or where the nearest rest stops are on the road. Budget chains tend to have convenient highway locations, have rest rooms in the lobby area and, in many travelers’ experiences, rest rooms which are cleaner and neater than those in gas stations and fast food restaurants.
Sibling Squabbling — Here is an ingenious solution for the sibling arguments and “she’s looking at me funny” annoyances which occur on family trips: Give the children a little project. Each child gets a role of low-tack (not too sticky) masking tape to build a divider between themselves right down the middle of the back seat. This humorous approach soon had everyone laughing and giggling instead of nudging, niggling, and annoying. Of course, it also helps to have a fully-stocked car games box for kids to find ways to entertain themselves that isn’t electronic or made by Apple.
In addition, here are several more practical tips to make sure everyone can relax on the family vacation and have a good time. Relaxing together and spending time is an important part of growing a healthy family. In addition, when we know that our home is taken care of and we’ve got the destination in mind, the trip is definitely all the better.
Caring for the Car — Be sure and have the car serviced before you go — check all lights, windshield wiper fluid and blades, get an oil change (if necessary), and check the tires. If you don’t already know how — learn how to change a flat tire. Make sure that the car manual is safely in the car and that the vehicle is covered by an effective road-side service plan.
Hungry Like the Wolf — Passengers who are hungry are cranky passengers. Nuts, dried fruit, mints, and crackers travel well. Pre-pack a cooler with healthy snacks and water. Don’t forget to bring a paring knife and a tablecloth to take advantage of any fresh produce stands along the way.
Making it memorable — Kids love to record their experiences. Have children keep a journal of the family road trip (younger children can just draw pictures) or get them each an individual disposable camera to photograph the memories. The whole family can have fun looking at all the photos and even create a family montage of the entire trip.
Any trip is as much about the adventures and silly stories that occur in the car in addition to how much the attraction itself is enjoyed and what families see on vacation. The value of family road trips is in the sharing of the adventures and even coming up with new traditions. Although there are no guarantees of a stress-free family road trip, starting with these destinations and tips for traveling well can help make the journey that much easier.